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Old 05-26-2012, 11:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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IPO tracking thread

SchH IPO tracking people!!! I went tracking this morning with a person who was kind enough to video tape our tracks. Thank you Patti! I thought I would put the videos up here to stimulate some tracking discussion. Obviously we are IPO tracking here, but feel free to chime in with various tracking comments/questions. I have three dogs all at different levels of training and ability.

Starting with the old gal first. Eva is almost 8 years old and has by far the most experience. She has gotten an FH title along with regular IPO tracking titles. For those that donít follow sport, an IPO 3 track is over 600 paces long, has 5 legs and 3 articles. It has been laid by a stranger and aged for one hour. A FH track is about 1200 paces with lots of legs and articles and has aged 3 hours and used to have to cross a road. This is a training track (well, just a fun track as she is technically retired) so I laid it, it is about 500 paces, has 3 articles but instead of a defined pattern, I just wandered out there aimlessly. For all tracks, the conditions were very nice and easy. Good, clean plowed dirt. It was breezy for sure, but probably isnít as windy as the video sounds. I am not going to guess wind speed as I am a terrible judge. I didnít lay the track with video taping in mind so the videographer stops taping in between some spots to catch up as she didnít want to struggle through the dirt while taping.
The start:

5 26 12 Eva track 1 - YouTube

As you can see here, Eva rockets off the start without waiting for the command to track. Being retired has its perks. I am just out there to have fun with her, so I let her track however she wants. There are points awarded for the dog to search heavily the start pad to gain the scent. Also note her speed. Other than where there is food, she is at a near trot. Now, in theory, as long as the speed is consistent there should be no point deduction, but in reality she is tracking too fast for most judges not to comment if this were a trial.

5 26 12 Eva track 2 - YouTube

As you can see here, I start to add elements like weaves. I also start to vary how I laid the track making some really big steps followed by little steps. This keeps it interesting in training. The conditions were so easy, I had the opportunity to be creative.

5.26.12 Eva tracking 3.MTS - YouTube

This final video is the longest and contains an article indication. The articles are small strips of wood, carpet or leather in regular IPO tracking and can also include some other items for FH tracking. This article indication is classic for Eva. It is pretty fast and pretty straight, but she downs in two stages. The front of her body goes down first followed by her butt. Only once has a judge has ever commented on it, but it is something I notice.

I know Eva is a bit portly right now. We are trimming back.

The second bitch is a 3 year old SchH1 bitch who seemed for a while to have lost some confidence in tracking. Fenja is a softer dog than Eva and I see the difference in her tracking. Here we are working on gaining confidence when there is no food on the track. There is a bit of food on the scent pad, but then nothing until the first article. You can see in her tracking that she is wanting to pull so hard, she does want to trot. I just hold her steady and walk at the pace I wish to go. As she gains more confidence, she will (I hope) slow down without my needing to hold her back. The first article is only about 60 paces out and she downs on in cleanly and quickly. I reward heavily here with praise and food. Also notice how much closer I am to Fenja than I am to Eva. Eva is a finished dog and she can handle what comes down the road. I am closer to Fenja (about 10-15ft back) just in case she gets in to trouble I can help her a little.

5 26 12 Fenja track 1 - YouTube

This second part still shows the same picture. Fenja is pulling and I am putting on the breaks. Here I start to incorporate the same elements as with Evaís track (giant steps followed by tiny steps and some zig-zags). There is a bit of food on the track here, but I keep it pretty light for Fenja and use the articles to really reward her. The second article is also indicated quickly.
This track was run before Evaís and I get reprimanded by my tracking buddy for doing such a long straightaway.

5 26 12 Fenja track 3 - YouTube

This part is similar except for one of the turns. When the dirt is so nice, I like to make challenges that I wouldnít do on hard terrain. In the middle of the video, I stop my track with a small scent pad and then take a very large step to the right and make another small scent pad and then continue going. This helps teach loss of scent. If the dog gets lost (i.e. the track disappears), I want her to still search it out without getting worried or frantic. You can see she circles, knowing that it disappeared, and then finds it and follows the new path.

The third bitch is Ija who is 7 months old and who has had less than 10 tracks so far. She is taking to it very well. Her track is a straight leg of about 60 paces with food in every step and a jackpot at the end. She doesnít pick up every bit of food, but she investigated every footstep which is the goal. I am very close to her with just a tiny bit of tension on the line. I am there to help if she needs it and I can block a number of mistakes with my body. Food in every step in the beginning (and for a looong time in the beginning) sets the behavior that I want. I want her to check every footstep forever so this behavior is drilled in. There is no need to hold her back as the food in every step keeps her at a nice slow pace. I will start to do curves and turns and make her tracks longer as she is progressing so well.

