(Please visit Dino's on-going blog at: http://dinostraining.blogspot.com/)

(Please visit Dino's on-going blog at: http://dinostraining.blogspot.com/)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 14, 2009

I spent a few days in Lake County during the week, and while I was there I went on a horseback ride with a few friends I was with, including the horse owner.

After the ride, I got the scent of the horse I was riding and had Dino follow the track a couple of days later. I know Dino had not tracked a horse before, so I wanted to give him that experience. This track was also unique. From the barn we went up one road, and then another and then back along the same two roads, so I wanted to give Dino the experience of following the same scent up and back along the same road. He had no problem at all and got all the turns and followed the correct roads.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

San Francisco, Kathy had run Riley on a course about three days prior down Ortega to Sunset, right on Lincoln and then right on 24th back up to her house.

The weather was raining, cold and miserable. I brought Dot along for the experience so she can start to pick up on the words and the track. I scented her several times with the article inside the back, and she was very interested in the smell and was giving it a good wiff each time.

Dino did great on most of the track. He had a problem on a couple of turns, which was surprising since they were simple turns. I wasn't sure what was happening. When I restarted him a couple of times from that spot, he was great. Maybe it was the rain, but we had trained in the rain several times before. It was a very long track, and it was the end of the day. I probably should have ended it sooner than I did. I kind of got lost on 24th. I couldn't see where we were at because my glasses were all wet and the raincoat hood hung low.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday and Monday, April 2009

Castro Valley - Long track I had to run Dino through in two separate occasions because I didn't have time to do entire track at once. Total urban tracking through neighborhoods and busy streets.

First half of track was after five days, and he did great. Got all the turns and switchbacks with no problem.

Second half of track was after one week. Did great. Got all the turns and switchbacks. The only problem he had was eating stuff on the ground, which I corrected him for.

I was very happy, especially the second half. The was the oldest track in our practice, and he did great!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

San Carlos - My sister, Lorrie, and their dog, Rocki, walked a track for me the previous night. I got to San Carlos to pick up my mail and run the track around 10 PM. It was still very warm and breezy.

I told my sister to do some cross tracks and did she ever! This had not only a several cross tracks.

Dino figured out all the cross tracks in the correct direction and did the whole figure eight loops. He also got the track going up a set of concrete stairs after thoroughly checking the driveways on both sides. Plus this was done at night. Little street lighting and little traffic, though in the day time there is mild traffic. This is hillside suburban streets.

I was very happy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I set up a nice figure eight loop to do Dino's first cross track. I set it up inside a parking lot of a small shopping center. The lot was big enough for me to park at one end and then loop across the street to another center and then come back toward the current lot while passing over a couple of busy blvds, also which I had not done before.

Dino totally nailed the track without a flinch on the cross track, which I was surprised. He crossed both blvds dead on. The track was less than 24 hours.

The problem I did have, which I was not totally surprised about is that it was about 70 degrees and in the middle of the day. In the past he has run toward the nearest shade, but this time I was prepared. It was not that hot, and he still has to work even if he a little uncomfortable. He went toward some shade spots in the beginning, but I had to be firm with him. I firmly told him "Wrong" which he hates. I firmly told him "get to work" and "search." He went out of the shade and continued on the track. He did that a couple more times, and each time I did the same thing. He clearly knew where the track was. He followed it to the "T" all the way through. He did attempt to go into the shade a couple more times, and I did the same thing.

I intentionally kept the track short just to work on the cross track and working in heat. He got lots of play and treats at the end. I hope I made it worthwhile to him. I have to do more of that.

Approximately April 13, 2009

I rewalked the Castro Valley hill track again with Scout and then, 48 hours later, I ran the track again with Dino. Again, he was hesitant in the beginning, but this time we ran the track in early evening, so he may have remembered the last track, because heat was not a problem. Eventually he got into the track and he got all the turns and switches. He did have a problem when we got to the top of the track where there was access to an open space area, but I think this was based on seeing two other dogs in there and wanting to go play with them. I did correct him with "wrong" and eventually we got back to the track.

He followed it down the hill and got the switch across the street to the one way road. He got the cross over to Rolando, but he missed the first time of the cross across the street. I think he was distracted by some kids he saw ahead of him, but once I brought him back and I was more firm with him to "get to work" he got the street crossing.

On one corner near the end he missed the left turn and crossed the street, but he then did indicate loss of scent and we check all the corners and eventually got back on track. He followed it all the way down the hill and made the cross across the street. I ended the track just after that cross since the track had been long. We played with the rawhide and he got treats.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Castro Valley - Well, we went to do the track in CV, but we were not able to get out there until after 1 PM, and by then it was pretty warm. Since I had to leave that afternoon to go to Sloughhouse to shoot a dog show that weekend, I had only this time to do the track before leaving.

We started the track and within two blocks Dino was running into the shade and not wanting to work. Since he had never ever done that before, I realized something was definitely wrong. I remembered that most, if not all, of our training has been late afternoon or evening, by the time I can get out there. He had always done really well during those time. I remembered, also, all the time we worked in the rain, and he was great and having a good time. His coat is thick and wavy, but I had not realized how difficult the heat was for him to work in.

I will remember to arrange cases in early AM or late afternoon and evening when it is cooler. Since that was a good track, I will go back and lay it again with Scout soon. I would love to test him on that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

San Carlos. Went to San Carlos to teach Lorrie how to lay a track with Rocki. Weather was very windy and cold.

We went down Cordilleras, up Alma, left on Alameda, left on Lupin and then back to Belle next to St. Charles.

Track aged by a couple of hours. I went to pick up groceries and came back. It was dark and cold and windy. Dino overshot the Alma turn but caught the mistake and came back and went up Alma. Made the turn onto Alameda. Went along Alameda. Had a bit of a problem on the street before Lupin, but after a few minutes he got the direction. He overshot slightly the turn onto Lupin, but then got it corrected. Went along Lupin and made the cross to Belle. Had a bit of a problem back onto Cordelleras, but eventually he got it and made it back to the house where the scent article was waiting for him.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

San Francisco - Kathy had laid a trail the day before that started at Allison's ballet studio on Vicente. She emailed me that directions that night.

Dino did great. He was very focus along the way. He was a bit distracted by the beach, but we got back to the track. We went up Taravel to Sunset without a hitch even with all those distractions and Muni cars and traffic. We went along Sunset Blvd to Yorba and then made the turn to cross back to Vicente.

Weather was clear and cold. We got back to the car by dark

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009


The previous afternoon I received an email flyer from Lost and Pound regarding a lost cat in San Francisco. I had signed up to receive notices that get posted within the Bay Area. I sent the owner an email and told him about Dino and that I would come out for no charge to his area and help him look for his cat.

I got a phone call from him in a couple of hours and he said he was interested in me coming out with Dino to do a search. I said I could come out by 10 AM on Friday. I told him to put up as many flyers in his neighborhood around his block as possible and to have more flyer available for him to take with us as we walked around.

