Thursday, October 6, 2011
Dogs love to sniff the ground.
The American Kennel Club tracking allows your dog to indulge this passion as it follows a specific human scent trail complete with turns and "lost" articles to find. It also provides your dog with unparalleled freedom for in tracking the dog becomes the leader and you have to listen and trust the dog.
You do not just hold the leash while your dog tracks. You must learn how to handle the line, how much tension to put on the line, how to read the dog's body language, how to know when the dog is off the track, and how to encourage the dog back on the track.
The length of the track varies per the competition level, as does the number of turns, and general difficulty. The tracks may cross fields, near ponds, into wooded areas, and eventually over man made surfaces.
Tracking develops an incredible bond between owner and dog, due in part to the trust the handler must place in the dog's ability to follow something humans can neither see, hear, smell, nor feel.
Training involves using food and toys to direct and reward your dog's natural scenting ability. When approached in this positive manner, most dogs love tracking.
There are tracking clubs and obedience clubs with members who track. You can also contact judges to see if they do training, or they can refer you to someone in the area. Books and videos help, but do not replace the assistance of another tracker.
To track down mover information, check this out.