5.26.12 Ija tracking.MTS - YouTube

If you made it through all those videos, CONGRATULATIONS!

If you have other types of tracking videos I would love to see them for discussion.
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the vids! Will be in for some more serious discussion tomorrow when I am rested up - been at a working trial since 7:30am watching tracking! Had winds of 120k + (75 miles) and rain!

Today's tracks...

UD tracks were on flat grassy dairy cow paddocks. 800 metres long with 4 legs and an article at the end, 30 minutes old. First dog was a youngish BC, she had a lot of trouble from the beginning with a nasty crosswind, didn't make it to the first corner. Both of the other dogs managed brilliant tracks, surprised everyone as the conditions were nasty, I could barely stand up! They both had a few marks taken off for casting too wide on the corners, but were otherwise lovely.

I only watched one of the WD tracks... It was up the mountain, so the wind was even worse than on the flat. Track was maybe 1500 metres long, aged 1.5 hours. Went up the side of the hill through broken ground in a paddock occupied by nosy sheep, across gullies and through hedges.... Very intense to watch! Dog found one of two articles, again casting very wide and was about 10 metres off the track due to the wind blasting up the hillside.

Lastly the 3 TD tracks... I think only one dog qualified today.
1st TD track was a free (off-lead) track. 30 minutes old, 600 metres over broken ground with 3 legs.
2nd was hard surface track done on a gravel road... There were little dust tornadoes blowing around where they did the hard surface tracks!!
3rd track is like the WD track, but 3 hours old and with 3 articles... again it was right on top of the hills with ridiculous winds blowing all over.

Was a very cool thing to see, can't wait til Elsie is old enough to partake in working trials... IMO her obedience is about up to the standard needed... Just need to work those tracks!!
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am so glad you started this thread. This is why I stick around this forum. I will watch the videos throughout the day as I have time with a special interest in the young dogs as I am somewhere between the two with my 2 yr old Fei.
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Just wanted to add that I would like to try dirt tracking but that is hard to find around here. There is a video of Fei tracking on the Do'Urden kennel site but I don't know how to bring it over here. We have changed some things since then and she is responding well; I was just scared to take that next step.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cathy43 View Post
Just wanted to add that I would like to try dirt tracking but that is hard to find around here. There is a video of Fei tracking on the Do'Urden kennel site but I don't know how to bring it over here. We have changed some things since then and she is responding well; I was just scared to take that next step.
I found it and it is a good video. If I have your permission I will like it from youtube to add to our discussion.

Can you elaborate more on this track though? How much food? Approx how long? Are the flags to tell you where the turn is?
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by the_discowhore View Post
Thanks for the vids! Will be in for some more serious discussion tomorrow when I am rested up - been at a working trial since 7:30am watching tracking! Had winds of 120k + (75 miles) and rain!

Today's tracks...

UD tracks were on flat grassy dairy cow paddocks. 800 metres long with 4 legs and an article at the end, 30 minutes old. First dog was a youngish BC, she had a lot of trouble from the beginning with a nasty crosswind, didn't make it to the first corner. Both of the other dogs managed brilliant tracks, surprised everyone as the conditions were nasty, I could barely stand up! They both had a few marks taken off for casting too wide on the corners, but were otherwise lovely.

I only watched one of the WD tracks... It was up the mountain, so the wind was even worse than on the flat. Track was maybe 1500 metres long, aged 1.5 hours. Went up the side of the hill through broken ground in a paddock occupied by nosy sheep, across gullies and through hedges.... Very intense to watch! Dog found one of two articles, again casting very wide and was about 10 metres off the track due to the wind blasting up the hillside.

Lastly the 3 TD tracks... I think only one dog qualified today.
1st TD track was a free (off-lead) track. 30 minutes old, 600 metres over broken ground with 3 legs.
2nd was hard surface track done on a gravel road... There were little dust tornadoes blowing around where they did the hard surface tracks!!
3rd track is like the WD track, but 3 hours old and with 3 articles... again it was right on top of the hills with ridiculous winds blowing all over.

Was a very cool thing to see, can't wait til Elsie is old enough to partake in working trials... IMO her obedience is about up to the standard needed... Just need to work those tracks!!
Good lord! The conditions sound pretty bad. I have had a few trial tracks in crap weather but for the most part I have been lucky.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by workingk9s View Post
I found it and it is a good video. If I have your permission I will like it from youtube to add to our discussion.