When I got there I saw the neighborhood. The front and the back are two totally different environments. The front was all concrete and very little vegetation. Very high vehicle traffic and high pedestrian traffic. The front doors opened directly out onto the sidewalks. The backyard was a mini jungle with high weeds and trees and lots of vegetation. The back fence was falling down. The two side fences were high and solid. We checked the backyard and garage for any cats or scent, but nothing. We went out to the front and I gave Dino scent from two spots in the apartment where, according to the person, Jamal, only Choco lays.

For over the next two and a half hours we walked all over the neighborhood that was very similar to Jamal's front. Only sidewalks, no or very little vegetation, high pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Also, all the buildings are right up next to each other with no spaces for cats to crawl into. Absolutely no crawl spaces under the buildings. Everything is closed up. We maybe saw two tiny holes where cats could get into and maybe two small spaces between buildings in the area of four to five blocks. There was a community garden that we walked through that had several hiding spots, but basically even that was open and kept clean and clear. Even the small green house was clean with an open door.

We walked up to GG Park, but even there was high pedestrian traffic with cleared out brush and bulldozer traffic. There were a couple of open homeless pads that Dino seemed interested in. In the entire area, there were no cats, no squirrels, and barely even a bird. Everybody we talked to had not seen a cat in the neighborhood. If there was a cat anywhere there, they would be in the backyards where they could travel safely from yard to yard.

On Sunday morning, I got a call from Jamal that Choco had been spotted by the tenant below him that lives behind the garage. He had seen the cat as it was traveling into or out of the garage which leads to the backyard. Jamal said he had noticed food was being eaten from the bowl of food he had left out just outside his back kitchen door on the second story. He also noticed cat paw prints in the garage in one of the storage areas. That would be almost one week that decides to come back to figures a way back. I said to get a trap just in case, but first try to put the food just inside the back door and see if she will run in. If she doesn't, then get a trap and see if that would work.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Castro Valley, Ca - This track was 48 hours old. Time was around 7 PM. Clear and cold. No rain over the last couple of days. Sunny and warm during those days. Neighborhood is suburban with 80% sidewalks, medium car and light foot traffic. Some small mom/pop stores along the way. Some churches on blvd. No map.

I have been practicing letting him go along a way even if I know he is going in the wrong direction. I want him to figure out when he is along the same way. A couple of times he went the wrong way, and I let him go about a half a block, and he was still full tilt that the scent was there even after checking him a couple of times. I found this odd. I figured that either the scent was there and had blown, or he was following the Cocker Spaniel that had just walked before us. Either way, after half a block down, I stopped him and said "Wrong" which he is very sensitive too. I have been reading a VST training book and the current section is about "magic words" to give along the track to ask or guide the dog. I am working on getting those words that are meaningful to him. After a couple of minutes of standing there and figuring out what to do, he turned and walked behind me and went back to the corner where we turned and continued down the correct way. I think it was the Cocker Spaniel that he was keying in on, and I have also noticed that in the beginning of tracks, he is more distracted. He definitely becomes more focused as we move along the track.

After that first time, he got all the turns and street crossings dead on! I was thrilled. Another thing tried was to gently guide him to a stop at various parts of the track to have him confirm if he is on the right track and going in the right direction. The VST book says to ask something at this point for either to confirm they are in the right direction and give a sign like pushing harder in the harness. I thought about saying something like "Tell Me" to let him know I am asking him if he is sure about his direction. Another "magic word" would be if you know/think he has overshot the turn because he indicating loss of scent, and to tell him to go back to the last place he knows where the scent is. I thought of "go back." I haven't tried that yet, but that would also come in handy.

On some of the intersections, even if I thought he was going in the right direction, I would have him "check" the other corners to practice the indication of no scent and then have him go back to the place where he had it. On each of the intersections he went back to the correct direction.

He was pretty strong on the last leg, but there was grass and weeds and a dirt trail all along and he seemed pretty firm on that.

As we approached the article at the end, he was pulling me toward it even though it was hidden behind a set of stairs. He got his treat bag and rawhide bone.

I was pretty happy with that track, except for the beginning, but there seems to be a routine of the beginning, so I know now more to keep asking him and questioning him more in the beginning until I see he is more focused.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Today was a pretty good day. I met Mary Fisher from the Finding Paws Yahoo group in Palo Alto on the Standord campus. She brought her female Tibetan Mastiff, Chein Mo. I had never been the Standord before and Mary was regular there for many years. In addition to laying a track for Dino, I also got a brief tour and background of the campus.

I was surprised that dogs were even allowed on the campus, since so many colleges don't allow dogs on the campus. In addition to Chein Mo, there were two off leash border collies with their owner.

So, we started at the top of The Oval and then went straight into the campus. We wove all around the campus in and out and in front of buildings and grassy areas. It took us about 45 minutes to walk it.

I have started to do something different to wean myself off looking at and relying on maps. Actually I started this the night before when I did a track with Dino through a neighborhood in Hayward. I had the map when I made the track just in case I needed, and I brought it with me, but I never used it the whole track. Some of the turns I remembered. Many I did not. Some of the landmarks, like particular houses and fences I remembered and then I could tell we were on track, but many I did not. I wanted to start doing this to get myself into the blink track mode, rather than just suddenly jumping into it one day.

I felt that I had provided enough training to Dino at this point to start to see what would happen if I put more responsibility on him and the training I have provided. It was pretty scary to me, and I think pretty scary to Dino. I know that he knows that I am the one setting the trails, and that I have the map. I acted like I didn't know the way or have the map. Sometimes I would follow him down a street for a short distance when I knew the track wasn't there because I wanted to see how it would take for him to indicate he was out of scent. I wanted him to start to tell me he was out of scent rather than just wandering down the street and waiting for me to tell him. Plus, I have noticed that sometimes it does take him a bit longer to get the down the street to tell me there isn't any scent if the scent has blow down that way from the track. So, we have been practicing all these different things.

So, back to the Stanford track, we started the track at 4:30 PM and got finished after 5 PM. We stood at our cars talking to each other for about another half hour. I got scent from Chen Mo and put them into plastic bags and gave Mary three more sets for her other dogs. I then put out one of the scent articles with treats at the end in one of the bushes.

By the time I got Dino in his harness and up into the campus away from the start/finish it was after 5:30 PM. The crowds were starting to thin out compared to when we set the track an hour earlier. He did very well and followed the track for most of the way. I thought it was a very difficult track, though the age was only a couple of hours old. There are a lot of people and a lot of buildings and a lot of bicyclists. Also, there are a lot of squirrels all over the campus. Those and cats are two of Dino's major distractions. He would literally stand still and stare straight up into the palm trees looking at the squirrels. He actually got a couple of people to look up into the trees when they saw him standing still and looking up. I was pretty embarrassed. I had to tell them that he was looking for squirrels 50 feet straight up.

