Tracking Articles – ‘On The Trail’

Posted on: May 10th, 2013 by Gary Roe No Comments

Training your dog to be a tracking dog is an awesome experience.
There are two very distinct approaches towards tracking. The first , which is being used by 99% of all trainers, works towards the various tracking designations such as TD and TDX. This approach is based on the ability for us to control what the dogs do at all times. The second approach – tracking through drive – is used by ‘On the Trail’. It doesn’t concern itself with designations but rather focuses on the result: finding whom or what we are looking for. This can be a child lost in the forest, a mentally disabled person who wandered away from their escort in a busy city or something as mundane as a lost car key. This approach allows the dogs to use their skills independant from our control – leading to much better results.

We humans seem obsessed with designations – you can’t escape them. They are in our jobs, in our health-care system, in our ads on t.v. Unfortunately, in order to obtain these designations we often have to give up common sense. Nowhere is this more obvious than in tracking. In order for us to be able to judge a tracking dog’s performance we have to surpress most of his abilities, to the point where traditionally-trained tracking dogs have become almost useless in real-life situations. A recent extensive trial simulated a situation where a child had gone missing. Out of 100 traditionally-trained tracking dogs only 5 were able to complete a large rural track, and ‘save’ the child. 95% of the dogs that were trained through drive were successful.


Properly trained tracking dogs can make the difference between life and death!

Tracking is the only discipline where we rely completely on our dogs. We don’t know what they smell or how they interpret the scent. All we know is that a dog can find pretty much anything we want it to find, using it’s nose.

A tracking dog at work is one of the most impressive forms of human/animal interaction you will ever see.

“On the Trail” tracking courses run 3 months each. We teach in Calgary, Cochrane, Kananaskis Country and Canmore.

Tracking weekends and weeks are designed specifically for those people that want to get an intimate understanding of tracking as an integral part of our philosophy regarding animal and human well-being. For many, these getaways will be the start of a major change in lifestyle.

Please take a look at our Events page for upcoming schedules and events, or Contact Us for more information.

ARTICLE SEARCH: Please collect a number of articles of varying sizes and materials. Here is some idea of the variety I’d like you to have in your “object bag”:
– wood (cork, small wood blocks….)
– metal/tin (ex: cutlery, mint box, old keys…)
– plastic (old shampoo bottle, film container etc.)
– fabric (at least 3 different ones, for beg. dogs – old sock, glove, ball cap, rags etc.)
– leather (old key chain or gardening glove)
– nylon
– glass (thick, like a spice bottle)

Please keep the above items no smaller than a key tag/golf ball size, and if possible mark with your initials and keep them in a “sturdy bag”.

.Also bring a favourite reward for the article searching (could be a toy or a treat). If you have a clicker, bring that as well.

Frans, Tara & Odin


Reprinted with permission from Copyright Frans Baars.