The Spiritdance March Tracking Seminar last weekend is a wrap! 8 teams took part in exercises, master tracks and blind tracks over two days. There are so many highlights! It was like a family reunion for many of us who have trained together over the years. Meeting new people and welcoming them into the fold was also a great experience!
Click HERE to view a photo album of photos of the participants over the weekend.
Participants took part in tracklaying and plotting exercises, ‘semi-blind’ tracks, a few blind tracks, article games, and urban tracks (the focus of day two). We also had a mock TDX test at noon which was plotted and judged like a CKC test, which everyone found valuable.
This seminar kicked off the Summer Seminar Series and so I surveyed participants to learn what they liked the most and found the most valuable. I also asked what we could do less of, and how they would rate the learning and enjoyment. The survey is anonymous so that people can provide feedback which helps me to continually improve everyone’s experience and adjust things for the coming season.
What did people enjoy the most? Everyone mentioned the support, fun and the fellowship they felt all weekend and everybody liked the coaching through their tracks and exercises. Participants also enjoyed the group discussions and feedback after each track.
The majority of respondents also said that one thing they enjoyed the most during the weekend was watching Ben run his 6-hour old UTDX track. I rarely run tracks with my advanced dogs during a seminar so this was a pleasant surprise. It just happened that someone was too sick to participate on day two, so I did the demo with my dog.
Since it was my dog, I didn’t run the UTDX at 3 hours – I ran it when we were at a natural break in the afternoon, and it was 6 hours old! Ben did a great job.
People said it was motivating and inspiring and that they learned a lot watching it and learned what to aim for. Several people wrote that they really liked watching two tracking ‘novice dogs’ run Ben’s track to see the similarities and differences plus the enthusiasm of a track being used again.
I asked participants “Did you learn something new or have any pleasant surprises?”
Most people mentioned that they enjoyed being responsible for laying a “pre-planned” short track with a map, then observing dogs coming to run them. Participants felt they really learned more when they laid tracks for other dogs and knew where each turn was and where the articles were placed. People also really enjoyed watching other teams and felt new information was presented or important information was reinforced after every track throughout the weekend.
Some of the maps were spectacular, but this one was really the BEST map of all!
One of our participants, Jacquie Moore, was laying a track for Dan Wing who is new to urban tracking. Behind a building the snow was crusty on top but soft underneath. Jacquie did quite a faceplant which we assumed was a considerate tracklayer gesture to give Wriley the Black Russian Terrier a good scent pool in the shady part of his urban track. This is her map!
What was even more funny was that Wriley rolled on his back right where Jacquie fell! I think he decided to make his own snow angel in honour of her great track laying. Later after his urban track, Jacquie and Wriley have a ‘moment’ where they discuss this. As you can see – Wriley is a very accomplished footstep tracking dog. It was a thrill to see him tackle urban last weekend and to see other participants also take on urban tracking for the first time! Please visit the photo album to see their great work.
As a Professional Coach, I was happy to see that everyone liked being coached through tracks if required. Running blind tracks or ‘harder’ tracks was a thrill for a couple of teams. And of course, we made sure to cover the importance of handling, trust and patience in tracking.
Here are some quotes and testimonials people shared upon request, to let others know about Spiritdance Tracking Seminars.
- The most valuable part of the weekend is Donna’s feedback; I need the feedback from Donna; it is incredibly valuable. The best part was the coach. Donna you are N inspiration! Amazing knowledgeable coach. Expert instruction and coaching, very valuable for both my dog and myself.
- The Spiritdance seminar was so amazing. The coaching we received was gold standard. Donna took the time to help each of us understand where the holes were in our buckets and how to fix them. She left me with the confidence and tools to keep on tracking!
- After attending the Summer Series of Tacking Seminars with Donna my boy Wriley became the first BRT in Canada to earn his CKC TD Title. Donna’s seminars are motivational, thoughtfully designed, well organized and fun. It continues to be a great experience to learn and train under Donna’s watchful eye.
- How Donna freely shares her knowledge, passion, dedication, attention to details, support and faith that we all can succeed.
- Donna’s knowledge of tracking is always expanding and there is something new in every seminar.
- Whether you are an experienced handler preparing for Tracking Exams or a Curious Novice, Donna will show you the path to success and that there is always something around the next corner.
- The seminar is just so informative. I learn something new from new people – new dogs – different weather / environment. Spend time with your dog, meet good folks, learn so much about tracking…the seminars are always great.
- So much valuable information and sharing! Wonderful group of participants. The participants are always a pleasure to work alongside. Learning is tailored to each individual team so there is always something being learned or reinforced.
- It doesn’t matter what level you are, you learn so much and on top of it all it’s so much fun.
Thank you everyone for taking part and for your great suggestions and feedback!
It was a great weekend and great start to the year! I am honoured to be a part of your tracking journey!
Looking forward to the next Summer Seminar Series weekends coming up in May, June and July. Please check the Seminars tab for more information.