Since Ben did such a great track yesterday, I decided to have a fun day today and play article games! Articles are so important to tracking that if your dog misses one, it can fail its test. Recently in Ben’s UTDX test the judge complimented Ben for locating his wood article in a busy parking lot with some student garbage sadly strewn in some areas. I have been working with my SAR friend Dan Vas (Canadian Search Dog Association) on articles and give him the credit for Ben’s find.
I love to learn new things from other tracking trainers. And since I am playing around with his SAR methods, I don’t want to over-explain our article games today. You will just have to buy Dan’s book (when he writes it! Sort of like you will have to buy mine too, when I write mine!) What we did today is NOT his game, but it is my amended version just to have some fun.
Yesterday I did a long UTDX training track at my church. Today being Sunday, I was there again. I decided that I would play an article game right there in the parking lot by the seacans. Ben LOVES to play this particular game. Caden was with me for the ride and he has a back injury, so after taking him out for a prayer in the church parking lot, Caden went home to rest and heal.
I then contacted my friend and training partner Judy Wallace and we met at the College to play more. All of the dogs had so much fun. This game has nothing to do with tracking and everything to do with encouraging our dogs to find articles for praise and rewards, making use of the wind or at least observing how they find the scent pool and react to each article. It’s a game shared with me by my SAR friend Dan Vas, so I don’t want to give away too much – but do want to share the credit!
This post simply shares the fun videos and photos of a very fun afternoon. The weather was beautiful but winter is coming, so we made the most of it, with coffee later! When you watch the videos I hope you will see that we encourage the dogs (and sometimes try to help with body language and verbals). But the dogs are working steadily to find each article. The articles have been tossed so there is no “track” the dogs can follow to them and we retrace steps and wander over and over in the same area.
This is the longest video, showing Ben find a series of articles. I am gently trying to reintroduce the down at articles, but mostly happy when he is clear to me that he’s found one! I have all winter to work at this!
Judy and I let every single dog have a turn, including my two oldsters, Tracking Champion Jet, and TD hopeful Ted, both 11 years old.
Ted had by far the greatest moment today. I asked him to find a glove, and had placed three out for him. He was running the “WRONG” way in my nose-challenged opinion, and as I was calling him to head out the right way, he indicated Judy’s glove which was up high on a concrete block – jumping up to pull it down! When I placed his gloves, I thought about putting one up high and decided not too, thinking it would be too hard. I am always saying Ted is brilliant. Proof!
This is a very short video. Gotta love Ted! He acts like a puppy.
Jet also had some fun! She is so savvy. I put out three articles for her. One was hidden in some coiled tubing. She went right to it and threw it over the tubing to show me she had it. The second one was a leather glove which I put up high, in the empty drawer space of an old desk clearly heading to the landfill.
I love this video because she does such a body snap – hitting the brakes, then running to pull that glove out of its hiding spot before I can get there! She is truly amazing and always has been. She is a show-off! The third article was a sock put up on the hitch of a trailer. It took her longer to find this one, so thankfully she had a little challenge – which she loves.
This video is 30 seconds long – that’s how fast she found that leather glove!
Here is Jet with the sock – she hates to lie down now so she found the height was just perfect for indicating it with her chin!
Below are more videos of Ben, Judy’s dogs Riley and Shiloe and Ted. No commentary, just for sheer fun. One of the videos shows Ben’s session at the church this morning. He did better this afternoon at the college and I am sure it is because this is a familiar area. *I am sorry Judy, Lark was too fast, and every photo is blurry.
In both instances however, it is clear that some articles have a great scent pool and others seem to have no scent pool at all. What this tells me is that in an advanced test, a dog would have to be practically on top of the article to successfully indicate it (metal, plastic). Ben is pretty honest so it is not a case of “I don’t like this one” – when he does finally find these, his surprise body snap is really clear, yet he will run over them and past them many times to get to wood, cloth and of course, leather.
Enjoy the videos and as always, have fun with YOUR dogs! If you are interested in lessons, seminars, online classes and lessons or 1:1 coaching please visit my website. Click on the Tracking & Dogs Menu Tab for dog -specific topics. You can also stay in touch with what’s up, or contact me through my Facebook Page “Spiritdance Tracking.”
Each video below is about 30 seconds long.
Ben’s article game at church this morning (4 minutes)
Ted finds a glove – being a stockdog at heart he does a beautiful “‘Way to me” outrun LOL
RILEY AND SHILOE WITH JUDY
Riley runs for the article – 10 seconds – hilarious, he sees the wood but runs for the cloth!
Shiloe retrieves a glove – Shiloe retrieved every article today – wood, plastic and cloth. She is a gem. She’s up there in age too, and a solid, steady tracker who loves this game.
“That’s it!” says Ben. “Treats in the car and let’s blow this popstand!” Ben’s happy face tells you how much he enjoyed this. Every day does not have to be a tracking day to be productive and build skills. But every day should be FUN and always be sure to enjoy each moment, and be in the moment, with your dogs.
That’ll do Ben.