Saturday, June 20, 2009

Variable Surface Tracking

We've been very busy here so I am sorry that it has taken so long to post about the Variable Surface Tracking Workshop. I worked very hard and learned a lot.

This is Ed Presnall, the tracking expert who taught the workshop. VST tracking is the hardest type of tracking and he set up lots of great exercises to help us dogs (and our scent handicapped people) succeed.

I met lots of nice dogs at the workshop. It was interesting to see the different ways each dog approaches tracking. As you know, I am pretty intense about my tracking but some dogs are more deliberate or relaxed about it. I actually have to learn to slow down!

We began with easy starter tracks and article games. I know them but Ed said it is very important to practice them often. I am not very good at article indication so we are going to be doing a lot more of that.

In VST we don't just track on grass but on pavement, sidewalks, near buildings, near cars, across roads, up and down stairs and such. Each track that Ed laid had a problem for us to solve and each track got progressively harder.

Here you can see that I've made the turn. Barbara has to read my body language to see when I've gotten to the turn. She also has to learn to trust me, that I know more about scent than she does!

I've found the plastic article on this leg of the track. I also had to find leather, cloth and metal articles.

Even though this is the fourth track on Sunday, you can see that I am still going strong. It was a lot of work but so exciting. The only time I stopped tracking and got a bit silly was when one of the tracks went near goose poop! I just couldn't resist and grabbed some before Barbara saw it and told me to leave it!

We were all very tired after two days of intense learning and tracking. My brain and my nose needed a rest from all the work.

If you are interested in seeing more pictures of us tracking go here. Grady's person took lots of great photos of us working. Maybe you and your person would like to do some tracking. You can go to Ed's website to find out more about next year's seminars. You will learn a lot.

I had a great time and of course we are trying to put into practice all that we learned at the workshop. It is too hot here in NC to do much tracking right now. Ambrose has stopped itching so much thank goodness and no longer has to wear his satellite dish. I am glad because I was getting sick of getting bashed with it. Tomorrow I will be practicing my freestyle routine because that competition is in 3 weeks! Yikes! I better get down to work.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Home Again

I had no idea that I was going on an adventure meant that I would have to get up at 4:30 AM! Way to early for me but Barbara was the one driving so I didn't have much choice! The dog-crate-on-wheels was crammed full of stuff for our trip - food, toys, treats, my tracking gear, presents, water and Barbara's suitcase. Ambrose is in his crate in the front of the car but you can't see him behind all the stuff!

I was a bit worried about spending 9 hours in a car with him in case he had one of his fart explosions. Fortunately Barbara has been adding digestive enzymes to his food so that problem has been taken care of thank goodness!

It was a very long trip and Ambrose and I slept most of the way although Barbara did make lots of rest stops so we could get out and stretch our legs. I was very glad to get to Aunt Debby's house and survey her big fenced yard and garden.

Ambrose particularly liked the petunias and ate many of them.

My cousin Coby is a very nice guy but I don't think he was too thrilled that we invaded his home. We were a bit rambunctious for him but he did get used to us, I think think he got jealous when Aunt Debby and Uncle Stan made a fuss over us.

I enjoyed roaching in the grass. It felt so good. We don't have grass in our yard, only ground cover which does not lend itself to roaching the way this nice, soft grass does.

While we were there, Ambrose got some kind of allergic reaction to something (we are still not sure to what) and was itching like crazy. He woke us up at night with his scratching. My aunt and uncle took him to the vet so that Barbara and I could go to our workshop. Ambrose had to get a shot and pills and have a bath in special shampoo and conditioner (Ha!) and wear the dreaded satellite dish on his head!

I think he looks even goofier that he usually does. He kept crashing into everyone's legs with the cone and it was hard for him to go up and down the stairs.

I'm exhausted from all the travel, the workshop and the visiting with the family. We had a great time but I am glad to be home. I'll post about the tracking workshop tomorrow and catch up with all your blogs soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Adventure

Well her excuse for not helping me blog more lately is that she has been preparing for an adventure with us. It has involved making lots of lists, washing dog beds, drowning stuffies, packing and other frantic activities. Barbara assured me this adventure would be lots of fun. How can it be fun if it means that I have to spend time on the dog grooming torture table and have a bath?

Ambrose had to have a bath too. He cried like a baby!

The dog crate on wheels is finally packed and tomorrow morning we are getting up very early so that we can drive to New Jersey to see my Aunt Debby and her family and my cousin Cobi. He is a cock-a-poo that they adopted from a local shelter a year and a half ago.

While we are there, Barbara and I will be attending and 'Introduction to Variable Surface Tracking workshop'! I am so excited because it is being given by Ed Presnall who is an expert!! I hope to learn many new tracking skills (and I can only hope that Barbara manages to learn something too. I am sure that we will post all about it when we get back.

On another topic, please keep your paws crossed for my boyfriend Riley. You can see us having a great time in the dog park.

Unfortunately Riley injured his hip very badly and and had to have a big operation last week. The operation was a success but he will have to undergo a long and painful rehabilitation. He is such a sweet guy and I feel so bad for him.

If you haven't signed up for Tank's Whack-a-Squirrel campaign, please do so.

Because of my tracking abilities I have been named Southeast Regional Commander. We need to make a big effort to do something about those annoying tree rats. And watch out! They are getting stronger every day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

K9 Kindercare and Rally

On Saturday Barbara drove us to K9 Kindercare. I always stay there when she has to go away. This was Ambrose's first time there. Barbara thinks it is important for puppies to learn that the kennel is a good place to stay by having a short, happy first visit. Then when they have to stay for a longer time, it isn't a problem for them. Little does he know that when Barbara and I go off to my freestyle competition in July, he will have to stay there by himself. HAH!

Ambrose did very well and played with lots of nice dogs. When he started farting, I pretended that I didn't know him.

Today he got to play with his friend Scout. She really likes the pool and keeps trying to encourage him to come in.

Of course they had to play a lot of bitey face. Now I always like a good game of bitey face but they are obsessed with chewing on each other.

I got to go practice Rally this evening. Here I am waiting my turn while my BFF Ayla got to practice on the course.

I'm doing a sit stay. Very boring. I much prefer the active exercises like the serpentines around the cones or doing the jumps.

We had a good practice though. Rally is good for building teamwork.

You may notice the fur on my left ear is much shorter than the fur on my right ear.

I blame it on Ambrose. He is always chewing on my ear! I look a little lopsided. I hope my fur grows back soon so I look good when we go to the freestyle trial. If it doesn't maybe I can get some hair extensions.