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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!: