Following Ghosts Tracking with JOHN RICE
by Suzanne Clothier
This will be a wonderful opportunity to learn from John Rice, an experienced scentwork trainer and instructor. This seminar will be a hands-on workshop, with each dog-handler team able to work multiple times with various tracking exercises.
John Rice's unique approach to tracking is ideal for beginners or advanced handlers, for experienced or novice dogs of any breed. His background in Search & Rescue K9 and police K9 gives him a deep understanding of the complexities of scentwork, and how dogs work with scent under a wide variety of conditions. Rice respects each dog as an individual. He believes in finding the best approach for that dog — he has no recipes or "one size fits all" plans. The Following Ghosts approach depends on and supports the relationship between dog and handler. This seminar provides eye opening moments of understanding that will forever change how handlers see their dog. Each participant will learn to appreciate the amazing talents of their dog.
The Following Ghosts approachbuilds on this foundation:
- Making sure that training is enjoyable for the dog at all times
- Trust in and respect for the dog's natural abilities
- Understanding of scent, terrain and track laying
- Rapid skill development through emphasis on complexity and transitions
The Following Ghosts approach understands that dogs already know how to use their nose. They are born with this capability, and depending on life experience, they learn a lot or a little about using their scenting abilities. All dogs can learn to further develop and refine their natural ability to track (following the actual footsteps), to air scent (using scent that is moved by the wind & air currents), and how to discriminate between scents.
This Following Ghosts workshop will provide a variety of information and exercises for dogs and handlers to learn:
- how to start dogs on track
- how to track almost anywhere, almost anytime
- how to read their individual dog's body language when scenting/working
- how to fingerprint ghosts
- how to lay good tracks
- how to set up good problems for the dog to solve
- how to "read" the terrain or environment and its effects on scent
- how scent behaves under various conditions
- how to use handling and equipment to support their dog
Dogs need to be non-reactive to other dogs, and should not be aggressive towards or fearful of humans. Dogs do not have to be highly trained, nor do they need previous experience in order to participate. While young dogs are welcome to attend, puppies under 5-6 months may find this too tiring, as tracking is quite physical as well as mental. Dogs will learn a lot in this workshop! Beginner dogs are typically able to easily handle 3 leg tracks with turns by the end of Day 2.
Handlers do not need to be professional or experienced, but should have good control of their dog. Handlers should be able to walk comfortably with their dogs in uneven terrain. Most work will occur outside even if it is raining, so handlers and dogs should be comfortable under wet conditions, and dress appropriately.
Dogs must be worked in a properly fitted harness (John will have a selection with him for use by participants), or on a flat buckle collar. Dogs will not be allowed to track wearing head halters, prong collars, choke collars or half-choke or martingale collars. Appropriate long lines will be available for use as needed.
This workshop is limited to 10 dog-handler teams. There is no limit on the number of auditors who may attend. Auditing is an active participation! with auditors expected to participate in track laying, scent/wind experiments, and assisting dog/handler teams.
Fees: Working Spot - $300.00 (limited to 10 dog/handler teams) Auditor - $175.00