Hundesport Alaska starts the 2007-training season with 4 days of hard work, abundance of new knowledge, and a lot of fun.
Our 4-day training seminar began with tracking. We had planned to work on all 3 phases each day. Wallace quickly saw that
we were all ready to train, that we had goals and a purpose however we lacked foundation work and tracking,
There being no excuses for it as we are blessed with excellent tracking conditions. We informed Wallace that
we have been told this at every trial, and we have been instructed
to track more. What we quickly found out is that
we were just making the same mistakes over and over again, getting the same results which resulted in low to insufficient tracking scores. Well some of us found out that you
could teach old dogs and old handlers new skills. The younger handlers caught on a lot quicker. The first day we spent a full
day of tracking and we were all exhausted.
The next day started with a test in tracking to see how much we retained from the day before, and we were instructed where
and how to lay our tracks. I was excited to track my dog as
I had gone over the details in my head a hundred times, I had
my hot dogs cut according to size, correct scent pad, very clear scuffed foot steps, all my land marks were clear to me. I have a young dog that I had done little with in hope not to
mess her up before Wallace got here, she is a quick learner and is always focused on food, with excellent concentration so
I knew I had possibilities for an excellent tracking dog.
Day 2, I thought okay I got it. The minute I approached the scent pad Wallace gave out a big disappointing sigh- OH NO?
I was thinking now what? Well the food wasn't buried. The goal
was for my dog to track the hot-dogs not see the hot-dogs, I was instructed to pick up every piece of food and relay the track with each piece buried out of sight. UGH! That was the hardest part placing the food in EVERY step.
The next track despite my lack of handling skills the track was laid correctly, and we progressed. YES! Following other members
successes we quickly returned to the park for phases
2 & 3.
At lunch we all listened intently and took notes from Wallace's theory. Then it was our chance to work our dogs in obedience.
Well the first day I didn't even graduate to taking a step.
It was all I could do to get my dog in proper fuss position. I had to hold my leash
correctly, hold her attention, listen for the click, verbally praise her, and properly reward
her with a piece of hot dog. I thought I was good
at multitasking. I felt much better about things as my club members turns came up and they too fumbled, and bobbled their way through the exercises. Each of us having different
strengths and weaknesses. Thank goodness for Wallace's military
back ground, and patience. We were able to progress a little, and move on to phase 3.
In phase 3 the handlers, didn't create too much of a problem, our helpers have been well schooled by Mark Chaffin
in their work and abilities, and the dogs & helpers all worked well, with good bites. The Helpers were soon coached to
make the handlers do the hustling to return the sleeve, and to properly handle the dogs. Wallace then worked to have the dogs
bring more to the game, and for us to set our
goals higher this year. With the older dogs they focused on obedience in protection with reward bites. Each dog needed a little different work, some needed more heat, while others
more prey. We all retired following dinner.
Day 3 again all the attending members were present and ready to lay tracks - Now that we were just a little more polished
on our track laying skills, we could begin to work on some handling skills. For myself I could use an entire seminar on just
this subject. Wallaces ability to read the dog was amazing, I could quickly see what Judges could see what I was lacking in
my last trial, as most of their critiques went right over my head since I didn't not yet have the ability to read my dog on
Obedience Wallace then did a very brave thing. He put the clicker in our hands, and began to tell us when to click- it
was obvious that this was going to be an incredible feat for him to teach this, as we didn't even have the other 6 or 7 tasks
learned. The dogs were learning quickly inspite of their handler’s mistakes. Once we were able to accomplish the concept
we moved on to protection. On this day with most of our helpers in attendance including our most awesome helper "Khalid"
we progressed right along.
Day 4 was much more fun - My Dog Tracked & I Handled Her! The test in obedience wasn't as easy to pass, but again Wallace
is a very determined man. He actually got down on the ground and held my feet in position, as I couldn't click & walk
at the same time.
I’d like to thank my club members of Hundesport Alaska, for an amazing and enjoyable weekend. Our helpers Shaun,
Craig, and Khalid for their endless energy, and to every one that pitched in when ever help was needed.
Thank you Wallace! For your sense of humor, patients and no fear to speak openly and honestly we made fundamental progress,
and have continued to do so since.
For more information on how you and your dog can become a Hundesport member and participate in the sport
of schutzhund contact: Shaun & Brigitte Lytle email or call 907-745-4943, 529-4648. Kathy Carmen