Germans found that out in track
training a long time ago hence the use of
elaborate and heavy tracking
collars and tracking harnesses. The
ritualistic gear isn't necessary to
control the dog, they're necessary to
affirm the ritual game to come.
Training is, to all good dogs, a form
of introduction to play and all
smart dogs like to play. I have noted
before that dogs do not make a
distinction between work and play the way
that humans do... for then
it's all a form of play. The wise
trainer will make all training an
introduction to play a game, it's more
productive than negative
In Sweden I believe the most important tracking
ritual is perhaps the start of the track, the way we see things. Let me explain
with an example:
I shoot at a deer (moose/boar/bear/fox) that
runs away after the shot. I may see many things already from the games shot
reaction, if it most likely is a heart, liver, lung or some peripheral hit. If
it is dusk I may not see anything of the games reaction since I am blinded by
the muzzle flash. Whatever I must memorise the place of the shot as carefully as
Then I go to the car and drive
home slowly since I want one full hour to pass before I am back with the
dog. I want to give the game peace to lay down and get stiff, unless it is
dead already, as they usually are. If stressed they can keep going for a long
If the dog is experienced it will immediately when
I come home know from my excitement and behaviour what will follow.
When we come back to the battle field the dog will
heel until we are close to the place of the shot. Then I ask it to sit and I put
on the tracking harness and attach a long line to it. I will demand it to stay
in the sitting position when I go to the place of the shot to investigate it,
looking for blood, pieces of bone, colour of the blood, small pieces of lungs or
liver and whatever other clues the tracks can give me. What I do not want to
find is larger pieces of bones indicating a hit in a leg. The best thing to find
is light, pink blood mixed with air bubbles, indicating a hit in the lung area
or lots of red blood indicating a heart shot. You do not want to see dark blood
from the liver or smelly blood mixed with stomach contains.
Then I go back to the dog, heel it to the precise
place of the shot, sit it and after a few seconds move my hand just above the
ground over the first blood track and tell it to "track". After a couple of such
starts 90 % of the ritual is not needed, dog knows perfectly well anyway.
Sometimes I cant find the place of the shot. Then I have to start the dog "in
flight" so to say, and it has to find and determine the direction of the track.
That is also something that is good to train in advance.
Anyway the ritual of walking to heel to the
proximity of the start of the track, putting on the harness, waiting
for me and permission to start to work are important at least in the beginning.
An experienced dog is like an experienced craftsman and can do many things in
sleep but before they get the experience they need the rituals for
Borta Med Vindens Kennel
"Ask not what your dog can do for you.
what you can do for your dog."www.rospigan.net