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Great photos! I'm jealous as we have trained like once in the last two months. :( Looks like the dogs had great fun tugging in the snow. Maybe I should try more tug work in the snow as my dog adores it. He probably thinks he should be training for the snow patrol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Trish and Maren, I'm glad you both enjoyed the show!! Part of what makes our training group work is that DAVE never quits. He's got the longest drive to come here - minimum 1:45 each way, and that's in perfect weather and/or traffic conditions. And he's that distance north of us, which means whatever snow/cold/sleet/rain/etc. that we're getting, it's probably WAY worse at his house. The fact that he never cancels is a great motivator to everyone else.

The snow day was actually fun compared to the last few weeks, where we were lucky if we saw 2 digit temperatures. The temps on Saturday in the snow were in the high 20's. LOL - the dogs were WAY more comfortable and having fun than the people were - trudging through all that snow. But as you saw, there were some smiles on faces. Progress was made. For us nut jobs, it makes training in this crazy weather all worth it!

Our backup plan if the weather is just too cold to safely train on the field (for the people and/or the dogs) is we do seminars with Dave in the house. He has a wealth of knowledge to share both on and off the field. So that's how we keep the "value proposition" going, without randomly canceling training based on possible faulty weather forecasts.

I am mostly glad for the 4 very young pups that have recently started. The last pup among the "baby pups" - that was Sage's first time. No matter what the weather does, the time clock keeps ticking especially for these pups, where you can easily loose the most optimal imprinting time. So yes, I am eternally grateful for the committment of our training leader and helper, which gives participants the opportunity to start their pups right, at the right time, regardless of weather. Even though that makes all of us humans a bit CRAZY!! ;)

Beth
 

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Great pictures - really liked them in slideshow form. Some really nice lookin dogs in your group. Very dedicated group - refreshing to see.
 

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question for you snow people:

in the winter months, do you ever find that doing too much tracking in the snow leads to the dog becoming dependant on the visual que of the footsteps? i know that if the proper foundation is laid and the dog is taught to use his nose, it shouldn't be a problem. i'm more talking about the dog who was intro'd to tracking in say october and then is doing exclusively snow tracks from december to march. any issues?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tim Martens said:
question for you snow people:

in the winter months, do you ever find that doing too much tracking in the snow leads to the dog becoming dependant on the visual que of the footsteps? i know that if the proper foundation is laid and the dog is taught to use his nose, it shouldn't be a problem. i'm more talking about the dog who was intro'd to tracking in say october and then is doing exclusively snow tracks from december to march. any issues?
To me anyway, this is a very interesting issue. For me it ties to "sight tracking" v. "scent / footstep tracking." I know that many trainers believe that if the footsteps are visible (i.e. snow, dirt) then it's questionable.

Our own trainer believes that if the foundations for tracking on foot step scent is correct, then tracking in dirt or snow (visible foot steps) shouldn't matter. We had quite a lively discussion on this issue just a couple of weeks ago. Of course we are strictly training for SchH work - not any other type of tracking. So the key for us is the dogs working off of ground disturbance. Our trainer actually likes working in snow for tracking. In his opinion, the handler is better able to see the track they laid (dispite our use of squirtable chalk and other stuff when the grass is green/brown/etc.). While still photos don't say a whole lot in a total sense, I think it's pretty apparent from the snow pics that the dogs noses were digging deep into the foot prints in the snow.

But track layers beware - Gary was mightily pi$$ed on Saturday when he realized the tube he was using to dispense food on his tracks got clogged with snow on the bottom end, so there was a backup of food in the pipe, and hence no track. Start over. LOL - I was personally happy to be back at the house managing coffee making.

Hope this helps..

Beth
 

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believe me, i was NOT talking about the dog in those pics. his nose was absolutely burried in that track. no doubt whatsoever that dog was using his nose. my question was really more theoretical than practical. i suppose there is the off chance that someone started a young dog tracking a few weeks before snow season and then went on to snow only tracks for a few months, but the likelihood that person is on this board probably isn't that high. more of a "what if" question than anything...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Tim Martens said:
believe me, i was NOT talking about the dog in those pics. his nose was absolutely burried in that track. no doubt whatsoever that dog was using his nose. my question was really more theoretical than practical. i suppose there is the off chance that someone started a young dog tracking a few weeks before snow season and then went on to snow only tracks for a few months, but the likelihood that person is on this board probably isn't that high. more of a "what if" question than anything...
Hey Tim, I took your question as theoretical. Hope we're on the same page with that. I think you were asking generally about tracking in the snow. Beyond just saying "I think that's a good thing" I was trying to suggest the benefits of tracking in the snow. Seeing the dogs "dig" their little noses in there for everything they can get is really cool IMO. But this is only my experience - while I savor every bit of it.

Beth
 

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Beth Fuqua said:
No matter what the weather does, the time clock keeps ticking especially for these pups, where you can easily loose the most optimal imprinting time.
That is so true! We train Wednesdays and Sundays and like I've said, we've had like one weekend training session the last two months because of the ice and snow on the field. Our TD e-mailed us all a few days ago for Wednesday's practice (which I can't attend as I work Wednesday nights) and was like "yes, we are actually having practice for once!" So it's been in the 50s and 60s the last few days, and wouldn't you know it, snow is forecasted for Sunday. ](*,) There's just no way I could take a young pup during winter months! One guy in our club said he did it once and would never, ever do it again. Cabin fever to the max!
 

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Great pictures, Beth! Those are some good looking dogs you have there. I have deep respect for Dave, driving for nearly 2 hours through that kind of weather. Now that's dedication! :D

And thanks for the thoughts on sight/scent tracking. Since true tracking isn't a part of the KNPV programs trained for at our club (we do PH1, PH2, and 'toetsing' for security work), it's very interesting reading.
 

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Tim Martens said:
question for you snow people:

in the winter months, do you ever find that doing too much tracking in the snow leads to the dog becoming dependant on the visual que of the footsteps? i know that if the proper foundation is laid and the dog is taught to use his nose, it shouldn't be a problem. i'm more talking about the dog who was intro'd to tracking in say october and then is doing exclusively snow tracks from december to march. any issues?
With an inexpierienced dog I feel that to much snow tracking will lead to sight tracking.
It's a blast to do but just seeing my own dog go through a snow track so much faster makes me hesitate to do it to often. JMHO
I did a training exercise where I laid the track on very hard, icy ground. Now that was VERY cool to watch given that the ground was to hard to mark.
 
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