Hey there, it is week one of tracking training and yes I have laid a track at home. It is Tuesday and this is my first track I have laid on my own. I laid a track across the front of my yard. It is the same serpentine type course that we did in class with a very big arc. I would estimate my track to be about 100 yards. The idea of setting the track as a big arc is to help the dogs learn that the track will not always go straight. In most training systems the dog is taught to go straight first and then there are gradually turns added until the turn is a full 90 degrees. We are teaching the dogs to follow the bend in the track from the start and making the bend sharper until we have our 90 degree turns and then making the main track straighter. This plan makes sense to me as it is much like the way I teach my dogs agility. It is a nice but cold day outside with temps in the 30’s. I have decided that if I am going to spend the time it takes to set these tracks then I am going to train several dogs. I will run Dixie on the track first just in case it goes badly with the others. I do not have nearly the number of food drops on my track as we did in class yesterday since I do not have that many containers and I think less food may help Dixie keep her focus on the work at hand.
As I get Dixie out and head toward the front yard she is a little confused, I am pretty sure she thought we were headed out to agility or rally which is down in our backyard. Once she saw the sock she very excitedly pulled me over to it. She paused, sniffed it and headed off on the track. She was very on finding the food drops but each time they caused the focus issues we discussed in the first blog however she did get back to the track quicker each time. I think this problem will go away quickly when we are doing longer tracks and not re-baiting those containers. At this point she still needs those rewards pretty often to help keep her focused on the track so I will just have to be patient will she settles back into things. She also nose touched all the flags along the way. There were several times she seemed to smell something else but worked it out and continued along our track. One thing I will have to work on is getting her to indicate the article a little better at the end of the track. I did her a second time and she continue to get faster recovering from the distraction of the drops. I tried to get her to play with the glove at the end but she had very little interest in it once the food was gone. Ok it is off to get the next dog!