Congratulations to Nancy and Hendrick for getting their first tracking title! Hendrick was a previous graduate of the Full Service Training at The Doghouse, LLC. Nancy had a specific training goal for him and that was to be a tracking dog. German Shepherds are known for their natural tracking abilities. Tracking for the competition of IPO (formally known as Schutzund) is when a dog follows the course of the track methodically and intensely with their nose deep in the scent. A judge scores the performance of the dog and the maximum points that could be given is 100.
Tracking in Florida can be a challenge year round and especially during the summer months. We use different training strategies such as freezing the food, using tracking flags, and laying our tracks before the sun comes up to help with the heat and fire ants on the food. Like any skill you want to perfect, practice is the key. Tracking is a very natural exercise for dogs because dogs in the wild survived by hunting and tracking down potential prey. We have taken this technique in which the dogs are natural able to discriminate terrain and created a competition with rules for the sport of IPO. Competitions are held all over the nation and other countries. It is amazing to watch these dogs generalize tracking on varies terrains, weather conditions and different ages of the track itself. The dog is also required to indicate 3 articles by laying down over them. Corners and the speed of which the dog tracks is also judged. You can get penalized for handler help, so it is important that the dog works independently of the owner.
If you are interested in teaching your dog how to track either for sport or just to bring out the natural abilities of the dog, contact a trainer at The Doghouse, LLC.