Track and train

Toby tries tracking…

We are always looking for new things for Toby to try as he likes to be busy!  A local trainer mentioned she did tracking classes and we were keen to have a go with the boy.

She came over to give us some pointers to get us started and it wasn’t long before Toby was fully engaged.  We started by stomping out a trail, dropping cocktail sausages on the way and leaving a jackpot at the end.  He loved it and couldn’t contain his excitement, and proved to be an excellent tracker.  We decided to train a few times a week, and found that in the afternoons (our designated training time) he was pacing the house and whining to get going!

Then we hit a bit of a snag.  We started off by using fields where the grass was pretty long so the trail was easy to see, both for us and him.  We added complications like curves and doubling back and also crossing tracks from previous sessions, and we were convinced that it was his nose he was using, not his eyes.

However, then we moved to a different field where the sheep had recently grazed.  The grass was shorter and there were lots of other distracting scents to throw him off.  Firstly, we could no longer see the trail we had made, so it was difficult to ensure when we backtracked we were following exactly the same route, and secondly, when we set off with him we found it harder to tell if he was following the trail correctly!

We also introduced an “article” for him to find, which might have confused him further.

We will need to take a step back and try again when the weather is better, to ensure he has a good grip on the basics (standard practice when training new skills or behaviours), otherwise he will become discouraged and frustrated.

Speaking of the weather, thanks to daily rain, we have been unable to cut the grass for haymaking and the way things are going, we could end up with none this year!

Here’s Toby in action:

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