There are so many ways to start tracking and each one has people who will argue for and against it until they’re blue in the face.
As for me, I’m experimenting.
Phelan, my first trial dog, taught me a lot about tracking. A lot which I’ve passed on to students and club members helping not only Phelan V at the championship level multiple times but also those whom we’ve shared what we’ve learned.
Now, it’s time to learn again.
A couple complaints I’ve had with Phelans work are being addressed with Liliths work, his daughter.
I started her with more freedom, more independence and self correcting problemsolving. Her first handful of tracks were trenchline circle tracks. The tracks became less trench, more steps, and evolved from full circles to incompletes into serpentines.
Noteworthy: She’s a self motivated tracker but after her fathers hierarchy of hunt over food I decided to play a bit with Lilith foundations. I know hunt over food should be ideal. In this particular case the hunt was stimulating, overly so, and fast tracking [although entirely within the rules] lends itself to mistakes, and mistakes cost points.
For Lilith I have decided to truly bury her food in the foundation work, something entirely not unique for many IPO handlers but worthy of note in this work. I want to see a deep nose that is deciphering broken ground from static ground, I want to see a paw assisting the nose and a bit of a fight to find that food.
My handing is a recent addition and ideally not long term, I’m helping her understand that stepping backwards is a better use of energy and easier to maintain the track focus than turning around when you are unsure.
Wish us luck, I’m taking a slightly different track (ha!) with Icarus (once his toe heals 😭) due to some natural traits we see and that means this will be such a cool experience.