Maybe not quite…
Yesterday Huib and I took Rogue to a tracking session put on by Search & Rescue Dogs Ontario.
As part of their fundraising, SAR Dogs Ontario offers tracking training once a month to the public. The sessions are held at Bronte Creek Provincial Park and cost $50 for about two and a half hours of instruction.
Saturday was our first opportunity to attend, so we got our stuff ready and set out for Oakville.
There were probably more than 15 dogs in attendance, not including the ones that belonged to the instructors.
at 8:30am, we were split into three groups, according to our level of experience. Since it was our first lesson, we were in level one. there were about 6 dogs, including Rogue. there was a Beagle, a Bloodhound, 2 Shepherds and a Border Collie in our group – the Bloodhound had attended two other times, so her and her owner were quickly moved on to the next level. It is almost as though Bloodhounds are born knowing how to track, lol!
Our instructor, Dave Walker, asked us to all put our dogs into our vehicles and follow him to a field. We were then instructed on how to lay a short track.
First we were directed to shuffle our feet around in a horizontal line, smooching down the grass and leaving our scent. We were then instructed to put a flag to the left and lay several treats in the grass to mark the spot. After that, we walked about 50 feet, shuffling our feet and laying a few treats every couple feet to mark the track. At the end, we covered a toy and some treats with grass and stuck another flag in the ground.
Once we had all retrieved our dogs, we took turns having them follow the track we had laid.
When it was Rogue’s turn, Dave instructed us to keep her leash attached to her collar and then put the leash under her right leg, which would force her head downward, and then I was to hold the leash and follow her pull as Huib wiggled his fingers in front of her nose and encouraged her to follow the track we had laid for her. She did really well with her first and final track, but she was revved up and extremely excited during the second and third runs, so she was a little less precise.
Each time the dogs finished following a track, we were instructed to create another one for them in a different part of the field.
At the end of the session we all sat in the shade while Dave talked about what we had learned and recommended things to work on to each of the teams.
We weren’t too surprised when he suggested we work on slowing and calming down Rogue, lol!
Huib said he enjoyed the lesson and said he’d be willing to practice with me a few times a week and attend the July session.