Three different times he had a hard time finding the track, and I am not surprised. These spots had especially high traffic and spots that go off into four, five or six different directions. What we did was to just repeat the areas over and over and over until he made the decision that one direction was better than another (Like going to the eye doctor and they say, "Better one or better two.) Once he found the spot, his attitude went from playing and having a good time to "hunkering down and working." Tail down, nose to the ground and following the scent. During these times I didn't interfere by taking him off and testing other directions. I let him get into working the track and not disturb him. I know he had to really work on this track because of all the distractions of the very friendly people, squirrels, food all over the ground, water fountains and lots of good scents other than what he was supposed to be following.

One thing I didn't like was that I had to tell him many times to "get to work" because he was very distracted many times and sniffing here at all kinds bushes and I know he is not following the scent. I am sure that had a lot to do with the environment.

As we moved along in the track, I found him more and more focused and less distracted. He was able to correct himself and get himself back onto the track without much coaxing or direction from me. I have noticed that changing more and getting better.

About half way through the track we took a break, drank some water and had a snake. He definitely was rejuvenated after that and ready to keep going.

The second half was going really well. I would see what he would do if I gently stopped him to have him check what direction and if he was going in the right direction. He is getting used to that, but I know sometimes he thinks I am stopping him to change directions. If he continues to pull in his harness I let him go, if he changes direction, I let him do that. Sometimes he was going in the right direction and we go back to that. It is all a lot of practice, practice, practice in various situations.

We made it almost all the way through the second half, which was tough because we went right through some of the busiest, student centered parts of the campus. LOTS of traffic.

Right near the end, we were on the track and we came out from the middle of the building. We were on the top of a set of stairs that went in front of us, and to the right and then a hallway to the left. Dino immediately took the right stairs and I followed him. We were walking down the walkway. I thought we were in the right direction, but then Dino veered off to the left. Since I was 100% positive where we were I followed him. I knew were near the end somewhere but there were multiple buildings all around us and I couldn't figure out which was the correct building. I had Dino check all the different spots, stairs, hallways and then we headed back up again in the direction I thought we already were. I followed Dino and then we were back in front of the bookstore again. I let Dino find the track again that led away from the bookstore and then he stopped. He didn't take the way again like he took the first time. He definitely was confused where to go. I had him check various directions, and then he headed down toward another building. I let him go that way. We went back to another area where we were that led us out to the stairs again, the same spot. This time we went forward down the stairs into another building. Still nothing. I had Dino check all kinds of areas all around and he indicated nothing. So, we went back to the stairs again. It was getting pretty late (after 9 PM) and there were less and less people around and I couldn't figure out the way out. But I knew it was somewhere and I had a dog that could track, so I figured we would keep looking. We went back to the stairs and had Dino check the directions. He did seem to indicate the right side again but less enthusiastically, so I decided to go that way again. This time he headed straight down the path, with his nose to the ground and then we found our way out to the main street. So we were pretty close by, just about 50 feet from the end. But, since it was dark, there was not way to tell or recognize where we were. That way, I did have to rely on Dino's nose, which got us out.

He found the treats, but the scent pad had been removed. He got all the treats in the bag and then played with the rawhide toy. It was almost 9:30 by the time we got back to the car and I let Scout and Dot out to run around.

That was a very good track and very challenging. I never followed a map and most of the time I didn't know if we were on the track until I recognized a building or fountain. Other than that it was hard to know. I really had to rely on Dino's skills and see where he was at. I was very happy with what he did.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March 2, 2009

Yesterday Dino did his oldest track at 42 hours. I was totally thrilled, and he was 95% dead on the track. We are still working on corners and teaching him to indicate to me what direction the track goes at each corner. Donna has taught me to anchor him at a corner and have him check which direction. I give him a few seconds at each corner to determine which direction. Then he can either do in that direction or I have been teaching him to stand, bark and face in the direction of the scent. We then go in that direction.

I have also noticed that he will go down the street in the direction of the scent, but sometimes he is on the other side of where we walked. This is fine because after that amount of time the scent can easily be on that side also. I have been trying to show him that sometimes the scent can be stronger in some areas than others. I am trying to show him that means that is the actual spot the animal walked rather than where the scent just blew to.

If he wants to go in a direction, whether it is the right direction, I let him check it out so he can follow through with what he might be smelling and learn that. I think he seems to noticing that the scent can be in a variety of forms, especially as the scent gets older and older.

I know that at the age of 42 hours, the scent can be all over the street and be in different forms. I want to teach Dino how this looks to him and how to determine the direction of the animal with all this going on.

I set another track last night in another neighborhood with a lot of corners and high vehicle and foot traffic.

Friday, February 27, 2009

February 27, 2009

I have not been able to post for several days.

I met with Donna and Ben on Monday in Pinole for a training session and to have his dog, Bodie, tested. He is a really nice dog. A nice herding mix. I brought Mercury and all three dogs, Dino, Annubis and Bodie did a training with him in the park.

We set a track with Annubis at the beginning and then, at the end, we ran Dino through it. We have been working on corners and I have been teaching him about positive and negative indications. I have taught him to come and sit in front of me for a negative and to stand and bark facing the direction of the scent.

Donna said that I need to anchor Dino at the corner and have Dino check the direction of the wind and then show me what direction by facing in that direction, giving me his indication and then heading in that direction.

At the end, I ran Dot through a track with Dino's scent and cat food. I walked Dino through three tracks and then put him back into the truck. Then went back to put down the cat food on that scent. I then brought Dot out to run the tracks. She was pretty into it. I am doing her on a straight as the first track, and then doing curves in the last two.

Yesterday morning I ran Dino through a 38 hour old track that I had put down with Dot in a neighborhood in SL. It was straightaways and corners. I anchored him at each corner and had him tell me what direction, had him stand and bark. He even gave me negative indications on some spots that he found didn't have scent.

On one corner, he was sure the scent was in a specific area. I let him go because, actually the scent was across the street so he could have been picking up some scent. He went about two houses and then backtracked and started looking again. He picked it up across the street and went in the right direction. I guess I do need to let him work those things through. I can let him go down the direction he feels firmly about and then let him figure it out. Who knows? He could be smelling the scent, and then it diminishes and disappears and then he figures it out. This will get better with more experience.

Last night I laid another track with Scout in another neighborhood in SL. Some straightaways and lots of corners. I will get it to another 38 hours and work Dino on that for a few tracks. We should have another training on this Monday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feburary 20, 2009

Wow! I have not been able to post anything for several days because I have been working Dino on tracks everyday and I wanted to spend the time to do those tracks instead of writing in his blog. I knew I would be able to catch up.

He has been doing great. We have been working all VST urban tracking in neighborhood in this area. We have been working on corners and we have been learning the negative and positive responses. He has had the negative response, but we have added the positive response.

