Nemo and I went tracking today despite temperatures in the 30's, a drenching, cold rain, and the threat of snow. Yeah, I think I really am the crazy dog lady…
What IS tracking, you ask? Tracking is a competitive form of search and rescue. We're not really rescuing anything, except a glove, when tracking though. In tracking, the dog uses his nose to follow a scent (or "track") that has been laid by a person. On the track are objects (usually the aforementioned glove). The dog's job is to follow the scent of the person who laid the track, which of course leads to the object (the glove).
Competitive tracks are hundreds of yards long, involve several turns and curves, and might involve several types of surfaces (grass, weeds, woods, pavement, cement, etc.). In tracking, the most important thing to remember is this:
THE DOG IS IN CHARGE. (Unlike every other competitive dog sport, in which the human is in charge.)
Dogs have noses a zillion times more powerful than ours. We can't smell the track. We don't know where the track is. We have to trust our dogs. How cool is that?
So after a couple hours inside a warm, dry building learning about the fundamentals of tracking, we donned our rain gear and went out into the cold rain.We're only beginners, so we started with very short tracks. It was a fun time, albeit cold and wet. Nemo was shivering by the time it was all over – I turned the heat on high and covered him with my down coat so he could warm up.
Here's a quick video of our soggy, but fun tracking morning…