Firstly I'd like to thank Robert (aka Stone) for a great day tracking training on Sunday.
The day started at 1pm, well nearly as there was a dog show nearby and a few wayward dog people found their way to us and had to be re-directed. It amused me to think what they would have made out dogs being encouraged to rag bits of deer skin and then knocking holes in the skin with a .22 rimfire.
Introductions out of the way we started with a demonstration of Stones dog attempting a 30hr track. It brings home to you how rubbish the human nose really is when you see a dog smelling nothing more than foot scent that is over a day old and had had some heavy rain and a shower on it.
Now I will freely admit to being a total novice when it comes to my dog. Don't get me wrong I have had other dogs and trained them but so far I just haven't got it with Dexter. I know he has a nose and i know he can track but this day was more about training the trainer than training the dog.
Under Stones expert tuition it became apparent that Dexter did indeed have a nose. But my interpretation of what he was doing was woefully off. The signs are so subtle. Dexter did complete his 3/4 hr track despite wanting to go off and track a pheasant instead and that track in itself with guidance from Stone taught me some of the signs I need to be looking for.
We followed other attending dogs during the day and gleaned various snippets of valuable information.
Procedure before the track even starts was an excellent example. Sadly one track went completely awry when the dog lost interest because his lead and harness were not on before the tracker went to inspect the shot site. The dog then ready and waiting to go had to wait 5 mins before he could start while the lead and harness were prepared. It is bits of useful information like this that really make the difference.
I really can't thank you enough for re-igniting me and I'm off in a minute to order a new tracking lead and collar.
It was well worth the drive up from Dorset and if there are any North Dorset members who are up for some training and Stone is willing to oblige then I am 100% confident that I could organise a venue down here and provide Stone with free accommodation.
I will let the other members fill in their experiences