Monday, November 7, 2011

Training for AKC Style Tracking

SchH tracking is very precise and you are graded. AKC style is pass/ fail. Low level SchH tracks are easier than the lowest level ACK track. They are shorter lenght and aged for less time. Plus, in the first SchH level, the handler lays their own track, so we always know where it is. The TD, lowest AKC level track is 1/4 of a mile long, and aged 30 min- 2 hrs. The TR 1, lowest SchH level track, is 300 paces (which can be pretty short depending on how small your pace is) and aged only 20 minutes.

So I'm getting the dogs used to large paces, longer tracks, and longer aging. I'm actually taking huge steps in case my track layer is a tall man with a long stride, and also so I can measure how far I've gone.

I've been working up to longer tracks. And upping the aging a bit as well, but since I'm doing this on my lunch break, there is only so much aging that can happen.

Today went well. It was the longest tracks we've done, and for Pie, the longest aged.

However, the girls are working harder than they need to, I think. Dottie's track was actually close to 440 yards (1/4 mile!) according to my gps, although it was only supposed to be about 300 yards. Pie's was about 320 yards per the gps but was also supposed to be 300. Guess I need to use the gps while laying the track. I'm not going to do such a long track for a while with anyone, but for Fancy it was too long. And we got lost. Bad me. But I picked it up and we finished. The good part about Fancy was she kept working, even with a really loud gunshot (to scare the birds away from the runway.) She startled, tucked her tail, and came back to me, but I told her sook again and off she went. I kept the line short for everyone so I could make sure they stayed on track. One thing I did do that I usually don't do, is on one corner instead of blocking when they wanted to over shoot, I let them go. My reason was so they could work it out. Which was neat to watch. They overshot, then turned the correct way and picked it right back up, but in a arc. I wanted to watch everyone work it out once. When Pie is right on top of the track, her tail wags. When she is off of it, it stops. A really easy indicator! Fancy's tail stays up even if she is just taking me for a walk. She's fooling me. I need to pay more attention and see if Dottie's tail tells me anything. She was foaming at the mouth today. Not because she was rabid, but because so much sniffing dries your mouth out so she was trying to fix that.
Pie and Dottie had 3 articles and they are so relieved when the find them. Having only an end article for the TD is going to be hard. The tracks were aged from 25 min to around 45 min (Pie got that one) and it was windy too. They move forward, but keep checking off the track. Maybe looking for a better scent, not being used to such a weak one? But after checking they come back to the correct path and keep going. But the checking is very frantic. That is why it seems like they are working harder than they should. I think after getting more used to longer aged tracks they should settle down.
I thought the Mals did great. Fancy needs less aging and it won't hurt to have more articles, but the best part was even though we did get lost, she did not quit.

I really want to get their AKC tracking titles, but it won't be easy. Before you can even enter you have to be certified. Which means a judge lays a track just like they would in a trial and you have to pass it. Sort of like a pre-test. The problem is finding the judge, finding a location, a time, etc. I just found out a club is holding a certification day in Sacramento, but it is on my drill weekend in January. Should that be the one drill I miss this year?


Carla said...

I am interested in working a Tibetan Terrier for Search and Rescue. I'd like to talk to you about your experience tracking the TT.

541 247 7633

BTW, I have a Malinois search dog, too :)

Three Dog Days said...

Hi Carla,

My TT is very smart, and has a good nose, but gives up sometimes and does not really have drive for the actual work. She is working for the food, not for the hunt. Plus, she is very sensitive and I'm not sure she would work in every situation. Her work ethic is not something I would bet someone's life on.