Tracking classes will meet in the fall and winter quarters. We do not meet during the hot summer months. The class is limited to 6 new (beginner) students. Contact the tracking coordinator for details.
Prerequisites: All NDTC classes require proof of current rabies vaccination for dogs age six months or older.
When we talk about "teaching our dogs to track," we aren't really "teaching" them to track. Dogs are born knowing how to use their noses - that's how they find mom and their first meal! What we actually teach them to do is to focus on a particular scent.
The method that NDTC uses is a structured program based loosely on Glen Johnson's "Tracking Dog: Theory and Method" that progressively increases the dog's stamina while keeping him motivated to find the article. The very first steps are to teach the dog that there is something out there that he would very much like to find (usually a glove with a favorite treat or toy tucked inside; please note this is allowed during training only, nothing is allowed in the glove at an actual test). We do this by making the initial tracks so short (5, 10, 20 yards) that the dog can visually mark where the tracklayer has walked. However, the dog soon encounters a track that exceeds his marking abilities. It is at this point that we begin to see the dog's head drop, when he instinctively begins to use his nose to find what he is looking for. At this point, the dog has begun to understand the game.Buster, English Springer Spaniel
Each session builds on the successes of the previous training session. We'll be happy to show you how!
You may be asking the big question - how long does all this take? Individual dogs progress at different rates, and the length of time required will depend on the dog's ability, motivation and work ethic, as well as the handler's willingness to give up control to the dog and learn to handle their tracking line so that they become a true team member (the one WITHOUT the nose).