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Tracking with a cairn


Duncan's Mom
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I joined the Tracking Club of Vermont this past Fall. I am mainly helping out with events and meetings. I am considering trying to track with Duncan when the snow melts. Has anyone else ever tried tracking with their cairn? How difficult is it to train them? Even if I don't track, it is fun to get together with a group of "dog" people and watch the other dogs.

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My experience is limited - but left me somewhat frustrated (in a good way) that I can't figure out how to try this! I went to a tracking test and they let folks follow (at a pretty great distance) and watch. It was low-key thrilling to watch. I then went to a seminar which introduced tracking to beginners and we did some basic practice. Our Cairn did very well in the 'baby steps' part of the training. I think Cairns can easily be trained to track.

My problem is finding suitable locations and the time commitment (to a certain extent the time problem is wrapped up in the distance problem of getting to suitable locations - I live in suburbia). I don't know a lot of tracking Cairns, but have met a passle of tracking Westie's for sure. The author of Enthusiastic Tracking attends most (if not all) our local earthdog tests and Sil is almost always out in the fields with a Westie in the evening, doing tracking practice.

How fun to be part of a tracking club! Please keep us posted on your adventures as you learn.

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I too was thinking about trying tracking with Mett & Bratt. I had done it before with German Sheps- I figred that we'd give it a try and see how they did out in the field....

Tracy, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins
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One of the reasons I joined the tracking club is because it is one of the most active clubs in the state and honestly, there is not a lot of anything else going on that doesn't involve a lot of driving. (I also work with some of the members). I would like to do earthdog trials but there aren't any. We may try agility. I went to one tracking event this past October and I did get to follow along at a distance. The foliage was at its peak and the event was held at a farm in the mountains. It was nice just to be outdoors in such a beautiful place. I may go to a seminar in May and if we start tracking, I will let you know how it goes.

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Go to the seminar you will enjoy it. As Brad said it is hard to find time to track, but if you have tracking buddies it is alot of fun. There is a segment of my obedience club that tracks and since so many of us were busy on weekends (with other dog events) we started tracking at a local college one evening a week. The college has well lit parking lots with grassy medians and some surrounding grass land that isn't too dark. The students ignore us and the security force waves. We do alot of VST (variable surface tracking) there using the grass and concrete and around the buildings. My older cairn is dark and when I was getting him ready for his TD test, we practiced alot in the dark, I learned to trust him by the feel on the lead. I have started my puppy tracking and I think he will be good. I still take the old man to practice, but I'd don't think I'll ever devote the time to age and practice the tracks they would have in a VST test, 4 hours old. The girl doesn't like to track, she thinks human scent is boring, when there are critters to find.

Linda
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  • 2 weeks later...

We did some tracking along with our earthdog training this summer. We would lay down a track of rat urine and have the dogs track until they found the rat in his cage. This was supposed to help them learn to track up to the den opening, but my guys still managed to go around the entrance on more than one occasion and go to the rat cage at the end of the tunnel.. Cairns will always find the easy way!

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I don't do club tracking but I have trained my Cairn for Search and Rescue which uses tracking as well as air scenting. Dusty is excellent at it. He received his first certification at 14 months. Now at 2yrs he has earned his way onto the A team. We get a lot of teasing and joking when my little 15lb'er hops out of the car marked K9 but the tune changes when they see him work. Heck, when they make comments about the K9 I just shake my head and mumble "Budget cuts"......the sad part is some people actually beleived the joke.

Take Duncan out. Everyone needs to be amazed at what their dog can do. Cairns are born hunters, all you have to do is teach them what prey you want them to hunt.

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Thanks - I have ordered a book called Enthusiastic Tracking which is what the club recommends and the featured dog is a Westie! I am going to work with him as he always has his nose to the ground - I think he is sniffing for the cat. By the way, where do you get rat urine?

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Enthusiastic Tracking is the book Brad L was referring to written by Sil Sanders, who is (or has been) the president of Puget Sound Earthdog Club. I understand his Westie is quite talented. I'm certain cairns have an affinity for tracking. I don't have enough time now to devote to training as we're persuing earthdog and conformation titles. Perhaps down the road.

Please keep us up to date with your progress, and if you attain a title. Congratulations on finding an activity that you enjoy with your cairn.

Greg and Val Perry

Home of Kula RN CGC, Am. Can. Int'l. CH Cairngorm Coffee Tea or Me RA ME EE2/Can. SE NAJ NAS CGC (Kona), CH Clanmarr's Steele Princess (Hattie) and CH Scotchbroom Thistle The Patriot SE (Sully) Visit: CroftersDream.com

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My problem is finding suitable locations and the time commitment (to a certain extent the time problem is wrapped up in the distance problem of getting to suitable locations - I live in suburbia). I don't know a lot of tracking Cairns, but have met a passle of tracking Westie's for sure. The author of Enthusiastic Tracking attends most (if not all) our local earthdog tests and Sil is almost always out in the fields with a Westie in the evening, doing tracking practice.

How fun to be part of a tracking club! Please keep us posted on your adventures as you learn.

Please let the author know that the Tracking Club of Vermont is recommending his book to all new members - especially the beginners like me. I am looking forward to receiving my copy. I will keep everyone informed of our progress.

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Go to the seminar you will enjoy it. As Brad said it is hard to find time to track, but if you have tracking buddies it is alot of fun. There is a segment of my obedience club that tracks and since so many of us were busy on weekends (with other dog events) we started tracking at a local college one evening a week. The college has well lit parking lots with grassy medians and some surrounding grass land that isn't too dark. The students ignore us and the security force waves. We do alot of VST (variable surface tracking) there using the grass and concrete and around the buildings. My older cairn is dark and when I was getting him ready for his TD test, we practiced alot in the dark, I learned to trust him by the feel on the lead. I have started my puppy tracking and I think he will be good. I still take the old man to practice, but I'd don't think I'll ever devote the time to age and practice the tracks they would have in a VST test, 4 hours old. The girl doesn't like to track, she thinks human scent is boring, when there are critters to find.

Hi Cairnsby3.

We hope to bring home a Cairn rescue in a few weeks. As we live about an hour South of Springfield, I'd be interested in coming up to a tracking practice. Could you eMail me some info on this. Thanks.

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  • 6 months later...

We have done several tracking exercises as part of our earthdog training. Both of my dogs track really well and I would love to do actual tracking with them for a title. Both earthdog and tracking use what our Cairns have..good noses!

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sigfrith wrote:

" As we live about an hour South of Springfield, I'd be interested in coming up to a tracking practice. Could you eMail me some info on this. "

sorry to be late catching up on this, but i am a local too --i'd like to know something about it, too, probably there is a page on the internet?

i have this question, though --how do the dogs know which scent to track? i've seen this done with labs and shepherds, they give them a key scent and then the command. do cairns really pay attention to this? how do you prevent them from just following the scent they like?

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i have this question, though --how do the dogs know which scent to track? i've seen this done with labs and shepherds, they give them a key scent and then the command. do cairns really pay attention to this? how do you prevent them from just following the scent they like?

The way we do it for search work is to only reward the dog for human scent/finds. My Cairn has not gone after anything but the human while working. But at the house he's a rodent tracking monster. We do use a harness as their key to work. I think that has a lot to do with it.

If you have any other questions about the search work/tracking PM me. I would be happy to talk with you about it. But be forewarned, if you get me started on SAR you may have to tell me to shut up. :D

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