Ted, the Accidental Tracker

Ted, Ted, Ted.He’s never had any formal training as a tracking dog. Over the years, I have meant to train him but was busy, and he was meant to be a stockdog. But life takes funny twists and turns. Here I am with only a UTDX to finish on Ted’s son Ben. While Ben’s tracks age, I thought I may as well see if Ted might be a candidate for TD. Today, he surprised me! I may even try for UTD as long as 11 year old Ted stays healthy and agile. He is in great shape, so who knows! He did a sort of ‘freestyle’ track but my goal was just to see where we are at. I loved watching him over the course of the track. Good boy!

ted-400-m-oct-22Today I laid this 400 m UTD style track on a college lawn (very short grass) . The wind was blowing fairly steady from the left so Ted had a tailwind to start, and two legs with good cross winds. It did not take him long to find some confidence and fix his own problems. The track was aged 30 minutes exactly as I wanted a ‘baseline’ track for a training plan for Ted. In video 3 below, the parking lot turn is at a cut in the curb. I let him off lead here, but he comes to that cut and does a body snap to it! Very cool to watch him.

VIDEOS – If you really want a flavour of how he pulls it together, please watch Part 2. Part 1 is really rough except for the end turn and article. In Part 3 he does a wonderful start and turn, but I let him run offlead in the parking lot!

Each of these videos is about 2 minutes long. My goal was to guage where we are at and what kind of training plan he needs over the winter. He sure surprised me! I did a “little” manipulation of the line or my body language here and there but over this track you can see him build up confidence!

Part 1 (click here) 
I am very close to start, but over the 2 minutes or so, he begins to get out ahead. I love the end where I stay neutral and he picks up his turn then finds a cloth glove! His legs were – start: tailwind, leg 2: xwind, leg 3: tailwind.

Part 2 (click here)
Nails his turn, then a long cross wind leg where he overshoots the next turn but fixes it to head into the wind on leg 4, a bit of quartering into the wind, then a very nice decisive turn left to leg 5 and a light switch plate! He passes it (what’s that? he said) but when I tell him it is special he easily agrees. After this article we stopped and played fetch with his boomerang squeaky.

After reaching this light switch and showing interest in it, I pitched a toy for Ted before carrying on

Part 3 (click here) 
By this point, Ted takes over very confidently. I am feeling blown away. He overshoots near a tree in the cross wind, but fixes it himself. I had planned to let the line go in the parking lot because he LOVES to do wide outruns and find gloves! It is his joy. I’ve left gloves for him for many years to find for fun.

In the past, I have started Ted in spurts.When he was a young, started stockdog he seemed to detest tracking and even refused to budge once when he was in harness – he literally lay down in a field and glared at me. I think he saw himself as a sheep dog only. I was so busy with River and Jet in UTDX, and Caden as a young started tracking dog, that I said, “OK Ted, you win!” This was after I tried him in a TD test to miserable fails (sigh).

The pictures below show Ted doing what he loves, and was trained to do. Ted is Ben’s sire and a son of Scott Glen’s Pleat. His mama was a cattle farm Border Collie in Big Valley. I got Ted at age two as a “started dog” from Scott Glen back when I lived in Thunder Bay and had a small hobby farm with my own sheep.

After moving to Alberta, it was hard to stay in shape without regular practice. However despite that, Ted and I managed a 3rd place in one of our only Novice Trials (Wildrose STD). I try not to feel bad about the turn of events taking us away from sheep herding because there was nothing I could really do about it, and the dogs have been very happy – and they don’t dwell on these things. Tracking has been our focus.

Ted at a Calvin Jones (Wales) clinic
Wildrose Stockdog Trial – 3rd place Novice Run
Ted at Lee Lumb’s in BC
Ted at Leanne Huber’s in Airdrie, practicing

A year ago I made a brief attempt to start Ted in tracking (again). However, working on Ben’s and Caden’s tracking at the time left little time for poor Ted! He did well then too, but we ended up moving to Medicine Hat in January and that put an end to Project Ted at the time. I am really happy to start training him – again! And this time, I have the time to stick with it. Good boy Ted, that’ll do!

Today, he showed me that he is capable of pulling it together on a TD track. Good heavens, I think I will aim for UTD! I may have father and son in tests next year. While I age UTDX tracks for Ben I decided I’d train Ted for a TD next year. This track was to see where we are at and what i need to do. Hmmmm. Maybe, just let Ted be Ted and have fun.

Ted in Red Deer when I was planning to start him, but ended up moving to Medicine Hat!

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