I attended a very good tracking seminar yesterday with Ed Presnell from WI. Of course when you've been taught one way, there are always things that come up at seminars that totally conflict w/ what you've already done, and since I started Mata at 12 wks tracking (as I do w/ most of my pups), I kind of hate to change certain things that I think may take the fun out of it for a retriever.
So, the one thing I'm struggling with though is that Ed really advocates a stationary "indication" of the articles (he likes to teach his dog a Down at the article), whereas I've always taught the dog to retrieve it. That works for me in the sense that it takes the pressure off me to LOOK for the articles if at the test, the dog for some reason doesn't want to Down or Sit or perhaps I can't even see that the dog has quit moving to know I need to approach her. It's also self rewarding for my dogs to do that, plus w/ hunt test and obed training, it's far more natural for them.
I am not preparing my dogs for more than TD/TDX currently, since I also do hunt test, agility and obedience w/ my dogs and simply dont have the time to try to get into VST work and it's hard enough to get drawn for a TD! His rationale, which of course is very sound and logical, is that if a dog were to find something around the corner of a building (in VST) or if tracking in deep cover, you may not know where the dog actually located the article if she retrieves it and brings it to you so you could get off track. That would apply to TDX for sure where there are multiple articles. OTOH, if you have a good resend (I just say, "keep going!" and they know there are more), and the dog goes back to where they found the article, I'd think this is a mute point. They are only going to be 20' away on the long line at most times too.
For those of you who are tracking gurus, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, esp since I start my pups so young that even my 1 yo's instinct is to pick up the glove and bring it to me. My other girl that really needs to finish her TD (will make her a VCD2 SH) is 8.5 yo too, so no way would I change her routine at this point. He used some pretty interesting articles btw! Mata just looked at the first tin lid as if to say, "this ain't no article-- gimme the glove!".
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
I am not a tracking guru, but we're training for TDX now. When Scotty comes across an article, he usually stops to sniff it and I tell him "fetch." I see no problem with his retrieving the article and getting back on the track. The articles must be dropped more than 30 yards from the turns, obstacles or cross-track. The handler is usually 20 feet behind. I don't see a problem with handler not seeing where the article came from or with the dog getting off the track within these 20 feet. Of course, this is just MHO.
I am not sure how this would translate to the VST test. But I believe in VST, the handler can be 10 feet behind the dog. So, I again don't see a problem with the dog getting lost. I'm assuming that we're talking about dogs who are ready for the tests. While in training, there is of course nothing wrong with helping the dog out to stay on the track after delivering the article to the handler.
I know Ed and have taken a VST seminar of his. He does advocate a down at the glove but I also currently have 2 who retrieve the glove and I decided to stay with that. Cori passed her TD at the national 3 years ago and was the only pass that year. I'm glad she picked up the glove -- it was in tall grass and I wouldn't have seen it and likely would have walked right over it. Jazz, who is a maniac, also retrieves the glove -- with her I will have to be very careful to either walk into her or mark well in my mind where that glove came from. That is Ed's reason for the down -- his dogs are usually fairly fast working. I hope you enjoyed the seminar -- he is very knowledgeable.
<br />Cori and Lily (my angel pug)
Thanks Deb and Tatyana. Yes, I really did get alot out of the seminar! It was a 180 degree change from how I had been taught years ago by another tracking judge and though I do think I'll stick w/ the retrieve because I think it makes my girls so much happier-- a self rewarding thing to be able to retrieve and bring me the prize. I saw Mata start to melt a bit when I asked her suddenly to sit next to the article; she wasn't having as much fun all of a sudden. When I asked Ed if it really mattered, and why, he did tell me that many Goldens and Labs that he sees do the retrieve, but why he liked the down/sit. He also mentioned his show Clumber who would never go into a Down at a test and revert back to the "show pose" over the article, so I say, why bother, lol???? I do realize that for SAR work, you want the evidence or area disturbed as little as possible but that's not in my game plan.
What I liked was 1) the emphasis on many articles on the track-- something I started on my own a few years ago in prep of TDX work, and 2) doing multiple short tracks instead of long ones. That makes so much sense to me as I'm one of those types who do not do any long training sessions anyhow. Obed may only be 10 min MAX, and more like 5. -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014