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.