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Dynamite Earns both TD and TDX Titles 

I know I have not been keeping up with these blogs. I am hoping to commit to doing more with them this coming year. I am very proud to announce that Dynamite earned her TD on October 11 2009 completing her track in four minutes. She has just followed that up by earning her TDX on a very wet track on December 6 2009. She did have one very tough moment on the track but still managed to complete the test in 25 minutes. I will post her track here in the next few days. We are now moving on to VST training in hopes of someday having her become our first Champion Tracker!

Update on Dynamite's Training 

It has beena very long time since I updated you on any of my blogs. Tracking training has continued for Dynamite on a regular basis. We have only missed Monday tracking class on the couple of weeks that I have been away traveling and this past week bacause of camp. We have more than made up for those misses by adding some Wednesday work with dawn and an odd Thursday down at Bev Melchers. Dynamite's progress has been awesome. This past week we did her TD certification test at class. We have submitted the results to AKC in hopes they will approve her to do a Test, since I simply cannot find a weekend to meet up with a judge to do the test. She loves the game and has dealt with everything we have given her so far. I will continue to train her and increase her skills toward the TDX and VST levels while I figure out when and where we can trial her for the TD. I have not started teaching her any other sports yet but the bond we were hoping to develop has become a reality. 

Tracking Class Week 5 1-12-09 

Today’s class leads to a change in the pecking order for my dogs. We have decided to have Dynamite work the tracks first and then run Dixie shortly afterwards. This is being done to help both dogs. From Dynamite’s side it should give her a fresh and aged scented track. So she will be working with less scent, but also not have Dixie’s cross tracks. This will also be her and my first time working on a longline.
I do not think the track itself will be hard for her but it will be interesting to see if she tries to take advantage of the longline and start just playing around.

Dynamite was startled by some of the other handlers as we approached the track. This got her barking and a little worried. This is good though because it is something she will need to get use to. Once we got to the track she started off all business like normal, however as we approached the first turn and crested the top of a knoll she could hear and see the construction crew off in the distance. That got her back to barking and she really lost all focus on the track. She made several big circles, challenging my new leash handling skills and forcing both Dawn and I to work to avoid getting tangled up by her  Dynamite then did some rolling around and some other playing before remembering what she had been doing and going back to the track. She found that first turn and the food drop that went with it. It was a good placement for the food since it really rewarded her for going back to work. Her next two turns were classic dead on turns for her and she rushed right into the corn field. Part way through the field she seemed to head off briefly on a cross track but then recovered and finished up the track without any problems. Again after getting rewarded and celebrating at the glove she finished the morning by tracking the way back to the cars.

It was different, but good, to see Dynamite get distracted and then recover. So far she had been so solid with everything will tracking it is nice to know that if she runs into trouble she can work her way past it. She does not seem to have any problem with the tracking itself it will be all the other things that can get her in trouble. I am going to start trying to socialize her and take her with often so she can get use to dealing with all those things.
Happy Tracking!

Tracking Week 4 Homework 1-10-09 

It has been snowing all night and day and I have gone out and laid a very tough track for my dogs. I did practice earlier this week and all of the dogs seemed to be handling some harder turns. I have decided to add some terrain changes. On this track the dog will have to go through an opening in the hedge at location #1. They will then have to go over our old wood pile at location #2. Then it is on to a lightly wooded area for location #3 before crossing back over the wood pile at #4. The track through the woods is very twisty and there are several tough turns on the track.

Dynamite was the second dog to go on this track today. She was awesome working from start to finish without any problems, other than pulling her dad over the slippery ice.  The woods did not seem to create any problems with her at all. Happy Tracking!

Dynamite's Second Tracking Class 1-5-09 

Here we are into a new year and on to class #4 of tracking. We did not have class last week because we were at an agility trial. We did do several days of practice tracks at home. Dixie is getting more focused on her tracking but still is casting over the track, can become silly or stress fairly easy. Today we will be tracking on Spruce Road. We again arrive early and watch a couple of other teams working their tracks. Deb and I draw the task of laying our track. It is to be a track of dog legs in a smaller field. There is food on the track and we were suppose to flag it, but did not bring enough flags to do a good job with that part. After laying the track the track Dawn decides maybe I should try my dogs on one of the tracks that they have already run on that is a little harder. Dynamite goes first and then it is Dixie’s turn. This track is not flagged and only has a few food drops after 90 degree turns. Dawn will go with me for both dogs.

Just as she did at class last week Dynamite is all business. She starts of quickly stopping for a quick potty break on top of a spot that Alex had gone. I again make her stop for the first food drop but then I allow her to go on with a nose touch at the rest. She finds the turns quickly and smoothly without any hesitation. She completes the track without any errors in only 7 minutes. It is a brisk walk to say the least. She also takes time to do a little tugging of the glove with me. Then she tracks her way back to the car. Dawn thinks she is going to be very easy to get a TD on and that she should be able to continue on to her TDX without much trouble.
Happy Tracking!

