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.


Agatha and Archie said...

This is really cool Archie thinks he may have smelled some of the scent throught the computer but I think it was the sea jerky treat he had....Love A+A

Lorenza said...

Hi, Niamh!
That tracking thing sure is interesting!
I wish I could do that!
Have a good night
Kisses and hugs

Tom, Tama-Chan and Sei-Chan said...

You are such a diligent student and hard worker, Niamh! That is very impressive to a pup like me who spends his time playing!


Gus, Louie and Callie said...

You did an awesome job. We are so proud of you..
Tell Dad Happy Father's Day from us..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Mango said...

That tracking stuff looks hard and your Barbara must be tired from having to get pulled along behind you.

I didn't even know setters were tracking dogs. Just goes to show ya.


Fred said...

Wow! It looks like there is a lot of science to that tracking!

Maggie and Mitch said...

Tracking looks like fun! We'd be distracted by goose poop too, Niamh!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Deefor said...

Hi Niamh
You have a really hard working nose. Must be fun smelling all that stuff. Hope you are giving your smart nose a rest. Very impressive.


Honey the Great Dane said...

Oh wow, Niamh - I've been eagerly waiting for your VST post - how cool is that! I wish I could give it a go - although I'd probably be useless at it...I can't even find the treats that my human drops on the floor during training!! Hee! Hee! :-)

Gosh - I really can't wait to see your Freestyle routine - do please post a video soon! Will you have someone videoing you on the day of the competition too?

Mine is also in 3 weeks time! Which day is your competition? Maybe we'll be competiting on the same day?! Mine is on Sat 18th July. I'm working really hard too, although we have so many fancy new moves to practise - I'm not sure I will be ready in time. As you say...Yikes!

Good luck with training!
Honey the Great Dane

Comet and BLU said...

Tracking sounds like it's fun to do. Comet only knows how to track down food, and I only like to do things when I want to, not when the girl tells me to.

Comet and BLU

Amber-Mae said...

Tracking looks like so much fun! But I wouldn't have much energy for this. I get tired easily. And plus, my nose is pretty hopeless. Hee!

Solid Gold Momma

GoldenSamantha said...

Wow - great job you did! I went on about three or four tracking outings last fall and enjoyed it a lot, but mom needs to learn more about it - I LOVe it, but I'm too fast too and miss things (?)! Good work!
xo Sammie

Hero said...

That looks like so much fun! When my mom and I move to the states she wants to get me involved with tracking as I've always got my nose firmly planted to the ground. Thanks for sharing your learning experience with us. It makes me excited knowing that one day maybe I can fine tune my skills like you are doing now.

Pedro said...


Are you going to go to work as a tracker after your classes are done? I can track down food really well...


Honey the Great Dane said...

HI Niamh,

Just popping in to say hello - you must be still really busy as you haven't posted in ages and you haven't come to visit me either! :-)

How is your freestyle routine going? I remember that our competition is around the same time, isn't it? Mine is next Saturday (18th) - am starting to get a bit nervous! Also, coz Hsin-Yi says I have been "regressing" lately...suddenly, am not doing my tricks so well anymore and she knows I was doing them really well she is a bit frustrated with me. Also, am not allowed to have a food lure during the routine coz I am in the Open class now so Hsin-Yi is worried that I won't be motivated enough to follow her through the whole thing...hee! hee!

Honey the Great Dane

Momo and Pinot said...

Hello Niamh!!! You and Barbara is a pawtastic we All know!!!

Momo & Pinot

Toffee said...

Goose poop? Goose poop?
Honestly, who can resist goose poop : )

that scent tracking sounds very interesting. thanks for sharing.

Ludo van Doggy said...

Where is you Niamh?

Chef ·˙ ۛ ♥ said...

Wow, tracking sounds like fun and hard work and know-how. I'm sure you're an expert by now.

How did your freestyle go?

Sue said...

Good job with the tracking.

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