Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wild Or Domestic?

This entry is a little off the subject of dog training but...

I used to spend a lot of time following animal tracks and sign around the woods. When I was hot and heavy into it and doing an apprenticeship with Paul Rezendes, a lot of the hard core tracking folks looked down on domestic animals. Indeed, studying their tracks and scat, the domestic dogs would wander all over the place and leave stinky scat. The fox and coyotes generally traveled in very straight lines and left pleasant smelling scat full of interesting bones and things. One of the ways to tell domestic and wild canines apart was the fact that domestic dogs indirect register and wild canines direct register. That means that the fox and coyotes leave only one print for every 2 paws in the pattern. The rear, as I recall, generally comes down in the front track later in the pattern (depending on the gait). With domestic dogs, the tracks overlap.

The point of all this? I am reading a book about conformation and seeing structure and gaits. I had a vision of conformation judges evaluate fox and coyotes. What would they think?

There was a definite beauty in the straight and purposeful wild canine tracks compared to the domestic dog tracks. The trail width itself was very small (a few inches). What would the tracks look like when a dog runs agility?

I look at my current interest in dog training an extension of what I learned. I learned all about wild animals. Now I am learning how to form a partnership with an animal.

Of course, whether Wyatt is wild or domestic is sometimes in question.

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