Congratulations to Michelle Armitage and Pamela Burns on their new Tracking Champions, English Springer “TCH Cameron” and Wirehaired Dachshund “TCH Lieder!” If you check out my public Spiritdance Tracking Facebook page you’ll see their reports from this past weekend as they each passed their final title – the Urban Tracking Dog Excellent test – for their CKC Tracking Champion honour. These teams came to me with a lot of experience and three titles already earned. It was my great honour and privilege to work with them remotely over the winter and spring as their Coach – helping them be prepared for the performance of their tracking careers!
The UTDX is a difficult title: 3-5 hours old, up to one-half non-vegetated surface, in contaminated public settings like industrial parks, schools or college grounds. The dogs must find the track and three articles along the way, sorting out the competing scents. The handlers must read their dogs, hold up their end, and trust their canine partners. It is the ultimate in teamwork and trust and a very intense test. Many try and don’t pass. In part, understanding the urban environment is a challenge in itself.
I love urban tracking! I love tracking! As a judge for all levels, I am always thrilled when asked to plot and judge tests. Seeing dogs pass is always a joy. As a participant, I love to train my own dogs. And as an instructor and coach, I love to be part of the journey with so many talented teams. I always make sure to tell each team that THEY put in the work. A coach can coach away, but if the client doesn’t put in the work, the results and outcomes won’t be there.
I have been teaching tracking since 1995 and have had the ongoing personal rewards of seeing my students / friends enjoy success and become independent over time as they become passionate and knowledgeable in their own right. Today I see many of my original students still involved in tracking as participants and organizers, including here in Alberta where I’ve been teaching since 2008.
Since starting online coaching – the first in Canada for tracking, focused on CKC rules – I have had the honour of coaching many teams including Beginners to tracking, people stuck with their progress on TDX, and beginners to urban tracking. I’ve seen these teams go on to be successful at tests in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC! Teams I have not worked with IN PERSON but who I’ve coached online, viewing videos and providing ongoing lesson support and training.
These two UTDXs are the highest titles I have ‘coached!’ I am so grateful to both Michelle and Pamela for sharing how I contributed to this final title. Often the coach is the “person behind the scenes” when teams achieve their goals (and that’s ok!). I am grateful in this case because by sharing that we worked together, it shows everyone that COACHING WORKS!
And let’s be sure to acknowledge that no test is successful without a great judge plotting great tracks, and tracklayers offering their stinky feet! I am even more thrilled that both Michelle and Pamela passed under Marie P Babin, who I consider one of my mentors.
Let’s be clear. They did it. They put in the work. They dedicated the time and miles to achieve this honour of achieving a Tracking Championship. A coach is someone who contributes along the way, helping people meet their goals. It is an investment in yourself.
To learn more about what coaching is you can visit my coaching website – www.spiritdancelifecoaching.ca . And to find out more about my coaching for trackers, please visit my new business website, www.spiritdancetracking.ca
I am working on a Spiritdance Tracking book, specifically on Urban Tracking. I believe in my methods and have been excited to share them with my clients. I’ve developed ideas and methods over 30 years in tracking that I’ve been able to refine over the past two years – seeing things come together as my students have been progressing rapidly and enjoying their tracking experiences.
In the meantime I continue to give lessons and tracking workshops in person. If you are interested in Coaching – please let me know. Many people need that extra boost or some new tools in the toolbox, and a lot of people have no access to tracking instruction at all.
GO CANADA! Through coaching, I’ve seen people come together and share from east to west, in the online classroom. Tracking is a small community and my goal is to inspire, motivate and encourage trackers at all levels, so that they love the sport and enjoy success – achieving their goals!
Thank you to everyone who has invited me to be part of your journey. I look forward to growing my Coaching over the years to come – and to sharing my methods in my book!
Congratulations to the new TCHs! Thank you for the honour of working with you, and thanks to all of my past and current clients, students and friends.