Dynamite gets to go to Tracking Class 12-22-08 

So it is now time for week three of tracking class. I did train my dogs twice this week at home on a serpentine course and a course with some dog legs (45 degree turns). Dynamite has continued to impress me with her tracking and she will be joining in the tracking class this week. Today we will be training at Ross Township Walking Park. We have had a fair amount of snow and the ground is completely snow covered. We are scheduled to track at 11 am as one of the last teams to track today. I am heading over early in order to help lay tracks if needed. I am also taking Dixie with plans to track both dogs today.
I arrive at the park at a little after 9 am and to my surprise the only people here are Dawn and Deb. It seems most of the class has decided it was just too cold and slippery out to track today. They are expecting a couple people to come but they are not scheduled to track until late. We decide to go ahead and work Dixie and Dynamite on their track. This drag is a series of dog legs (45 degree angle) turns with several food drops.

Dixie works the track first and then I head back to the car to switch dogs. Dynamite is happy to be getting out of the car this week after riding along last week and not getting to play. I am not sure what to expect out of her once she gets out. She has not been overly socialized and never worked in front of anyone. Dynamite is the last dog using the drag so I will have to pick up the food drops along the way and give them to Dawn. She will follow us around again. Dynamite gets right to work even before getting to the glove she tracks us out to the track. Just like training at home she is nose to the ground and all business. She takes off down the track will purpose giving a quick nose touch to the first food drop and continuing down the track. I make her come back and get her cookie but she would really rather just get back to tracking. She finishes the track without any problems finding each turn just like it was a marked road. Dawn is very impress with our little cocker girl and suggest that I go ahead and work her on the other track. This track This track is longer than the first one, has 90 degree turns on it, and it is does not have any food drops. After a short break I take Dynamite on her second track.

Dynamite starts off very well on this track only stopping briefly when she notices cars going down the road next to the park. Once she decides that is ok she gets right back to work on her track. She continues to keep her nose down almost snorting the track making all the turns without any problems and quickly finding the glove. She is a very impressive tracker for this stage in her training.
Happy Tracking!

Tracking Day 2 12-11-08 

It is now Thursday of the first week and I am going to lay another serpentine track for the dogs to do. The big difference this time is that the track will be in the farmer’s corn field next to the house. This track will be a little longer than the one in the yard. I am also sure there will be several deer cross tracks. I am using less food since Dynamite does not seem to need it and less will help Dixie will stay focused on the scent. This track is about 200 yards long and has big arcs. We are still not ready to work doglegs or 90 degree turns. The track is flagged! Dynamite was going crazy as I took Dixie out to track so I think she has figured this game out and really likes it.

Dynamite is very excited to be going out alone with her dad again. She sees the sock and "start flag" very early and starts dragging me over that way. She quickly goes to ground on the drag snorting in the scent. She moves quickly and flawlessly on the track keeping her nose down and head in the game. She marks the food drops but really does not want to stop to eat the treats. I continue to make her stop if for no other reason than to make sure she does not blow past future articles on the track. When she gets to a deer cross track she simply sniffs both directions very quickly and continues on our track. She works the track quickly and finds the glove; she does enjoy the treats there and is willing to interact with the glove a little. But then she is right back to work tracking Dixie and my path back to the house. She is a very hard worker and ready for much more challenging tracks! She is also ready for a harness and longline!
Ok it is to the next dog! Happy tracking!

Dynamite Starts Tracking 12-9-08 

It is Tuesday December 9 2008 and I have laid my first a track at home. For those that may not have seen Dixie’s blog I started attending  formal tracking classes with her on Mondays yesterday. I have decided to train some of my other dogs at home on her tracks. I laid a track across the front of my yard. It is the same serpentine type course that we did in Dixie’s class with a very big arc. I would estimate my track to be about 100 yards. I have not spent much time working with Dynamite in the past and it will be interesting to find out what kind of worker she is and start to develop a better bond with her. I did not add any additional food drops on the track so she will be starting with much less than Dixie had yesterday. I hope that does not cause problems. If it does I will just stop and spend some time playing with the girl. Off to get the dog.
Dynamite is very excited to be going out alone with her dad. I take her out back to potty before heading to the front where the track is. I am pleasantly surprised when Dynamite stops and sniffs the start article (sock). She very quickly puts her nose to the ground and takes off down the track. She is really working the scent hard, head down sniffing almost snorting the track. At the first food drop she hit the container and continues. I stop her and bring her back to get her rewards after all I want to make sure this is fun for her. She eats the treat she sat nicely while I reloaded it and quickly turns back to the track. None of the silly focus issues or bouncing that Dixie has had with the food drops. She is very focused on the job. She is a much more serious steady tracker than Dixie was her first time. Each food drop she touches the container but tries to continue on but again I make her sit and take the treat, then reload before going on. She works at a very nice pace covering ground but being very careful to stay on scent….she does not have any problem with the potential cross tracks that Dixie did. She completes the track without any problems and even after the glove continues to track the path I took back to the house. She is very excited with tail up and having a ball. Wow she was fun to watch work. Ok it is to the next dog! Happy tracking!