CnC’s Tracking Journal

I use training I start by beeping it and giving them a treat as we walk around. I do that a little bit until I see the dog showing me attention when the collar beeps. I then put them on a stay command and beep the collar and give the come command at the same time, rewarding the dog when it gets to me. Do that for awhile and then put them on a stay command and beep the collar without the come command. From there I just start letting them play and periodically beep it....rewarding the dog when it gets to me. Otis was easy to train this way....we'll see how fast Shelby catches on. It's making it easier with Otis already knowing how to do it. I put them on a side by side stay command together and then beep the collar with no come command. Otis reacts and Shelby in turn reacts. Only been doing it a few days now. Just a couple short introduction sessions. I've not introduced any negative correction yet to Shelby. She's about 5 1/2 months old.
The snakes are out in full force right now. I've ran across two rattlesnakes and a rat snake behind my house in the last 6 days. Everyone is reporting seeing them out. Luckily, its given me a great opportunity to work with my dogs on snake aversion. After defanging the rattlesnakes with a 12 gauge, I laid them out in the dog's path and brought them each out to see it while it was still moving. Otis doesn't want anything to do with them now after getting hit by that rattlesnake last year. He stops well ahead of it, goes on alert, and then swings wide of it. If he gets bit again it will be on that he just didn't see.
With ten days to go I’m getting pretty excited. It’s gonna be some tough tracking conditions though if our weather doesn’t change. We haven’t gotten any rain now in about a month. Its bad, bad dry here. On a good note though, I took Otis to the vet today and had him weighed. He’s dropped from 52lbs to 48lbs so I was really happy about that. The leaner food mix and new playmate has gotten him down into a better weight range. Really anxious to see how he’s progressed this year. He’s doing stuff on practice tracks that he has never really done in the past as a puppy. One thing he’s doing now is slowly following the track and stopping for a moment here and there to sniff individual blades of grass… he’s being much more meticulous about how he tracks now versus just trying to plow through it like a puppy.
1 for 2 so far……..The first track came up empty. We were in the corner of their property and just didn’t have much room to track. It looked like a very marginal hit with zero blood on the ground and bone dry conditions. We gave it a good try and scoured the area we had to work in but ultimately came up empty.

The second track was a much different story. The hunter hit the deer really, really low in the brisket underneath the front legs. Another inch or so and he would have completely whiffed. The deer only went 50 yards or so before bedding down but the hunter’s view was blocked and he didn’t know that. He got down after about 30 minutes to an hour and jumped the deer. There was good blood between the hit site and the bed…as well as in the bed….but not much after that. They backed out and called in Otis.

The track was a pretty routine run. The hunter drove us on his buggy all the way to the hit site so Otis was smelling blood the entire time I was trying to get his tracking collar on and get my stuff ready to go, etc…He was whining and howling by the time I got ready to start and gave him the go ahead. He followed the deer into a thicket where he circled 4 or 5 times before taking the track out of the thicket and up a creek bottom. I was following along behind him about 60-70 yards walking up the creek branch when I looked at my GPS and realized that he had crossed over the branch. I walked off the creek bank and was standing in the middle of the creek when Otis came back to me. I glanced out of the corner of my eye and the deer was laying less than 5 yards from me. If it had been a snake it would have bit me. Otis had tracked it off the creek bank and over shot it going back up the other side. He was circling back to pick it up again when we met up at the deer. The track was probably 300-400 yards total and took between 5-10 minutes. I wish they were all like this one.