Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rigby's First Day of Tracking!

Today was a day I've been waiting for most anxiously, Rigby's first day of tracking.  I've missed being a part of the tracking group out at Mingo Creek County Park and I was so excited to get up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday to make it to the park at 8:00 to join our friends for a day in the fields.

It was a chilly December morning, but the weatherman had promised a warm-up as the day progressed and I hoped that by the time Rigby would track the temperatures would climb at least close to 40 degrees so that she would not be too cold.  At first it didn't seem that the sun was going to cooperate and we all felt the day was colder than we had thought it would be until, suddenly, it was like someone turned on a heater and the air temps started to climb and it was a perfect day for a puppy's first track.

Four dogs and their owners gathered this morning to work on their tracking skills and I'll post photos of each of the dogs tracking before I get to the videos of Rigby on her first tracks.

First to track today was Greta, a Giant Schnauzer.  Greta is Rich's first tracking dog and they are learning the ropes together.  Greta was also Rich's wife Terri's "A" dog in the obedience ring and just a few weeks ago Terri and Greta earned their Utility Dog title -- congratulations!!

The next dog to track was Phil's Dalmatian Cuomo, who passed her TD at the GTOTC tracking test in November.  She is really coming along nicely since she started working on her TDX skills.

Tracking in the woods.

She found an article.

Ava actually had the last track of the day, as her track aged 3 hours and also had cross tracks on it!  Ava also has a lot of fun no matter what she's doing, which doesn't always make her owner Ellen very happy, but today she handled the cross tracks very well.

Then there was Rigby's tracking debut!  She got 3 tracks, each one a bit longer.  The main goal today was to get her in a harness and watching the track layer lay the track.  Food was dropped quite frequently along the track to encourage Rigby to put her nose to the ground so that, in time, she'll learn to pick up the scent and follow it from the start flag to the glove at the end.  The food quickly got her attention and she did pretty well getting her nose down to the ground.

Here is the video of Rigby's first track:

After a bit of play it was time to lay the second track. She started to get more intense as each track was readied for her.

You will see in the next video, which includes the other two tracks, that Rigby got a bit agitated at being held back from the food and actually was biting at my hands.  Since we are trying to build drive for the track this was allowed and tolerated, she will outgrow this and as she advances she won't even watch while her tracks are being laid.

Video of Rigby's second and third tracks on Day 1 of tracking:

And here are a few more photos from the day!

Once Rigby understands the "game" of tracking the food will be placed further and further apart and, once she can do tracks of at least a hundred yard easily and enthusiastically, turns will gradually be started.

I'll try to get some more video of her in a few weeks so that we can keep track of her progress.  I think she's going to be a very fun tracking dog!

Thanks to Phil for laying the tracks and to Ellen for the photos and to Rich for the videos!  I'm so happy to have video and photos of the start of Rigby's tracking training!

I knew that Rigby would be tired after her long morning in the car for her first tracking day, we were at the park from 8:00 until almost noon!  When I fed her a meal after returning home she ate it in her crate laying down.  Then she slept all afternoon and when it was time for her next meal she ate it sitting down, where she normally eats standing up.  I played with her a bit in the evening, but even though she spent most of her day in the crate resting, she slept through the night and, on Sunday morning, when given her breakfast she once again ate it standing up.


  1. Nina, I beam with pride and pure joy watching you and Rigby... I can only imagine how you must feel!! :-) What a lovely team you and Rigby are and I can't wait to watch more!

    1. Thanks, Kel! I think you can see from some of the photos that I was, once again, beaming and happy to be with my pup! She and I had a great week together and I look forward to so much more with her. Thanks for your kind words!