CRCTC sponsored a Beginning Tracking Clinic last Saturday. I arrived about 7:15 to set up and meet with Dave Vesely, our instructor. The sun was out but, oh my gosh, was it cold. Dave arrived about the same time. Our reserved shelter is one of the best ever! I'm not sure how big it was but it had about 10 - 12 full sized picnic tables with lots of walking room so we had plenty of "social distancing" space. It also had 2 big prep counters and sinks with running (cold) water, one on each side of the shelter. I swabbed the counter we were using with Chlorox Clean-up and set up the "Hot Tea bar" (great for keeping our hands warm), Dave set up his gear, sample harnesses and long lines.
In both the morning and afternoon sessions we had 4 working teams (German Shepherd Dogs, Border Collie, Golden Retriever and Cairns) and 1 auditor. Many chose to stay home because of the COVID 19 virus (they all received a refund).
Everyone had their handouts while Dave went over some of the basics. We learned what dog breeds can do tracking and which breeds have trouble, how a dog nose works, and much much more. We then went out of the shelter and Dave laid tracks, 2 tracks per dog. Then we went back to the shelter and Dave introduced some the different harnesses and long lines and gave some suggestions on how to make our own equipment. After a bit more information back outside we went for a couple more tracks. The afternoon session was pretty much the same but we got to lay each others tracks!!
How fun it was to watch beginner dogs follow the trail. The question was asked "Are they following the treats or the scent?" Dave explained that beginning dogs follow both. As they get more experienced they realize that the human smell gives them rewards if they follow it carefully. We finished both sessions on time and eveyone got 4 short tracks each, it was very fun and we all learned a great deal. Stay tuned. we plan on having another in October and perhaps a "Part 2" for those of us that have been practicing and ready to learn more!