Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tracking

I have been wanting to start tracking with Katie. Tracking is a good activity for an older dog or one with physical limitations since all the dog has to do is follow a scent through some grass at whatever pace the dog finds comfortable and find a glove or some other article. I have tried it a couple of times with Katie and lets just say that the poor dog sucks at it. There is just no way around it, she sucks. So I haven't found it all that inspiring to drive to a grassy field to work on tracking. I had been asking some tracking friends for help, but somehow our schedules never seem to work out. Well, today Stephen and I met Kate Crawford at Old Mill Farm. Kate (Many Hounds Inn greyhound only boarding in Canton) has several greyhounds and she's been tracking with on of her Jack Russell Terriers. I had decided that I would start to track Travis also. I think he has more of a "nose" for the job and I figured that if he was good at it, I'd be inspired to practice and finally Katie would get to practice too.

Well, Travis was awesome...... I think. I don't really know enough about tracking to really now, but he had his nose on the ground the entire time. He was foaming and drooling like a bloodhound. He found every piece of food that the track layer left along the track every few steps. I really think he has some good potential, so I'm really excited about.

Katie sucked as usual :-). I'm all about doing the impossible with the greyhounds and I love to raise the bar, but she just does not seem to have a good sense of smell. In Utility obedience, Katie had to learn to find a leather and a metal dumbbell that I scented out of a pile of 9 articles. Initially, I had to blind fold Katie so she would stop using her eyes and use that nose. I'd hold up the correct (scented article) and I would click and treat if she sniffed it. I would hold up a wrong article and give her a non-reward mark when she'd sniff that one. It worked! She figured it out, but I don't think she ever learned to find the article with my hand scent on it. I believe that she was simply searching for the food residue on my hand because she found it impossible to do if my hands were clean. Anyways, back to tracking............She missed every piece of food along the track. Even if her nosed passed within an inch, she still missed it. After 30 seconds of sniffing and finding nothing, she'd simply raise her head and visually look for the glove with lots of treats in it. I'm going to have to get creative, but hopefully Travis will keep it interesting.

1 comment:

KF-in-Georgia said...

Poor Oreo used to pretend she was a good scent-follower. She'd go around, nose to ground, seriously following some scent...and never lift her head long enough to discover she was going in circles. Katie sounds as if she's as much a scent-hound as Oreo was.