American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

Bringing owners, breeders and enthusiasts together to just talk dogs.

American Blue Lacy Dog Blog RSS Feed

What Do You Look For In A Tracking Seminar?

> #2 – What’s the seminar about? If I’ve earned 10 CTs and taught for 20
> years, WHY would I necessarily want to hear someone discuss basic
> tracking? Again, unless I’m intentionally looking for information
> outside of my knowledge base. When John Barnard was crossing the
> country promoting VST, those seminars wouldn’t have been of a lot of
> value to someone who was still trying to understand the basics of
> tracking. Not that there wasn’t some information that would have come
> up, but those seminars were designed more to decide many of the
> specifics of what the VST rules would be. 50 yards between legs versus
> 30 type of thing.
> #3 – Is the person a GOOD teacher? One of my first tracking instructors
> was and is probably one of the best tracking trainers whom I’ve ever
> seen. At the same time, he was one of the WORST teachers that I’ve
> seen. He could do things with his dog, but he just didn’t have the
> empathy to be able to convey that information to others.
> #4 – Is the person interested in imparting information, or selling
> something? I remember talking to someone who I had a lot of respect for
> when it came to tracking about 25 years ago. We knew each other fairly
> well. I was having an issue with some student’s dogs and article
> indications and had called this person to ask if they had any ideas.
> The person’s advice was that I should have one of the clubs that I
> belong to have him give a seminar and all of my tracking questions would
> be answered. My jaw dropped to the floor.
> #5 – Is the seminar a working seminar, or not. Working seminars can be
> great, but if they digress into problem solving individual problems too
> long, they end up wasting the time of the other seminar participants.
> For people attending a seminar.
> #1 – Just because someone is considered an “expert” doesn’t mean that
> their ideas are going to work for you. One of my BEST obedience
> instructors ever was great, but she definitely had a hard time making
> the transition from techniques used for Border Collies to Rottweilers.
> (You want me to do that AGAIN? I’ve done it three times. You want it
> again, YOU do it.)
> #2 – If the ideas seem TOO far fetched, they probably are. Again, my
> early days with Schutzhund. I remember some of the old folks who
> thought that you needed to boil the boots you were going to use to lay
> tracks with tripe to give the dog something to smell. Many of us REAL
> old timers will tell you about the tracking folks who preceded us who
> were CERTAIN that dogs couldn’t follow a scent put in by someone with
> rubber soled shoes.
> #3 – What are YOUR goals for information that you want from the
> seminar? Simply sitting there for a day or two, doesn’t mean you’re
> going to go out the next day and train your dog to be a CT. Make sure
> you get your questions answered, if the format allows for questions.
> Keep in mind, as with group obedience classes, seminars typically cannot
> turn into a one on one problem solving situation.
> These were the types of things that I was talking about.
> What made a seminar GOOD or bad for YOU?
> Wally O’Brien

Re: Tracking Seminars

I want someone who can provide useful, innovative insight for any participants working in scentwork at whatever level. Someone who can be as enthusiastic with the beginners who just want to know more about tracking as they are with the VST/urban tracking students. As the Tracking Coordinator for my club, I must also be cognizant of the expenses for seminar fees/travel/ housing/feeding for that presenter, and must give serious consideration as to whether our available sites and potential regional participation will support any given presenter’s expenses.

I want it all. A good teacher with lots of tracking experience with diverse breeds (TD, TDX, VST, maybe SAR, AKC Judge-ship not required) with an innovative, open minded approach who can motivate beginner students but also benefit those who have a TD or TDX title or two under their belts wanting to know more. We’re wanting to include VST in this seminar as well.

People fund tracking seminars. I’ve been to some tracking seminars and then driven home asking myself WOT? And I’ve been to others where I left all geared up, ready to try some things I’d learned. After 4 TD’s and 2 TDX’s, I cherish the latter.

If after 10 CT’s you presume to know everything there is to know about tracking, perhaps you shouldn’t be tracking. Again, JMHO.

Bev S.
Nashville, TN

A good teacher with lots of tracking experience with diverse breeds (TD,
TDX, VST, maybe SAR, AKC Judge-ship not required)

I like the idea of a presenter being an AKC judge. They have seen endless
dogs, breeds and problems in their tests. Their experiences would be
invaluable when discussing tracking.

Ann & the gang

In my multiple life experiences as both a student and teacher at time, I have come to believe that credentials frequently have little or nothing to do with someone’s ability to teach a useful skill. At the very least, after a certain level of training, finding someone that communicates with you and your dog can be much more important than that person’s credentials.

In some parts of the country, a person who has put one TD on a dog has a lot more experience and knowledge than others in a community of dog people who only know conformation and obedience. Many states don’t have tracking judges. “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

If a teacher of modest credentials can get you excited about an activity so that you go on to seek the more advanced training you want, then that teacher has done his/her job, in my opinion.

Some of the best tracking trainers and teachers I have known never became judges. The skills required for these two things are quite different.

Craig Green

Re: Tracking Seminars

This whole discussion has brought back some very dear memories for me. When training my first TD dog, ESS Chelsea, I occasionally had instructors, but spent most of the time with Glen Johnson’s little brown book.

There were lots of times when I’d lay the required tracks for that day on my way home from work (I still get a giggle thinking about the people driving by wondering what that woman in the dress/suit/panty hose/hiking boots was doing out in that field!), go home, get my dog and go back and track. Sometimes we didn’t get back to the tracks till after dark. That was where I truly understood the concepts of a “blind” track and trusting my dog. And probably when I learned the importance of good line handling, come to think of it. My line has always been my communication line between me and my dog – how the dog told me what he/she perceived what was happenin’ on the track.

Being an old codger now, I can imagine that those ballcaps with LED lights in the brim would be quite valuable. But might be distracting for the dog.

Bev S. (Sydney got his TDX! Sorry – still riding high on that!)
Nashville, TN

Related posts:


Photo Gallery Slideshow



Sign Up