Can you elaborate more on this track though? How much food? Approx how long? Are the flags to tell you where the turn is?
Go ahead; I don't care. That track was 3 legs of around 70 or so paces. The flags are at start, turns, and finish. A ton of food (rolled food in pinky-nail sized pieces) with spaces of 3-5 steps with no food. Much more food than no food. There was an article at the end.

I don't always use flags at turns. Sometimes a pretty weed or clump of something. When I use a flag now, it may be 3 feet out; I throw it.

Fast forward to now, I have food roughly at 15 - 20 paces. Sometimes 3 or 4 pieces at one spot. Sometimes 1 piece for a couple of steps. Mixing it up keeps her from going too fast. I am doing 75 paces per leg although I have done 100 pace legs. I made it shorter when I increased the food spacing.

My homework this week is to work articles off the track although she has improved to the point where she doesn't raise her head and look around before indicating.

Gotta go mow some grass now; check back later this evening.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Here it is. I think she is doing well.

After you mow the lawn, can you talk about how you started your articles?

Fei tracking - YouTube
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, this is the basic outline but I am a lazy trainer and certainly haven't put the training time into the articles that I should have.

First, just nose touch the article. She already knew how to nose touch my hand and anything else I held out to her. I started this in the house. Then I laid short tracks (10 paces) and put the article at the end-big party. But I left out a step and that's what I want to fix. I want to just place the article,platz,click and treat away from an actual track, even if it is a short one. What I've been doing is pairing the article with a closed container of food on the track and it's been working in that she's not doing the "raise head and look around" thing but I want a surer article indication.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think I will teach Elsie article indication in a similar way - we have not started yet, but will start soon (just gotta get some articles). I am thinking I will train a down with a chin target on the article, so she'll drop and put her face on it. I don't like the ambiguity of the stand there and look around indication I see sometimes. I think a down is a good way to stop and refocus them too... Elsie can get pretty frantic tracking, any calmness I can get is a blessing lol.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I started articles off the track. Taught a nose touch as well. "Platz, where is it" was the command I used. Once it was pretty solid at home and in the yard (i.e. I could throw the article a few feet ahead and the dog runs to it and downs on it with a nose touch), I added it to the track. The first few tracks needed a lot of help from me to down on it. But then they start to get the hang of the idea. I really jackpot the articles at first. Tends to speed them up for a while, but then we work that seperate. I don't worry about them looking back to me once at the article. I don't think any judge has ever mentioned it that I know of.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Having a deep nose is very important for IPO tracking right? What do you do to encourage a deeper nose? Elsie gets pretty wild and air tracks a bit, which is allowed in NZKC tracking (as long as they aren't getting too far off the track), but from the weekend I saw that dogs that predominantly air scent have a lot of trouble in windy conditions. Elsie is pretty good, but tends to air scent a lot around corners, when she knows where the track is going, and ends up going pretty wide off the corners... I have been putting food before and after corners to get her to keep her nose down... Any other tips? (we don't usually track with food any more)
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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What I do is while they are young, have food in EVERY footstep for a looooong time. That seems to set the behavior of putting a nose in to each footstep, thus giving a deep nose. I think I had food in every footstep until Fenja was about a year and a half old. It will probably be the same with Ija. I haven't had an air scenter yet. At least not one that is still all about air scenting after I bait the track for the first bunch of tracks.

I do like to go tracking on windy days to get dogs used to it. It does seem that at first, they follow the blown scent off to whatever side the wind is blowing. I sometimes use two lines then to help them stay on the track. Supposedly they learn to find the origin of the track that way and can stay on target.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:10 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks! Perhaps I will go back to having food on tracks for a bit... everyone here seems to want to fade food out very quickly, but perhaps that's why they get air scenters! I found elsie started skipping treats quite early when it was every step, will try going back to every step... and try in the morning when she is very hungry!

