Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tracking Wild Animals

I had a sore ankle last week so I decided to take the dogs bushwhacking instead of running the snowmobile trails. I have many years of experiences tracking wild animals. I do this to learn about the lives these animals lead and not for hunting purposes.
My favorite animals to track are black bears, coyotes, fishers, coyotes, deer, and moose. We have all of these in the state forest behind our house.

I did some tracking with Wyatt last winter but stopped it because I was doing too many dog sports at once. I hope to get back to it when (and if) we get our obedience Companion Dog title. There is a special AKC Versatile Companion Dog title that only 2 or 3 whippets have attained. The dog needs a Novice Agility (NA), a CD, and a Tracking Dog (TD) title to get the VCD.

I was curious how they would do tracking wild animals. I do see them checking out scat, urine, and tracks when we run but I don't let them follow the tracks when I am running.

They were very interested in tracking coyote, deer, and fisher. They pulled strongly on their leashes. That is one of the main things you are supposed to train them to do for a TD. Makes me wonder if I could use their natural instincts to track wild animals for TD training. They did seem to get off the track at times and I asked them to find it or pointed out the track to them. They did not seem to use visual clues but only olfactory information.


Pangaea said...

I think it's so great that you're going for the VCD! So now my question is, what is a fisher?

John Heffernan said...

The fisher is a medium size weasel that can climb trees. It is noted for its ability to kill porcupines.