Friday, August 31, 2012

Dottie And Her Nose

Dottie may not be an amazing obedience dog.  She isn't the best agility dog either.  And despite the fact that she likes to "fight" the helper in IPO, no matter how hard he tries to train her to have a full grip, her grip still isn't that great.  She may or may not be a good herding dog.  She showed promise, but I don't have the time to find out just how good she is.

So what is Dottie's forte?  TRACKING.  Who would have guessed?  Today we did tracking on asphalt.  Aged over 2 hrs.  "They" say the dog is following the scent of your dead skin flaking off.  Listen to the video.  It was windy.  We were out by a runway near the beach.  2 places you can always count on it to be windy.  Didn't all my dead skin (gross) blow away?  But you can see that she is for real tracking.  After the corner, she looses the scent.  She crosses the track then THERE!  You can see her nose stop, and go in the correct direction.  There is no doubt she is following something.  Too amazing for me.

Not all Malinois are good tracking dogs.  Of course they have the ability.  But most of them are too good and don't want to follow the scent, they want to run straight to the thing they are supposed to find.  Good if it is a bad guy, not so good if you are being graded on how closely you stay on the track.  Because I had K helping me, I was able to train Dottie to track correctly.  But Dottie also has something that makes her an extra special tracking dog.  She isn't the most precise.  I'm sure my training is to blame.  She will overshoot corners and that costs her points.  But when the track gets old, and tough and she gets hot and thirsty, she doesn't quit.  She tries and tries and tires, AND has great ability.  What a great dog.

The number one biggest problem with rescues (other than possible heath issues) is when you get an amazing one, you have no idea where they came from, so you are unable to get another one from the same source.  I don't know which Mal lines gave Pie her unflappable, over the top friendly temperament and her love of and power in agility.  I don't know which Mal lines produced such a great tracking dog in Dottie.  And I have no idea where Fancy's petable softness came from.

Here is Pie's  tracking video from today.  I think EVENTUALLY we should be able to get a TD, but I will have to hope nothing on the track causes her stress.  Even in this video you can see her stress on some of the corners.  Mouth open, and head up is her stress indicator. 

Fancy also has a video from today, but I had problems while filming and we are working on increasing line distance, so it is not thrilling enough to share.

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