How often do yous train with your young dogs? Where do you train? I try to track every couple of days, but as I live in the city and don't drive I am stuck using the land available to me.... mostly parks and empty sections (lots of those around as I live near where all the earthquake damaged houses are being pulled down), but I can only get out to good tracking land once a week. Tracking in town = a lot of tracking on soiled ground, and we can't get really long tracks in... lucky to get 120 metres! Once a week we usually go to a forest or out to some paddocks somewhere to get a proper track done, I worry about elsies ability to do long tracks when she is always practising on little ones...
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I just wanted to jump in and say how interesting this is compared to the nose work Callie and I are doing for search and rescue. Same idea, but the execution and training are so very different! Very much enjoyed the videos.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:40 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I just wanted to jump in and say how interesting this is compared to the nose work Callie and I are doing for search and rescue. Same idea, but the execution and training are so very different! Very much enjoyed the videos.
How do you train? I am hoping to get hold of a good USAR training book soon to read, not so much for me, but for my partner who is a USAR team member but knows squat about dog training... I would love for him to get involved in dog training, maybe just learn the basics now with Elsie, then actually train the next dog (working dobe or mal hopefully!) for active service.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:57 AM   #17 (permalink)
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We start with what we call "puppy run-aways" which is where the handler (who is also preferably who the puppy is most bonded to) has a buddy hold the puppy while the handler runs away squealing, waving their hands, "PUP PUP PUP!!!" making all kinds of exciting fuss! the first few are only a few hundred feet, line of sight. Then its slowly, slowly ramped up. Longer, out of sight, went down a trail and ducked off into the woods, etc. The nose work/"hunting" is super natural for the dog- so they naturally just start to use it to find you. When she finds me, we have a solid 2-5min of PLAY! we wrestle, we tug, its a party. Best thing in the world for her! Gotta build that drive to find people- finding people is FUN!

Thats the VERY nut shell version the training takes about two years! We're only just (at 5mo old) doing long, out of sight, but very simple trails.. still where I run away, and still just me- because her biggest drive is to be right.under.my.feet. hehe.

A working dobe is on my wish list- I'm going for it as soon as Callie is two or three. I have a breeder I'm GEEKING out over, and waiting to contact. I'm sure they don't want to hear from me (minimum) 18mo ahead of time I'm so nervous!

If you guys don't mind- maybe I could take along in your scent thread? I guess I'm kinda relevant!
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:18 AM   #18 (permalink)
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We start with what we call "puppy run-aways" which is where the handler (who is also preferably who the puppy is most bonded to) has a buddy hold the puppy while the handler runs away squealing, waving their hands, "PUP PUP PUP!!!" making all kinds of exciting fuss! the first few are only a few hundred feet, line of sight. Then its slowly, slowly ramped up. Longer, out of sight, went down a trail and ducked off into the woods, etc. The nose work/"hunting" is super natural for the dog- so they naturally just start to use it to find you. When she finds me, we have a solid 2-5min of PLAY! we wrestle, we tug, its a party. Best thing in the world for her! Gotta build that drive to find people- finding people is FUN!

Thats the VERY nut shell version the training takes about two years! We're only just (at 5mo old) doing long, out of sight, but very simple trails.. still where I run away, and still just me- because her biggest drive is to be right.under.my.feet. hehe.

A working dobe is on my wish list- I'm going for it as soon as Callie is two or three. I have a breeder I'm GEEKING out over, and waiting to contact. I'm sure they don't want to hear from me (minimum) 18mo ahead of time I'm so nervous!

If you guys don't mind- maybe I could take along in your scent thread? I guess I'm kinda relevant!
Thanks! Very cool! I wonder if USAR is the same? My b/f gets to be a victim for their training sometimes, he has to hide in a rubble pile then they cover his hole with something and pile more rubble on top!

I don't mind you participating - I think it's good for different training styles to share advice between them, doesn't hurt me at least hehe

Ugh I know what you mean about nerves contacting breeders! There are literally no working Dobe breeders in my country, and probably 1 or 2 in Aussie (don't know if they health test though), when there are so few it makes me nervous to try talking to them! Am considering perhaps trying for a dog from the USA, will end up costing me like 4-5x as much as a dog here, but at least there are health tested, working-line Dobes there. Getting in touch with breeders in a whole different country is even scarier LOL.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:36 AM   #19 (permalink)
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(i.e. I could throw the article a few feet ahead and the dog runs to it and downs on it with a nose touch), I added it to the track..

Yep, that's the step I left out and now I'm having to fix it. There's a lesson there, boys and girls.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:45 AM   #20 (permalink)
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What I do is while they are young, have food in EVERY footstep for a looooong time. That seems to set the behavior of putting a nose in to each footstep, thus giving a deep nose. I think I had food in every footstep until Fenja was about a year and a half old. It will probably be the same with Ija. I haven't had an air scenter yet. At least not one that is still all about air scenting after I bait the track for the first bunch of tracks.

I do like to go tracking on windy days to get dogs used to it. It does seem that at first, they follow the blown scent off to whatever side the wind is blowing. I sometimes use two lines then to help them stay on the track. Supposedly they learn to find the origin of the track that way and can stay on target.
That's exactly how it was explained to me. It "sets the behavior" of moving the head side to side, keeping head down. So, it wasn't so unusual for me to keep so much food down. I had very experienced people helping me but it's always nice to see that one is doing things in a standard manner.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:02 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Thanks! Perhaps I will go back to having food on tracks for a bit... everyone here seems to want to fade food out very quickly, but perhaps that's why they get air scenters! I found elsie started skipping treats quite early when it was every step, will try going back to every step... and try in the morning when she is very hungry!

