SH101: Introduction to IPO Tracking

Posted in School of IPO

Instructor: Shade Whitesel

Course Details

This course introduces the team (handler and dog) to the basics of footstep tracking.  "Footstep tracking" refers to the style of tracking where the dog must show where each and every footstep of the tracklayer fell,  leading to the highest possible scores in the sport of IPO. In addition to "footstep" tracking, IPO dogs are required to track with a "deep nose".  This means that the dog's nose is deep into the terrain, and the dog's body language shows intensity and concentration throughout the track.

Shade will explain how to imprint these behaviors early in foundation work by teaching scent boxes and circle tracks associated with lots of treats, while allowing the dog to work the “track” without interference from the handler, which can cause many of the problems seen in trial. The class will then move on to serpentines and straight legs with turns.  Finally, Shade will discuss how to start fading the food off the track near the end of this course.

Shade will also cover how to teach a proper article indication, and games to establish hunt drive as a prerequisite to adding them to the track. After all, tracking is eventually about finding the dropped articles, not the treats!

Line handling as a management tool without correction is also integral to helping the dog learn to track properly, and Shade will cover this as well.

And finally, the class will consider the rules and what a handler should expect in the IPO 1 tracking phase.

While your dog will not become a fluent tracker in six weeks, you will be introduced to the skills you need to progress towards your IPO tracking title.  Follow up tracking courses in this series will add progressively greater challenges as well as introducing the expectations of longer and more difficult IPO tracks.

This method works extremely well!  Shade has earned scores of 99, 100 and 100 in IPO tracking - all on different dogs!

Check out this short class trailer!: 


Next session starts: April 1, 2017
Registration starts: March 22, 2017
Registration ends: April 15, 2017

Registration begins at 12noon PDT.

Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited. If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up at any time during the registration period.



week 1: Scent boxes/Lured start and finish/Loose leash walking

week 2: Article game/Starts/Eye contact

week 3: Circle tracks/conditions/Line Handling

week 4: Serpentines/Down stays/Marking Tracks

week 5: Serpentines to straights and 90 % turns/Article game on grass

week 6: Skipping food

Prerequisites and Equipment

Prerequisites: none

Equipment: long line (at least 15 feet and light), collar, yummy treats and enough land to lay a 100 pace track by the end of the course.

Time commitment: Gold spot students should plan to track several times a week but video taping is required much less often. Minimal land is needed in the first three weeks, but towards the end of the 6 weeks, dogs can be tracking up to 75-100 paces (if their persistence and concentration is developed enough). Dogs with very high food drive will do best at this method of IPO tracking. While dogs without food drive can certainly learn how to track footstep to footstep with R+ training, this course does not cover those specialized cases.


Course Testimonials


As someone who has never done tracking before, I wasn't sure what to expect of this tracking course. I am now positively hooked because of the guidance and instruction that Shade provided. This was one of the best courses I have ever taken! Shade's ability to communicate with her students on their level is outstanding. Her encouraging words and helpful instruction have given me confidence that I didn't have when I started this course.  Lynne B.             

This was an awesome course! I recommend this course to anyone! Shade has great patience with us, and had fantastic suggestions when we were stuck!!! I cannot recommend this course enough. I had been struggling by myself for three years trying to train IPO tracking, and finally I can see my dogs making progress, after only 6 weeks of this course! I could not have dreamed up better results! I am so happy.           

The class lectures at Fenzi Academy coupled with relevant video material was extremely helpful for me. I actually have the confidence to go out in the field and lay an IPO track several times a week for my puppy! He is doing great and I actually know what I am looking for in his body language and pace. I learned rules for the sport and have a vision for his performance. Thanks to the online course I have methods to fall back on if things go south on any given training day. I also took the IPO Fundamentals 1 course and plan on taking the next level as soon as it begins.              

Great course! I used to dislike tracking, I am learning to love tracking now and actually look forward to tracking dog. I learned so much in 6 weeks and am sad that the course is ending. Thanks Shade for a great course! Debbie H

Shade's IPO Tracking class was wonderful! I've tried to start my dog on tracking a couple of times, but he was overenthusiastic about it to the point where I was being dragged across the field. That's not my idea of fun so we stopped working on it. This class helped break tracking down into achievable steps that clearly taught both the dog and I what to do in a way that was fun for both of us. Now we are well on our way to tracking successfully and can't wait to take the next class!

Very competent advice and instructions. Was a big help. I especially liked the discussion board, where one could ask sometimes, ahem, rather unusual questions and get good answers. Great value for money/time. Looking forward to doing more in the future. Leonard "Buzz" Cecil    

I took the Introduction to IPO Tracking with Shade Whitesel. There was a lot of material and the course moved right along. Shade was available for questions and her answers are easy to understand. This is the first online course that I have ever taken that I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having live instruction. My dog and I made great progress over the last 6 weeks. I want to thank Shade and Frenzi Academy for having the course. I can't wait for the next class to start. Thanks, C.Mathis