It has been raining like crazy for several days, so we have been getting some great experience tracking in pouring rain. I don't think we have done that at all, this is has been good (except for getting soaked!)

We started doing tracks six to eight hours old and focusing on corners and practicing when scent is there and when it is not. For a positive response I have been teaching Dino to "stand" and then "bark." I wanted to do something that is totally different than his negative response, which is coming in front of me and sitting.

Last night we did a track that was about 26 hours old, which is his longest. He did great on the scent following, however, we had some issues how doing the negative and positive signals. This is one of the things I am going to change, which I figured out by this morning. I think he has become so focus on getting the treat, that he is forgetting about what he is supposed to be doing. I have seen this before when I trained Scout. She started to do that, so I know it is not unusual. What I have decided to do is to fade out the food reward for the negative response and just acknowledge and verbally praise. I will continue the food reward for the positive response since he is still learning that. I am still teaching him that and rewarding him to teach him the response of the stand and a bark.

I kind of figured this out when I got kind of frustrated with his non-response to a negative. He was just standing there doing nothing even though I repeated that corner several times. I started to walk back to the car and I felt like "No, this is what he wants. To get out of this and not have to do this." So I took him further back on the track before the corner and this time he got the turn across the street all on his own. I thought, "He does know where it is, but for some reason didn't take it." I thought maybe he was intentionally doing a negative to get the treat, though other times he does a turn. I do feel like sometimes he does a negative just to get a treat. So, that is why I am not treating him anymore for a negative. I feel he understands that part since he has been doing it successfully for several months. I will focus on reinforcing the positive response.

I will continue to work on corners over and over until he gets that down. A solid positive and negative will be the key to a search, at least from what I have seen so far when working with Donna.

I also am gradually increasing the age of the track. I am not increasing the distance because I think that is fine at this point. We need to increase the age of the track faster. I have found that is where the challenge is for the dog. It seems to change a lot as the track ages. The distance is not such a challenge because there will be times for breaks and not a lot of tracks will be really, really long. I would rather work on the age of the track and the difficulties those cause along with the variety of the environment.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

I met Donna yesterday at 9 AM in Pinole to working on some practice trails with Dino and Annubis. The previous day, after the lost cat case in Davis, we met in Pinole at this same spot and laid a track for Dino for Monday morning. Donna wanted to see where he was at since she had not seen him track for several months. This would have been the oldest track, but it was a much shorter track. We laid the track at 2 PM and came back at 9 AM. That is 19 hours.

Per Donna, Dino was following the track and he knew where it was but that he was deviating from it to check out other things. I think that stems from me working him on a loose long line for a while to make sure that I was not influencing him. We tightened up the line, and if Dino went off track, I would give him a mild tug on the line and tell him "get to work." He did go back to the track.

He followed the track all the way around and found the cloth. We both made a big deal of that.

Next we met at a spot a few blocks away for Annubis to follow a track that a friend of Donna's laid a few days ago. Prior to meeting me at the spot, Donna laid a blind track for me and Dino to do later after Annubis' track.

Annubis did a great job on his track. He followed it all the way around, even though a the bedding area of a herd of goats.

We went back to the start of the blind track. We were practicing on corners to see what Dino knew about how to handle an intersection.

After the track, we figured on a few things that I need to work with Dino on:

1. A positive indication of scent. He has a negative scent indication.

2. A cue to tell Dino that it is OK to go into the street. I had worked a lot with Dino for stopping at curbs while going for walks. I find him hesitant about going into the street to follow the track.

3. Not allowing him to go off the track to sniff other things while on a trail. Part of this will be helped by me holding the long line tighter. Not tight enough to direct him, but enough to keep him working if he starts to stray.

4. Practice working on corners and working on a positive and negative indication. Practicing on how to handle an intersection and work all the corners to determine where there is scent and where there isn't scent.

5. Work more on older tracks in regards to hours and shorter more simple tracks than what we have been doing.

6. Set up scent articles at the end or along the way for him to find an indicate. Put the cloth article with treats inside. This should also help to refocus his attention to the track and finding things along the way.

7. Make an indication to doing a scent-specific track and an area search. Maybe using a different word or Donna suggested using a bell on either Dino or myself.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Well, since the last post I moved out of Junction City and back to the Bay Area. I did spend a couple of days in Redding after getting over the mountains with my trailer trying to figure out my next move. I figured to go back to the Bay Area, and I found a mobile home/RV park in San Leandro where I have been parked for almost a couple of weeks.

I did a good 4.5 hour track with Dino on Saturday night, and I still need to post that. However, I wanted to post about what happened today in Davis.

Donna had a call for a lost cat in Davis in an area with a bunch of apartment complexes all around. I got there about an hour late due to a misunderstanding on my part on the time. Donna already had Annubis follow a trail around the area and through some of the neighborhoods. I got there and they were on their way back. Donna had me bring out Dino, put on his harness and see what he could come up with along with Annubis as we did a perimeter search of the apartment buildings. Dino went right to the "bag of scent toys" and started looking around. He found the owner's apartment door with the traps and toys. He was very excited. We then started walking around the complex with Annubis and Donna in the lead. We walked around the pool and around the buildings. I was behind Annubis and Donna as we checked the different bushes and hedges when Donna said "Get back. The cat is right there." She ran back towards me to get the dogs out of the way. The cat ran out of the bushes/shed and the owner went to pick her up. She carried her back with tears running down her face. It was incredible. Donna had me bring Dino to the area to have him indicate the area where the cat was. Dino went right for it and then came back and jumped on me, which is what he should do for a cat.

I think I am going to change the "down" indication for the dog I have been using to have him use the same indication for both dogs and cats when he finds the source. He does it naturally and with a lot of enthusiasm. I don't think he really cares if it is a dog or cat or whatever. What is important is that he found the source.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 19, 2009

From: Donna Holsten Donna@findingpaws.com
To: Jackie Phillips
Sent: Mon, 19 Jan 2009 4:55 pm
Subject: Re: Dino's First Three Hour Old Track

OK, this is why it's the "calculus method." :-) When I was taking calculus, I got low marks on every test, because I just "didn't get it." But when we moved on to the next subject, the previous one became *totally* clear. So... In trailing, you can use that theory by pushing the dog in one area until it just starts getting confused, and then back down to a comfort point. Then, stretch a different area, until the dog just starts getting confused, back down slightly, and stretch something else. For example, if, right now, he's able to do 3-block, 2-turn trails, with no problem, then every time you go out, add 30 minutes "age" to the trail, until he starts to get confused. That might take you up to 8-hour old trails within a few weeks. Then, if he's getting confused at 8-hour old trails, back down to 6-hour old trails, and stay there. Increase the length of the trail, by no more than 10% at a time--however far you can go, before you notice him getting bored, and you start having a really hard time keeping (or retrieving) his attention. Then, back down. So, now, you're at, say, 6-hour old, 3/4 mile trails, with 2-turns. Now add on turns. Then, add on surface complexity. Keep going, until you've maxed out all the variables. Then, go back to the beginning, and work on age again. He'll zoom right up with the age, and what *was* tough (8-hour old trails) will now be old-hat, because he's been at 6-hours for *so*! long, that he'll be ready to zoom up to 16-hours in no time.Anyway, there are tons of ways to train, but that's how I'm doing it with Anubis. We're still on "short distance, low complexity" trails, because his "trail age" seems to be going with no stopping point...D.