How often do yous train with your young dogs? Where do you train? I try to track every couple of days, but as I live in the city and don't drive I am stuck using the land available to me.... mostly parks and empty sections (lots of those around as I live near where all the earthquake damaged houses are being pulled down), but I can only get out to good tracking land once a week. Tracking in town = a lot of tracking on soiled ground, and we can't get really long tracks in... lucky to get 120 metres! Once a week we usually go to a forest or out to some paddocks somewhere to get a proper track done, I worry about elsies ability to do long tracks when she is always practising on little ones...
Sounds like your frequency is really good. One of my tracking partners has limited space at her house so when she comes to the field, she may occasionally just lay one really long, straight track.

I like to track 2-3 times a week although I did more when we were just getting started. Right now the grass is waist high and I'm getting scared of snakes and such so I'm gonna have to wait for them to cut it for hay. Then I'll be back to short grass for awhile.

My husband owns a 50 acre parcel that is mostly hayfield and I have 3 different places that I can enter the property so it doesn't look like we're on the same field all the time. The club I train at has access to an even bigger space that is not cut as hay so it is usually close to knee-high much of the time. I wish they would cut that for hay as I think it is healthier for the field to remove the grass instead of letting it lay over.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:16 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I would like to say that I track 2-3 times per week. Every week.


But that would be a lie, lol. Sometimes I track 2 x per week, sometimes I end up not tracking for a month. If there is a trial coming up in a few months, I make extra effort and do get twice a week done, but usually I think I track a total of 4-6 times per month.

That is not so very good for trials.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:42 AM   #23 (permalink)
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5.26.12 Eva tracking 3.MTS - YouTube

This final video is the longest and contains an article indication. The articles are small strips of wood, carpet or leather in regular IPO tracking and can also include some other items for FH tracking. This article indication is classic for Eva. It is pretty fast and pretty straight, but she downs in two stages. The front of her body goes down first followed by her butt. Only once has a judge has ever commented on it, but it is something I notice.
Uh, I'm pretty sure I spotted two rabbits hopping across the grass in the background of this video. In that situation, I know exactly what our guy would have been doing. Good for Eva for being so focused on the track that she didn't even notice them!

Thanks for posting these videos. Very interesting.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:33 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I would like to say that I track 2-3 times per week. Every week.


But that would be a lie, lol. Sometimes I track 2 x per week, sometimes I end up not tracking for a month. If there is a trial coming up in a few months, I make extra effort and do get twice a week done, but usually I think I track a total of 4-6 times per month.

That is not so very good for trials.
LOL. Now I didn't say every week. I think when it's new and fresh, one probably does it more than the more experienced person who is more confident in their abilities.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:44 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Great thread! Just got to read through it.

I have taken a short break from training (about a month) because I am so busy, but I did a few tracks this week so here is where we are now...

I am also at two different stages in tracking with my boys. Diego- the Bouvier is now 10 months (still in the "intro to tracking" phase) and Hans is 2, doing an IPO 1 track. It seems that I got lucky with Hans as he seems to be a natural tracker. The problem I have with him is not doing enough variety...I don't feel that his tracking is really reliable yet. He indicates very well, consistent with his tracking speed...but I would like to see him be more confident on the legs.

Diego (due to me being a lazy handler) has taken a few steps back in tracking...he is young so I expected that. He is very eager, but impatient...will miss quite a bit of food and has a somewhat of a high nose in between food. He is still very immature and is so-so about food (some days he's crazy for it, others not so much). I am now laying tracks with more food, and food closer together...we'll see how that goes.

One of the main reasons I haven't been tracking as much as I should is because I don't know what is a good place to track and what isn't. I have always thought you were supposed to track in the morning when it is damp...but who can do that consistently?? So I guess one of my questions is, is it okay to track on a dry grassy field? If so, how do you alter the way you lay your track on different conditions?

I have a few more questions for IPO tracking folks...

How do you step when you lay your track? Does this vary on the corners?

What type of food do you use and why? I have had a trainer tell me to use kibble or dried lamb lung because it doesn't have a strong scent and it will encourage the dog to actually smell the track. My current trainer uses hot dogs which have a strong scent...the dogs are enthusiastic about tracking but I worry they are not really paying attention to the track itself.

Where do you track? What would you recommend in finding good places to track?


Lots of questions, but I'll take any answers I can get! I really enjoy tracking so I would love to hear different ways of doing things.
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