Many of you, especially those who have not tracked before or tracked with little training (either dog or handler) cringe at the thought of tracking, especially with the price of show animals. Yet, to compete at the top, you must have a dog. At L2 Track Dogs, we work hard to help our families begin tracking for success from the very start. We accomplish this by providing well-bred and well-trained dogs that understand their job. We also work with our families to help you be much better prepared to navigate obstacles that do occur while tracking.
Here are a few Hazards that you might not think of:
1. How your track is built
Walk on the inside of your track and take a look. What do you see? Are their sharp points, wire sticking out, bolts, or even jagged 4x4 that animals can hit while running in your track? With an animal running
by even a piece of wire, we have observed a slice all the way down the side of a lamb which required over 20 stitches.
You also need to examine the tunnel by looking down the straight away. If an animal is running hard and does not turn, what will they hit? Is it a fence pole or wire? Hopefully it is not a strong fence pole. An animal running full speed into a solid post can cause serious injury to the animal. If you need a pole in that spot, a t-post or something else that flexes might be a better choice.
2. Type of ground
Animals in the wild run on all kinds of ground including rock and brush. However, if we are tracking high quality, winning stock, it is important to clear the track of foreign material including rocks, brush and other obstacles that could cause a sheep/goat to fall or bruise the pads in their hooves. It is also important to keep a clear track for a dog that needs to be working on a regular basis. You definitely do not need a stone bruise keeping your dog from Tracking for Success or preventing your sheep/goat from walking correctly in the show ring.
3. Aggressive Dog
We are often asked about using a muzzle on a dog to prevent a bite, especially close to show season. Early in our tracking history, we did utilize a muzzle from time to time and know it can be a valuable tool. However, when you use a muzzle, you take away the dog’s ability to protect itself. You need to weigh the odds on both before making a decision. We personally would rather command our dog to lie down more often in the track and keep a large distance from the animals especially as you get close to important shows.
Tracking sheep and goats with a great well-trained dog is a tremendous muscle builder. By taking some time to analyze your track situation, you will increase your ability to Track for Success. If you have questions or want to gain more information about tracking, please give us a call.