Friday, January 23, 2009

January 19, 2009

Weaverville. Main Street. Clear and cold. Started walking Dot at about 12 noon. Roads are paved with heavy foot and vehicle traffic.

I parked down at the far end of town near the propane store. I walked Dot up the frontage road, behind the Round Table and continued up the street. We tried to stay on the concrete sidewalks that line the buildings going up. These are small mom/pop shops with a lot of foot and vehicle traffic. We crossed the next side street and walked over the grassy area and made a right alongside the car wash. We crossed in front of the car wash and continued up the sidewalk of the small stores. Once we got to the Ace hardware, we made a right turn and went diagonally through the paved parking lot out to the Main Street. We continued up Main Street, across a creek and past several more small shops. There was some vegetation, dirt along the way. Once we got to the next cross walk across Main Street, we made the right turn and then made another right and headed back down Main Street on the other side. We continued down the street, basically staying on the concrete sidewalk. Some of the stores were recessed back from the Main Street, and we tried to go closer to the building when possible, trying to act like a dog that might be wandering down the street.

When we got to the front of where the strip shopping mall starts, we jumping down a four foot tall wall and crossed the vacant dirt lot into the parking lot. We made a left turn alongside the edge of the lot and walked toward the back of the building where all the back doors are along with all the trash and dumpsters were. There was another dog coming toward us off leash, so I had to walk Dot off to the right a bit, but otherwise I was trying to go straight down without going close to the dumpsters along the sides of the buildings.

We got out to the side street, crossed the sidewalk and then crossed the street and then made a right down the street back toward Main Street. This road had no sidewalk on the left side. We walked down into the dirt parking lot of an abandoned building and then crossed Main Street to where Dino was sitting in my truck. Before leaving, I rubbed a towel all over Dot and rubbed a paper towel over her.

I went back around 4 PM and parked the truck alongside the abandoned building just across the street from where I first parked the truck. I took out the towel and placed it around the corner and in front of the abandoned building. This way Dino would not see the truck as he came down the street at the end and found the towel.

I took Dino out and put on his harness and got his treat bag and rawhide bone. I tried a different type of treat/reward for "no scent." I wanted to see if it made a difference. I fried some hotdogs the day before. I walked Dino across the street and up about 20 feet to where Dot's track starts. I moved off to the side a bit so we weren't directly on the track and showed him the scent pad and said "take scent" and "search." He put his head down and started searching.

He followed the scent up the street and was generally pretty good about following the scent and maintaining interest. However, I did find him to become distracted by the hotdogs. He seemed to be more interested in trying to get the hotdogs than sometimes following the track. I believe I found him veering off the track and intentionally going for a "no scent" area just to get the hotdogs. He was not doing that previously when he was getting just kibble as a treat. In response to this, I tried to do something different. When I saw him veering off to either the left or the right and not using his nose but using his eyes instead I told him "check" to tell him to keep his nose on the ground. I found him lifting his head regularly to try to find the track. When I saw him doing this I told him "check." This continued up the street. He would track for a short distance with his nose to the ground, and then he would lift his head looking for the track. I would say "check" until he put his nose on the ground. I would verbally praise him when he put his nose to the ground. When he lifted his head, I would tell him "check" and then verbally praise him when he put his nose on the ground. I think this practice gave him a better idea of how to find the scent because by the time we were going back down the street, he was much more focused on the scent on the ground and was veering off the track less and less.

We got back all the way to the parking lot of the supermarket and got to the back of the building with all the dumpsters. He was much more focused and following the track. We got out to the street and he found the scent down the street. He was getting excited as we got closer to the towel, and starting to lift his head. I continued to say "check" to keep his nose on the ground. When we got to the towel, he jumped straight up. He got his bag of treats and I threw the rawhide for him for several minutes. It was dark and cold by the time we were done.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Downtown Weaverville and surrounding residential areas. Weather is clear, sunny and cold.

I parked in parking lot next to Nugget Restaurant. I started walking Scout at 1:30 PM. I walked her across the street, up Main Street and made a right turn at the next side street. I tried to keep her leash loose and have her act like a dog walking by herself so my scent would be as far away. Next time I want to use a long line to get further away from the scent dog.

We made a left up the next street. This street was a paved road with no sidewalk or shoulder. Houses and open property all along both sides. At the back parking lot of one of the stores we made a left into the lot and walked along the left side of the lot and down a driveway to Main Street. Here we made a right onto Main Street. We walked about ½ block and then crossed Highway three and made a right up Highway Three. At the next block we made a left up a side street. Paved road with dirt sidewalks. Residences all along both sides. Halfway down the street we crossed over to the other side and continued down to the end. We crossed the street with the Court House in front of us. We made a right onto the sidewalk and walked up the street along the left side of the street. We continued all along this street which was a paved road with no sidewalks, just dirt. Residences all along both sides. Some to these houses had dogs in their fenced yards that barked at Scout as we walked by.

Halfway down the street we crossed over to the right side of the street. We walked about another half block and then crossed over again to the left side and went down another side street with the local hospital on the right side. In front of the hospital we made a left turn down a side street. Save paved road with only dirt shoulders. This street had a light creek running along side the right side. One house on the left side had a mule and a horse in their yards.

We continued all the way down on the right side and about one building before Main Street, we crossed over again to the left side with the Court House on our left. We made a left at the building and walked down to the end of the block. Here we made a right across Main Street to the other side and made a left down Main Street’s busy tourist area with all little mom and pop shops and museums. Half way we made a right into the parking lot of a bank and then made a U turn and came back out. We made a right turn and continued down Main Street. We walked all the way down a couple of more blocks and then made a right turn into a parking lot and then walked down the lot and came out the other side onto another side street and made a right. This is a paved road with dirt shoulders. We walked down this road and into a small bus stop and then back out. We made a right again and kept going the same direction. We walked halfway down the parking lot and made a left turn and then a right at the edge of the lot. We walked down a dirt embankment and then back up to another paved road and made a left back in the direction of the car. I put Scout back into the car and then went to a coffee shop to do work.

I had intended to start Dino at the two hour mark, but I got delayed and we didn’t start until the three hour mark. I was pretty nervous because this would be the longest track and the oldest track he had done.

I started Dino out a bit further up Main Street then where I started Scout so that Dino would come across her scent. I told him “take scent” and “search” about 30 feet before where her track started. I did see him looking over at the truck across the street before he found her track. Once he found her track, though, he kept his head down.

