|I stayed with Donna & her crew on Friday night, that's Ted & his son Ben on the back of the couch, Tate & Jet, Ben's mom on the couch, & 13 yr old River with Kort in front of the couch|
Friday night was the meet & greet where Jean Blondin got right to work interviewing each person to find out exactly where they were with their dog.
There were people working at all different levels with their dogs, as well as working at different disciplines. There were SAR dogs there, CKC trackers & Schutzund trackers. We had total novices & very experienced handlers, we also had a police officer working his dog.
My group consisited of an Airedale named Reggie, A Weimeraner named Hickory, A Gordon Setter named Echo & a Begian Terveran named Allie.
|Tate already tracking as we approach our scent pad|
We started on Sat. morning with Jean Blondin. Jean is a retired RCMP officer of 33 yrs who has worked 25 of those years with the Police Dog Services. He had fun stories to share about catching bad guys with his dogs :) He won the 1993 Canadian Police Dog Championships.
Jean had all of us lay a fairly long track to start, straight for about 100 yds, left turn for about 25 yds, right turn for another 100 yds to the glove. They aged about 10 min. It took him about 5 min to realize this was way above Kort's head :) We stopped right away & headed back talking about his plan for Kort.
On Kort's next turn we did "trenching", basically dragging your feet & digging up the ground for about 10 ft. to begin. Food is then placed along the track with a jackpot at the end. Kort followed along fairly well but didn't have much drive. So Jean had me hold him & let him watch as he laid the track, every few steps he would come back to Kort & hold the food under his nose, but not let him have it :) As he was laying the track he was talking & taunting Kort, asking him if he wanted the food etc. When Kort started the track this time he was all business, very eager to get going, I stayed right at his side as instructed, with my hand down at ground level the whole time, showing him the track.
I liked Jean, he is a no nonsense guy with a sense of humour, some found him off putting but I did not. His leash handling methods are much different , his approach to missing corners is different , there is just way to much to write down in this post. From Jean's methods I am taking away the trenching , & taunting, but not the more relaxed corner methods.
|Tate on his first leg at the Red Deer College|
Tate got to play here as we were laying longer tracks at the college & I knew from the morning lessons I couldn't do this with Kort.
Tate's first track was a straight line with a right turn to the glove. Tate was pretty rusty & it was hot hot! The grass was dry, not ideal conditions, but we did our best, Tate was thrilled to find his glove :) We then went to a field where we laid tracks for each other, Tate's was a long leg with a marked right turn, then a blind left turn. He was rocking it! He found his right turn but for the life of him could not find the left turn, this was the blind turn so I didn't know if it went right or left, I ended up asking Donna to tell me which way it went as to not let Tate get discouraged. The ground was somewhat mucky but it was weird that he couldn't find it, could have been the heat.
|Happy Kort carrying his glove all the way back :)|
Sunday morning we had Dan Waters. He does Schutzhund style tracking, meaning footstep tracking. Dan is a very serious competitor & has won numerous titles & a World Championship a few years back.
I told him Kort was a beginner so we worked on short grass with a treat in each footstep. This is very time consuming, you have to scuff the ground first, then place the treat. Dan's style is much different, he wants a totally relaxed leash, no tension, complete silence except for a NO if the dog is off the track & a YES when he comes back on, stressing a QUIET , CALM, no & yes. Kort did fairly well, but only took the treats from the right foot side lol! At the end, Dan had us walk back the other way on the track letting Kort pick up the treats he had not gotten, & yes, I said walk back along the track. Dan does not stress about going back at this point, it's all encouragement & motivating for the dog right now. Later he had me lay a longer track with a right turn down a gentle slope to see how he did. Kort was totally turned off from some smell on the ground & kept jumping off the track, he wouldn't even look at the food! He did manage to get focused on the hill but something was on the ground at the beginning.
This is the style I have chosen for Kort, footstep tracking. Dan also showed us how he teaches article indication, but I am not to worry about that for awhile he said.
|Kort was such a good boy this weekend, so grown up & well behaved :)|
Like I said there is just way way to much to blog, but I am thankful for the experience to see 3 different disciplines of tracking, & for the knowledge that Donna, Jean & Dan shared with us. What an amazing seminar!!