Before you learn about us, we need to first introduce you to those who taught us all about tracking: our dogs. To learn about Susan and Orrin, click on the links to the right.
We both wish to thank those who taught us all we know about tracking: our dogs. First was Othello. He never earned a title but taught us so many wonderful lessons and peaked our interest. Next came
Czorro and Deo, Orrin’s 2 incredible tracking dogs. Czorro was trained through TDX but missed out on many opportunities to earn a title when Orrin became a judge. Deo earned his TDX on a very difficult track which he made appear easy. Purlie started tracking as a puppy and never stopped. A friend took photos of his last track. The photo here was his last track.
Now we have 4 Labrador Retrievers and each is a wonderful tracker in his own right. Mattie is the oldest (b.d. March 5, 1999). Mattie loves to track, steal gloves when I try to put them on my hands and play ball. She will do anything for the promise of food so she loves to find articles on her tracks. She picks them up, retrieves them, then sits waiting for a treat. She pulls like a tank. There is no question as to whether to go with her or not; she takes the handler along so she is a great teacher for other handlers.
Next by age, is Dancer. We think he is part greyhound and part Lab so we call him our Labrahound. This yellow boy is a year younger than Mattie and tracks very differently than most of the other Labs
we’ve had. He is very visual. When he reaches a corner, he likes to stop and look around as he sniffs all the background scents. He is a little soft so I am careful as to which handlers track with him. If he is not on a lead, he will literally run a track but when in a harness and on a specific track, he is usually very deliberate and careful. He really locks in when he smells an article pulling like a tank until he gets there. Then, he waits and sits for a treat. When he is finished, he likes to take his final toy for a swim in the pool.
Decker and Holly are father and daughter. Decker is a big black boy with tons of prey drive. He was probably born in October of 2005 because he brought Holly along when he left his previous home. He was about 14 months while Holly was about 14 weeks. Decker loves to chase birds, especially robins. He is very focused when tracking and is strong but gentle for new handlers. He occasionally stops while tracking to check out all the other tracks in the area and figure out where his track will end up. Then he puts his nose down and follows the track.
Holly, our chocolate girl, is a natural tracker.On a day when she was still only about 4 months old, we had gotten a dusting of snow. She followed from footstep to footstep where Orrin had walked one of our other dogs putting her nose right in the middle of each print. She is a very confident tracker. She checks out all the possibilities before committing. Other handlers love to work with her because she is so easy to read. She loves her articles, too, and sits or downs depending on the handler. If the handler reaches toward a pocket to get a treat, she sits. If the handler reaches toward the article (ground), she does a down. She has a way of finding socks before we know they have gone missing in the house. Laundry baskets (clean or dirty clothes) must be kept out of reach. Fortunately, she just brings the socks to us most of the time.
In Feb. 2016, we adopted a new Labrador, MacKenzie. She is about 4 years old and is starting a new life which includes tracking. She is very smart and loves to use her nose. She has had puppies in the past. She didn’t eat well in the shelter and was super thin. She looks great now and is very eager to please. After only 2 tracking lessons, she gave us hope when Holly and Decker disappeared for 12 days. She found places where they had been and even found a deer leg that had not one morsel of food left on it. Soon she will be helping others to learn to track like Holly and Decker do now.