He got the right turn onto the side street off Main and then got the left turn up the next side street. He had his nose to the ground along this road. I tried something to practice on the “no scent” indication and told him “check” on a driveway across the street. He went up and checked around and then came back and sat in front of me. I clicked and treated.

We continued up the street and he got the left turn into the parking lot behind the bank. He veered off to the right to check the rear door of the bank and then came and sat in front of me. I clicked and treated. He continued on the track up the driveway and then made a left instead of a right onto Main street. He went about 15 feet and then came back and sat in front of Me. Click and treat. I told him search and he got the track up Main street. At the next corner, he check right and then left and came back and sat in front of me. Click and treat. I told him “search” and he got the straight across the street. I think he is kind of hesitant about going across street because I have always had him sit at curbs before going across a street for safety. He is cautious before he crosses a street, and since I will always be with him on a track, I figure I can work around that.

He crossed the street and went straight. He came back and sat in front of me, and then when I told him “search” he insisted upon going that way again. He did that a couple of more times. I did not click and treat each time, instead of told him firmly “search.” After a couple of minutes he got the right turn up Highway three and kept going.

He got the left turn up the next street and crossed the street to the appropriate side. He continued down the street, but missed the next cross over. I let him run out of scent and he came back and sat in front of me. Just treat to start to wean him off the click. I told him “check” and “search” and he found the cross over. We went up the street and he crossed over, but kept going straight into the parking lot of the court house. He stopped on his own and came back but didn’t sit in front of me. He made the correct right turn and went up the street, past a couple of barking dogs in their yards. He continued up the street and got the cross over halfway up the street.

One more block up he suddenly veered off to the right and went into a vacant lot where there were two big dogs barking behind a large fence. I let him go to see what he would do. He became very interested in some of the garbage laying around and I gave him a firm “ACHK” and “get to work”. For some reason he like that yard and looking again. He got another “ACHK” and “get to work” This time he followed the trail out to the yard, saying “Hi” to the dogs in the yard as I said “get to work” and made the right turn down the side street past the hospital.

I intentionally pulled him off and said “check” toward a parking lot next to the hospital to see what he would come up with. He sniffed around and around and then went back out to the track on his own and then made the left turn onto the side street.

He went down to the creek to drink some water and came back up and sat in front of me. I did treat since there wasn’t any scent down that way. We continued down the road and he was kind of distracted by all the smells along this road, but he did keep going and stayed on the trail. As we walked past the mule, he did acknowledge the mule but kept going which is very different since he loves horses and usually wants to go visit them.

He missed the veer left and kept going. I waited to see, and he kept going and finally stopped. He turned around and sniffed the air and came back and sat in front of me. I kind of felt like he has to admit that he has made a mistake and that he has to acknowledge it. I think that takes a mature dog to do that. He could keep going and hope I don’t notice, but I guess eventually he knows that I do know where it is because I set the track. So I guess that is all part of the practice part.

We came back and he found the cross over to the court house. He got the left turn back onto Main Street and then at the next corner he missed the right turn. He continued straight across the street and then stopped on his own and came back and sat in front. We went back and he checked the next direction and came back and sat. We crossed the street and he checked the next direction and came back and sat. We went back and this time he got the right turn. He stopped at the curb, hesitated and then crossed and then made the left turn down Main Street alongside the shops.

He didn’t catch the right turn into the bank’s parking lot, so I said “check” and pointed to the lot. He got the to the end and came back and sat in front. He check the sidewalk along the bank’s door and went back to Main Street and made the right again in the correct direction. He went down the street and crossed the street and made the right into the parking lot and down to the end and out onto the side street and made the right and went down the street to the bus stop. He checked that and came back out. He made the right along the track.

He missed the left turn into the parking lot and kept going straight up another road. He stopped and came and sat in front of me. We went back to the track and this time he got the turn into the parking lot and the right to the dirt path and up to the street and made the left toward the truck. At this point, the rawhide bone dropped out of my pants, which I think distracted him and he missed the cross over. He kept going straight and eventually stopped and followed along the track, and down another way. He eventually stopped and came back and go the track again.

He followed it up toward the towel. When he found the towel, he got very excited, and came back and jumped on me. I had him go to the towel and “down” and then I gave him the back of treats and played with the rawhide.

I was thrilled by this track. It was the longest and the oldest in a very high traffic VST area. I couldn’t have wanted more from him.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 13, 2009

Lowden Park, various side streets and Main Street, Weaverville. Approximately 3:30 PM that I started to walk Dot. Parked in long thin parking lot alongside the park. Weather was clear and cold.

I walked Dot down the street which was a paved road with some sidewalks, but none at this point. Just a dirt side road. Walked down the street onto a concrete sidewalk, crossed the street and then turned right into a small business park. Made a U turn back outside the business park and back out onto the street. Crossed the street at the point of coming out of the business park and onto the other side which was a dirt sidewalk. Made a right to continue down the street past residences and business stores. Made a left at the corner to make a diagonal across the parking lot and out onto Main Street, which is a busy street with concrete sidewalks and a mixture of small shops and residences. We went down the street and then main a left onto a side street all with residences and dogs loose inside chain link yards. No concrete sidewalks, just dirt sidewalks. We walked all the way up the street to Lowden Park and made a veer right into the park. We walked up the paved road and then made a left into the parking lot of the park. We crossed the paved lot and walked alongside the nursery school buildings and into the park. We walked along the paved path into the park and then cut across the lawn toward the bathrooms to see if they were open. They were not. I circled the building checking all doors. When I found nothing open I continued up the paved path and into the large grassy area at the far end of the park back toward the parking lot where the car was. There was a gate from the park into the parking lot. I put Dot back into the car and then went to do some computer work at the other end of town.

Approximately, 1.75 hours later at round 6 PM I came back with Dino. It was dark. I reached for my handy dandy flashlight, and found it did not work. After cursing left and right, I decided to do the track and see what happens. I did not have a back up flashlight.

I took Dino out, put on his harness and got his treat bag and rawhide ready. I took a large towel and rubbed it all over Dot and put it next to a treat just inside the gate in the park. I took off Dot’s collar and put it in my pocket.

I took Dino across the street without giving him any kind of word yet. After walking a few feet along the track I said “take scent” and showed him the collar and said “search.” He immediately put his head down and started looking. When he would check areas and find no scent and he would come back and sit on his own, I would click and treat. I wanted to see if he would start to do this on his own with my saying to see if he understood the indication.

We continued down the street, and instead of crossing over the next street, he made a right turn. I let him keep going to see what he would do, and after about 50 feet and he made a U turn and went back up to the street all on his own without even asking for a treat. He found the scent again in the correct direction and kept going. I was so thrilled. I verbally praised him without distracting him.

