Friday, July 3, 2009

Tracking today

I have successfully completed the FH with two dogs so far, both Dutch Shepherds. (Sofie and her son, Digit) Now it's time to do the same with my malinois, Quinn. It is something I had planned to do this season, but a fire was lit when our recent judge, Ann Marie Chaffin, reminded me that I could seek to achieve a spot on the World Championship Team through tracking! To date there has not been the intense competition for a spot on the FH team, or in the FH Championship, that there has in IPO. It reminds me somewhat of Mondioring, where there are a handful of people competing. Nothing like the 90-plus dogs at the AWDF Championships. As tireless a campaigner Quinn has been, we have had our share of challenges and it is unlikely we will win one of the major events. A winning team is a combination of ability on the part of the dog, skill of the handler, availability of experienced helpers and training and a good bit of luck. I have a great dog. He has given me his all, and allowed me to grow as a handler. We are a team, and we fail or succeed together. So, now he is being challenged by the person hanging on to the other end of a tracking line.
My goal this season is the FH, and then hopefully the FH2. Quinn has followed three hour old tracks in the past. He did a nice one last evening, but this morning seemed to run out of gas at the 2/3 mark. I have a plan for conditioning and preparing him. His favorite treat is a can of sardines (packed in water, thank you!) at the end. It is going to be difficult to get the lengthy tracks in that this will require, both in location and in time. I don't know if anyone reading this is interested in what it takes to complete an FH, but as I proceed I'm sure I'll detail more. And, in the end, all that tracking sure can't hurt his IPO3 work. That track will be a walk in the park in comparison. Quinn and I will spend many hours for the next few months, walk many miles and wake up far too early on too many occasions. And if all I end up with is that dog when all is said and done, it's still all good.