Instructor: Lucy Newton
This class covers everything the handler needs to know to get organized and get started in tracking. We will discuss topics such as equipment preferences, other equipment needed, how to develop a start routine, tracking schedule and initial training goals. This class will also cover what the tracker needs to know regarding environmental conditions, scent theory and how to select tracking fields to shape correct behaviour. The dog will be introduced to beginning tracks, with an emphasis on developing an independent tracking dog – how to let the track do the teaching.
This program uses the "targeting of articles" method, which means, depending on the drive of the dog, food on the track will be limited and/or quickly phased out. If you live in a place where food on the ground is not an option, you'll definitely want to check this out!
Next session starts: December 1, 2017Registration starts: November 22, 2017Registration ends: December 15, 2017
Tracking Harness - I prefer a harness actually designed for tracking rather than the walking harness typically sold at petsmart or petco. Premier makes a good, very adjustable harness. I also have quite a few students who really like the comfort flex harness (clean run is a good source). We will discuss this further at the start of the class. Anyone not certain about their harness please contact the instructor before the start of class and we can discuss.
Tracking line or a long leash - a 30' regulation tracking line is great if you have one but we will not be using the entire length for this class. I have found though that even when I am working close to the dog I prefer to have a line slightly longer than 6' so I have some line dragging behind me.
Small non-rolling easily chewed treats - I usually use the healthiest version of hotdogs I can find and slice them in pieces the width of a dime. Anything can work though as long as it is quickly eaten.
Marking flags - can be purchased at home depot, tractor supply etc. Usually sold in bundles. One bundle is plenty.
Targets - after much trial and error I have settled on using foam squares as targets. I buy thin foam sheets (see photo) from Michaels and cut them into squares (see photo). They are inexpensive (0.99/sheet) and come in a variety of colors. I wish I could convince them to make a darker green version. Generally about 20-30 squares will be more than enough for the first class. Anyone not able to obtain the foam can contact me to discuss alternatives or I would be happy to mail some.
PLEASE NOTE: green squares are fine but previous students and I have determined that dogs cannot see orange targets AND they are much easier to find and pick up after the track!!
Gloves - three or four cloth work gloves, brown or black. I purchase from home depot. We will need more of these for later classes so if you want to save buying in bulk, feel free!
Terrain suitable for tracking - we will discuss this in more detail during the first lecture. Part of Week One's homework will be finding a place to track! Initially we will be doing short tracks so expansive area will not be needed. Try to find someplace with grass about ankle height, not too short (i.e. closely mowed lawn) nor too long (I.e. Hayfield). If you are not sure if you have a suitable place to track you can also contact me for more information.
Outdoor weather gear - I track all year, regardless of the weather (most of Steel's VST prep was done in August and September in Mississippi). During warmer months tracking in the morning is a necessity. Although later on I track different times of the day, it is ideal to track in moist cooler temperatures if possible so mornings are ideal. Waterproof boots are usually a good idea unless you don't mind getting your feet wet. Lots of tracking people wear rubber boots but I usually just wear my regular hiking boots.
Video camera for gold students
Tracking field requirements
Building value for targets/track
More on the training method
Continuing to build value for track
Start & End routines
When and how to progress
How to handle problems
Increasing spacing between the targets
Variables the influence scent
Adding more articles
More on track laying
Using other track layers
Progressing further, beyond the course
How to check our progress
A SAMPLING OF WHAT PRIOR STUDENTS HAVE SAID ABOUT THIS COURSE ...
Great methodology - clearly communicated. Wish I'd had this class 'way back when I was struggling to learn what tracking was all about. Great foundation class. Rosemary B.
I really enjoyed this course: it got Shine and I off to an excellent start in our tracking career. Lucy is an excellent instructor, and tailors the training to each individual dog, with some creative solutions for dogs which were struggling with tracking using the initial set-up. It seems odd to learn tracking from an online course, since a lot of it is about feel and timing from the handler, but it works - videoing using a chest/head mounted gopro enabled Lucy to see what we were doing from the handler perspective and to see what we were seeing as the dog went down the track and how we were line handling etc (assuming the camera set-up was correct!). A gopro (or similar) camera (or an extremely dedicated partner in crime!) is really a must-have to get the most from the course.
It's amazing that you can learn and teach tracking online, but Lucy Newton has proved that you can! I have just completed TR101 as a Gold student, and the feedback was so highly personalised for each student, it was like I had a private teacher for 6 weeks. I am really happy with the way my dog is going, and I love Lucy's method of teaching the dogs what we want when we talk about tracking, it really fits with the science of what I already know about dog training. I can't wait to do more!
I've read several book on how to train tracking, as well as a lot of videos/DVDs, and the method used in this course makes the most sense of ALL the ones I've tried.
Again, Lucy is fantastic. She really gave each and every one of us exactly what we needed exactly when we needed it!
I was very happy to find out about the Fenzi Academy because I live in an area where finding good instructors for dog sports can be difficult, particularly those who use positive methods for training. Lucy Newton is world-class, very helpful and knowledgeable about her subject. She is keenly aware of differences in dogs and their progress and abilities. I would recommend her tracking courses to anyone who wants to teach their dog but cannot find a teacher (or wants a better one) or who finds books on the topic somewhat lacking. Great course. Tracy S
I really enjoyed this course. I found the instructor to be very knowledgable, helpful and quick to reply. We will definitely be taking more courses. Thank you for everything, Sherri R. and Soter