He made the right into the business park and the left turn but then he missed the next left turn and kept going toward the dumpster. I let him go to see what he would do. He made the right U turn and went back to the track and followed it back out to the street.

When we got to the street, he made the cross to the other side and made the right turn back down the street. He followed it all the way down the street and made the left turn diagonally across the parking lot and out onto Main Street.

He followed it down Main Street and got sidetracked at the Mel’s Drive In and started to go into the lot toward the ordering window. He stopped on his own and came back to me and sat in front. I clicked and treated. I was surprised because people and food are his number one and two distractions. I praised him and told him “check” as I pointed toward the ground and he got the scent again and continued down Main Street. The whole time the long line is totally loose and dragging behind him. I have no guidance system at all.

He did miss one of the diversions I made into a small lot to test his “no scent” indication but I didn’t bring him back because the trail was still there he was following. Sometimes I have brought him back just to say “check” and see if he picks it up, but if he is steady on the trail, I don’t stop him. I let him keep going.

He followed the track down Main Street and made the left turn down the side street and made the cross to the other side of the street. He was trying to find the track when a young boy walked right up to him and wanted to play. The mother was right there so I couldn’t say anything to him. The boy wanted to keep playing, but I finally told him that Dino was working and needed to keep going. He wanted to go with us but, thankfully, the mother said “no.” We kept going up the street toward the park.

Here we came to the dogs loose in their yards behind the chain link fences. Dino had a tough time and was very distracted, but I kept telling him “check” as I pointed toward the ground. He tried very hard but the dogs were putting up a good display of barking and carrying on. We made it past the three houses and kept going up the street.

At the right turn into the park, Dino lost the track. By this time it was pitch dark with few street lights, so I had to be careful where I was walking. Dino crossed the street and wanted to keep going, but he stopped on his own and sat in front for a click and a treat. We went back to the track and tried again. We tried a couple more times back and forth on the corner and finally he found it going up the street toward the park. We had to veer off to the right a couple of times to get out of the way of cars, but finally we got to the park’s parking lot.

He followed the track up into the parking lot and crossed the lot to the other side but then lost it and made a right instead of a left. He kept looking and then found it again in front of the nursery school and followed it up into the park. He got it into the park and then lost it at the point where three paved paths come together. For some reason he insisted on going off to the left without stopping. The only reason I could see was that the car was visible off in the distance. He checked several other areas all around and I kept telling him “check” over and over as I pointed at the ground where the scent was. He would get in for a couple of feet and then raise his head and go off to the side. He would find it again, raise his head and then go off to the side a couple of feet. Finally he found it and went straight toward the restrooms. This was across thick uncut grass in a busy park with a track of an age he had not seen, so I was thinking it was just lack of experience. But I did like that he kept trying and didn’t stop.

When he got to the restrooms, he went right past them and kept going up the paved path. Here he made a couple of detours first off to the right and then the left toward the playgrounds. We had done tracks in those areas in the past, but I don’t think that was it. I kept having him “check” the ground and finally he got it straight through the trees and into the grassy area. Here it was pitch dark with only light from a distant road. I noticed that he would follow it for a couple of feet, then lift his head and veer off to the left or right. Then he would come back, follow the track for a short distance and then veer off again. I kept saying “check” over and over to keep his nose on the ground instead of lifting his head. He seemed to be paying attention and focus on the ground.

Here we both got lost in the darkness and I had made a mistake in the beginning when parking my car again the second time. I thought I had parked the car in the same spot as when I walked Dot, but I discovered that there are two identical looking gates from the park to the parking lot, and I had parked at the further one when I walked Dot and I had parked at the closer one when I walked Dino. The towel was left at the wrong gate compared to where the track was. We lost the track coming through the grassy area with the trees and when I realized I was in the wrong spot, I decided to just find the towel and get it over with as soon as possible. We found the towel and Dino jumped straight into the air. It was very cute. I gave him the bag of treats and threw the rawhide bone.

That was the first time I had combined those two tracks together. In the past I had done the track around the park and the track down on Main Street and up to the side streets. I decided to combine the two and then do the track in the dark. Plus the track was older than he had done in the past. I thought everything went great. I need to have a flashlight that works and I need to park the car in the right spot

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I am trying to train Dino everyday to see if that makes a difference for him. In the last couple of day, I have noticed his focus becoming much better and his interest is very high. He seems to love doing this.

Weaverville. Started 3:15 PM walking Dot. Weather is clear and cold. Street is residential with no sidewalks. Sometimes no shoulder. Sometimes shoulder closer to houses. Lots of deer in the area. Several loose dogs on the trail. Narrow two lane road.

I parked the car in the parking lot of Tops in the rear alongside the side street. I walked Dot up the street, no shoulder on road. We went straight up the road. When there was a place to walk off the road, we would walk onto the vegetation or paved driveways. We walked all the way up the street, which was about one 1/2 mile to the top, which was a dead end. Along the way, there were three loose dogs (luckily all friendly!) that ran from their properties over to visit with me and Dot. When we got to the end of the road, we back track about 20 feet, and then crossed over the street. One our way back down, we went up to side streets, and then came back down the same way.

I was trying to set up some spots for "running out of scent" compared to "no scent." There seems to be two different types of "no scent" however I use the same indication with Dino. There are the "we are going along the right track and suddenly there is no scent" like the animal turned and backtracked. Then there is the "no scent because we missed a turn or veered off the trail." One is a mistake on his part, the other is not.

I walked Dot all the way back down the road, and along the way we ran into two more dogs loose on the front lawn with full access to the road. Luckily, we were on the other side of the road, and the dogs stayed in their front yard. I thought there might be an invisible fence, but one of the dogs did come out to the road after we passed.

At the bottom of the road, we walked into the yard of a vacant house and around the front tree and then back out to the road. We walked along the side of the road, and the truck we clearly visible from where we were. I thought that Dino might key into that later on, and I could use that as a distraction. I have started to plant a towel with the scent laying dog along the trail for him to find instead of having him always go back to the truck.

I put Dot back into the truck around 3.45 PM and went inside to the store for over an hour. I came back out around 4:45, which would be about one and a 1/2 hour from the start of the track. I planted the scented towel across the street down in a dip so Dino couldn't see it. He would have to smell it in order to find it.

I put on his harness, treat bag and got his rawhide bone out. I walked him up the street over Dot's first track, but I did not tell Dino anything. We got about 50 feet into the track, I took out Dot's collar, and said "take scent." He reached up to sniff it and then immediately put his head down to follow the track. He followed it all the way up the street, getting most if not all, of the side tracks up driveways and around light posts. He did seem to be picking up the scent from the other side of the street, which I expected. This is the first time I have laid the two "coming" and "going" tracks this close. I tried to hug the sides of each lane as close as possible to make it easier. He would pick up his head and start to scent something from the other side, but then he would come back to the track he was one. Only one time did he cross over to the other side. He went up a side street. I let him go. He stopped on his own when he noticed there was no scent. He came back and sat. I clicked and treat. I brought him back out to the road and said "check." On his own he went back to the first side and continued up the road in the correct direction.

