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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering if anyone has found a particular time of day to be best for tracking, because of conditions outside and your dog's success rate. We usually go late in the evening but when we did it in the morning a while ago he did much better.

Thoughts?
 

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Other than the time of day what was different about the weather conditions or environment that could have accounted for the success?

I have not seen any differences in Jake's tracking success based on the time of day and we go when it fits into my work schedule and our trainer's work schedule so it can be morning, afternoon or early evening. The only things that can affect his tracking are weather conditions or the environment that he is tracking in. As for weather it can be wind, rain or temperature. Jake is weird and usually does better in windy conditions, in fact he sometimes tracks even faster. Normally windy conditions should make it more difficult. Tracking after a rain helps while tracking while it rains dissipates the scent and makes it harder but he is normally successful. When it's very hot, I have to make sure to keep him hydrated - especially, lips and nose - or he gets frustrated and starts eating grass so I need to encourage him a lot. We do TDX and VST tracks so he's used to different environments but normally tracks slower on soccer type fields. However, until we had trained several times in soccer type fields he wasn't always successful. And surprisingly he did great in garages last winter when it was too cold to just be out in the elements. The interesting thing is that more failures in VST tests happens on grass than concrete.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hmmm...wind is really tough on Cosmo. Look at his tracking record shows that he usually messes up on windy days.

I've been trying to play with energy levels - he is doing poorly if he's had any mental exercise already but he runs ghost tracks if he's over excited.

It could just have been conditions that morning - warm but dew in the grass.

We are also having a just terrible time in soccer fields. He follows who-knows-what there.

I've been reading Presnall and I think he mentioned something about VST dogs focusing so much on cement that they mess up on grass. Cement is definitely tricky but we do urban mostly so do a bug mix.
 

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Yep, the dew in the grass probably helped because it's holding the scent more.

Soccer fields normally have a lot of cross tracks and that makes it difficult. The first time we ever tracked in a soccer field was our first TD test which we did not pass - only got to the second turn. When I told Jake to track that day, he looked at me as if I was crazy and it was hard to read him. Reading Jake in soccer fields was probably my biggest challenge to date.

Do you lay your own tracks?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh my, well if our test us in a soccer field we're not going to pass. That seems unfair for a TD.

Sometimes I lay the track and my husband handles him - SAR style. Sometimes my husband lays his own tracks. About 50/50. We've recently found that when he follows the tracks of the handler and has to back track he gets confused and can't distinguish between the old and the new track, always on cement.

We also hope to do urban tracking titles, you?
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Tracer is the most 'on' when tracking on still mornings...my challenge with him is to keep him calm on a track like that.. IMO he tracks too fast especially on those kinds of mornings..I can hear his inhale/exhale rates and he can easily miss a corner by moving too fast...if I do a nice long serpentine track in late afternoon when he has to work harder and add a corner near the end...he has had a chance to settle down and seems to do much better.
 

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@ Jacqueline

Has the CKC approved Tracking Dog Urban? The AKC has proposed it and if history follows it will take years for them to approve. I would definitely do it if it gets approved. Based on their proposal you could get the TD and TDU but only one would be required to move on to TDX & VST. If the CKC has the TDU I would consider traveling north to Ontario since my mom's side of the family lives between Ottawa and Toronto and it would give me any extra excuse to visit :)). I personally think TDU is a good way to start preparing for the VST.

Hopefully, we'll be doing both TDX and VST next year but towards the end of the year (4th Q) because offerings are going down and getting into tests are hard because of the numbers applying. My dream is to get his TDX at the 2012 Golden Retriever National Specialty but that would take many moons to align. At least I have the hotel reservations since early August of this year but I also plan to enter in obedience, agility and probably WCX and JH.
 

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@ LibertyMe

I can empathize with you since Jake is extremely fast. We did our certifying track (440 yards with 3 turns aged half an hour) which was in a forest preserve and the growth was about 18 inches high in about 3 minutes. The judge couldn't keep up with us after we passed the first flag and just watched:)). And the time included him going off track to smell some horse manure - very funny after the fact. Our TD track two weeks ago was 460 yards with 4 turns aged 1 hour in cut grass and that took 5 minutes and I was told this was actually fast but to me it seemed very long.

Some ways to slow Tracer down is to add more turns, work tree lines (plus you get the added benefit of finding the most efficient way of detangling the tracking line - I've been there so I'm not being sarcastic), change terrains on the track (TD tracks can cross a path of up to 6ft that is different from the rest of the track) and/or additional aging. Adding all four in one track one definitely slow him down because he would have to think more but you would only want to add one different element at a time initially.

Adding turns should not be a real problem for him. Jake certified after 3 months of tracking and we trained with up to 5 turns at a given time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tracking

At the bottom you'll see the difference between AKC and CKC titles, and yes in Canada they are already doing tests for urban. I believe there is one here in BC this fall.

In Canada I believe you can just register for a test without being approved to compete.

Cosmo is also the most on in the morning and he tracks very quickly. In the afternoons he is more likely to loose focus and follow other tracks (horses especially). I'd rather work with him with with lots of energy and try to slow him down than vice versa. Impulse control is proving hard for Cosmo and he loves to just run as fast as he can along a track but once he's matured I think he will slow down a bit (maybe).
 
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