I was a blogger before most people knew what the word ‘blog’ meant! I retired the old Spiritdance Dogs Blog a few years ago, after making some major life changes including a big move to Alberta in 2008.
My dogs have walked beside me through every change. I should say, they’ve walked in front of me through every change, since the constant in my life has been my love for the sport of tracking.
Since moving to Alberta, I have completed the requirements to judge all levels of CKC tracking!
I’ve enjoyed judging assignments from the east coast to the west coast and in-between! I’ve had the pleasure of judging tests, meeting trackers and seeing their great dogs in New Brunswick, southern and northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, BC Mainland and Vancouver Island. Judging is a great responsibility and an honour. It is also a volunteer role, not a job, done out of passion for the sport. Judges invest in their own apprenticeships for the privilege of judging for the CKC. Clubs pay expenses and express appreciation through gifts and small stipends to help with things like dog boarding.
I am sure I can say, on behalf of all tracking judges, seeing the passes makes the slogging through fields, in the rain, heat and at all hours worth it! I usually return to work exhausted! (I do have a day job as a Corporate Communications Manager with government).
Clinics, Lessons, Tests continue
In 2012, Jet earned her TDX and UTDX in Alberta to become the first CKC Border Collie Tracking Champion. My German Shepherd Caden has also earned his TD (in Alberta) and his UTD (in Ontario). Jet’s son Ben is working on his TD now too.
Spiritdance is my CKC registered kennel name. Spiritdance Tracking started in 1995 when I began to teach lessons and give seminars in Thunder Bay, Ontario, my home town. I’ve continued to give lessons and seminars here in Alberta and through them, have made so many new friends! I’ve also been fortunate to meet IPO and RCMP tracking experts who have generously shared with me over the years, and who have even helped with seminars and lessons.
In Alberta I’ve been busy giving lessons and seminars, including the new and fun “Stinky Feet” Seminar that helps trackers understand the rules and prepare for tests with no surprises.
Coaching – including a word about what it is, and isn’t
I will be completing my professional certification this year with the International Coach Federation (ICF). The ICF is the largest and most respected coaching organization in the World, with stringent requirements for its members. This has contributed to my ability to work with people in tracking. I’ve also been providing leadership and performance coaching to individuals, teams and organizations and love to work with people to help them discover their potential and grow.
The word ‘coach’ is used by so many people now, because of it’s popular connotation connected with sports. It is one of the fasted growing services in the World. As with the world of dog training, it’s good to know that not everyone calling themselves a coach has professional training or certification. I am very proud of the education I’ve obtained through Erickson College, one of the top coaching colleges offering ICF curriculum – located in Vancouver BC.
There is a method used by professional coaches that empowers and enables people to make powerful changes with positive support and encouragement. Coaching is NOT instructing, advising or critiquing. It is about YOU, not about what I the coach thinks, knows or has experienced. When you receive true coaching, you will know the difference. It’s a great investment in yourself and your future.
E-Workbooks and E-Inspiration Books on Tracking
I’ve always been a writer and always been working on ‘a book!’ As Urban Tracking turns 10 in our CKC World, I decided the time has come for a new look at CKC tracking. I am working on four E-Books aimed at experienced trackers. They will focus on
- An Introduction to Urban Tracking and a review of foundation
- A look at what makes it unique, fun and challenging
- Advanced training and test preparation
- Organizing and judging CKC tests
- Tips for teaching tracking, including some ideas about your brand, mission and vision as an instructor, to help you inspire new trackers and keep the sport joyful and alive
- And – a variety of other information that I will draw from coaching, motivation, and my own experiences.
The E-Books will include exercises, worksheets, and practical, concrete tools, tips and ideas
I will use this blog to talk about this project and share ideas as it progresses.
Honouring River – Lindau’s Uncharted Course TDX UTD
I’ve written so much about my sweet River that I can’t imagine what more I can say – then more flows. River was my long-coated German Shepherd. Because I had cancer, she didn’t start to track until age 5, in 2005. We were both late bloomers in a lot of ways and it was in Alberta that we forged a strong partnership and friendship that I know no other dog will ever share with me. She was THAT dog, the one that was there when we have THOSE times in our lives.
At age 11, River came within 50 metres of passing a UTDX as an old girl on a very hot day. In my heart she is a champion. Not because she earned the title, but because she was with me through the ups and downs of learning about urban tracking. River became a seminar demo dog, and up to her last week, she would follow in my footsteps as I laid tracks for Caden and Ben – eating their bait and wagging at their articles. She always felt included and important, and we never stopped tracking together.
Thanks to her steadfast love and support, I learned, and I learned, and I learned. I will be forever grateful to her, and it is to River that this blog, and these E-books are dedicated. It is hard to believe that on May 27, I will have been without her for one year.
Thank you to old friends, new friends, family and future friends for joining me here, and for being part of my journey. Thanks as always to Creator God who gave us dogs to walk beside us, and nature to share together.
For details about my dogs, coaching and clinics please visit http://www.spiritdancelifecoaching.ca and click on the Dogs tab