He went all the way up to the top of the dead end road. He went way past where the scent stop, but I did not say anything. I wanted to see what he would do on his own. About 50 feet where I turned around with Dot, he started weaving back and forth and lifting his head and looking around. He checked one more ditch off to the side, and then he came back and sat in front of me. I clicked and treat. I turned around and started back to see if he could pick up where I crossed over with Dot. He got that immediately, and started back down the road on the other side.

He followed the road pretty good all the way down going into the weeded and grassy parts where I walked with Dot. I missed one of the side streets where I turned up with Dot. Dino continued all the way down. One of the dogs loose in the yard was still there when we came back down. I picked up a rock just in case I needed to use it. Luckily, the dog stayed in his yard. Dino was distracted a bit, but I told him "search" as we walked past the dog, and he tried to keep his focus. We got past the house and kept going.

One thing I wanted to mentioned that I noticed different today was that a man walked past me on the walk up the road, said "hi" to me and kept walking. Dino took a brief glance at him and kept on the track. This is totally different than in the past when Dino would go up to anybody and everybody to visit, and then it would take some time to get him back on the track. I noticed this as we walked past the man, and I verbally praised Dino.

He missed the left veer into the yard at the bottom of the road, but I sawed that he could see the truck from that spot and started to head in that direction. I stopped him and brought him back. I said "check" as I pointed toward the ground. He picked up the scent and went into the yard. He missed the right turn around the tree and kept going. I didn't stop him. He went all the way up to the house (about 75 feet), looked around and then came back and sat in from of me. I clicked and treated. I brought him back to where he had the scent and said "check." He picked it up again and followed it out to the road. Again, he saw the car and wanted to go back to the car. This time, I gave him a firm "ACHK!" and said "get to work." He got back on the trail, and again veered to the right toward the car. Again I said "ACHK!" and "get to work" and pointed toward the ground and said "check." We were only a few feet away from the towel. He picked up the scent of the towel and ran toward it with full excitement and then ran back to me and jumped on me (which is his sign he found a cat). I brought him back to the towel and said "down" which he did. I gave him the treat bag food and played with the rawhide.

January 9, 2009

Junction City Park, approximately 4 PM. Clear and cold. I walked Dot from the car down the road toward going out of the park. Walked on driveway going out of park toward highway. Made left hand U turn back into park and around left side of old baseball diamond. About ½ through baseball diamond, I made a right hand turn across diamond. Once out of diamond went up slight hill and made a right toward playground. Went through playground, across the dirt road and made a left next to horse stables. Walked up fire road alongside stables. Stopped and turn around in the same direction. Made a right turn back toward dirt road and another right back in the direction of the car, but instead kept going straight up road alongside the right of the horse arena. Left towel with Dot’s scent about ½ way up the right side of the arena. Finished walking Dot at around 4:25 PM.

Went back into Junction City to go to post office and drop off boxes at storage unit. Came back to park at around 5:15 PM. Drove up along the left side of the horse arena and backed car up into side road, which is undetectable to Dino down on the track.

Put while towel with Dot’s scent back in the location of where I stopped her track along the right side of the horse arena. Took Dino out of car, put on harness, got rawhide bone, treat bag and clicker. Walked him down the short hill in the direction of Dot’s scent. Within about 20 feet of the scent, I told Dino “take scent” and showed him Dot’s collar. He came up, sniffed the collar, and I said “search” and then started looking for the track. He went forward on his own. He went back and forth looking. I thought he had the track, went in that direction, then veered off to the right and started to sniff in the bushes. He came back on his own, picked up the track and headed in the right direction. He was following it straight, and then when it turned right, he kept going straight. I let him go and then he turned and stopped on his own, looking around. He came back to me and sat in front of me on his own, which is his indication that he has run out of scent. I clicked and treated him. I brought him back to the area where he had the scent, and said “search.” He was looking around and around, and then picked it up in the correct direction down the dirt road.

He followed the track down the road and made the left turn down the next dirt road in the direction out of the park toward the highway. He followed it down the road on his own and when we came to the spot where I crossed the road diagonally with Dot, Dino crossed it on his own. Instead of turning left and continuing down the road, Dino kept going straight into the bushes. There was a worn footpath there. He got about 15 feet on the path, and then turned around and stopped. He looked back at me and then ran back and sat in front of me. I clicked and treated. I brought him back out to where he had the scent and said “search.” He picked up the track again and followed it down the road toward the highway.

He got the left hand U turn back into the park and into the baseball diamond. He missed the left turn after going into the field and kept going straight. He stopped by himself about 20 feet and then came back to me and sat in front of me. I clicked and treated. I brought him back to the point where he had the track and said “search,” and this time he got the correct turn and headed alongside the left side of the diamond. He missed the right hand turn and kept going straight. This time, I had to stop him because he kept going. I brought him back on the track before the turn, I pointed to the ground and said “check.” This time he got the right turn and started going fast across the field with his nose on the ground. I usually have the long line loose, but this time he got so far ahead, that it got tight. I have learned not to let him get going fast because then he gets so excited that he misses the turns. I had to keep the leash taut to slow him down.

He followed the track out the field, up the slight hill and got the right turn towards the playground. He was going straight into the playground and through the trees. Then he suddenly went off the track to the left. I let him keep going. Shortly, he stopped on his own and came back to me and sat in front of me. I clicked and treated. I brought him back to where he had the track and said “check” in different areas. He went off in another direction of the park. This time I had to stopped him and bring him back. I brought him back to the area of the track and said “check” and this time he got the track again and followed it out of the playground and across the road and made the left turn along side the horses, which are a major distraction to him. He veered off to the right to see the horses. I said “ack!” and “get to work” in firm voice and he came back to the trail and followed it up the fireroad. When he got to where the scent stopped, he stopped, looked around and came back to me and sat in front. I clicked and treated.

He followed it back down the fire road and made the right turn back onto the dirt road and then straight up the road toward the towel. He did go back and forth a couple of times on this road, obviously looking for something. He went off to the side on both sides and came back on this own. I said “check” as I pointed on the road. He went up the road, veering off to the left a bit and then raised his head in the direction of the towel and went straight toward it. When he saw it, he got very excited and ran back to me and jumped on me. I took him back to the towel and had him lay down. I gave him the treat bag and played with his rawhide all the way back to the car.

I was pretty happy about the age of the trail, which was an hour and a half by the time we finished. There definitely is a difference in how he works the VST trails in town and how he works the rural park. His confidence is much higher on the non VST trails. That is why I want to continue to do more of the VST trails. He seemed very strong in many areas, though I didn’t like him missing the turns that he did. He did get several of the turns and got many of the areas where there was no scent. Those were good.