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
Purlie on the last track of his life
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.
All our Labrador Retrievers have been wonderful trackers. Mattie lived the longest (b.d. March 5, 1999-June 22,2015). Mattie loved to track, steal gloves when I tried to put them on my hands and play ball. She would do anything for the promise of food so she loved to find articles on her tracks. She picked them up, retrieved them, then sat waiting for a treat. She pulled like a tank. There was no question as to whether to go with her or not; she took the handler along so she was a great teacher for other handlers.
Then we got Dancer. We think he was part greyhound and part Lab so we call him our Labrahound. This yellow boy was a year younger than Mattie but tracked very differently than most of the other Labs we’ve had. He was very visual. When he reached a corner, he liked to stop and look around while sniffing all the background scents. He is a little soft
so I was careful as to which handlers tracked with him. If he was not on a lead, he would literally run a track but when in a harness and on a specific track, he was usually very deliberate and careful. He really locked into the scent when he smelled an article, pulling like a tank until he got there. Then, he waited and sat for a treat. When he finished, he liked to take his final toy for a swim in the pool.
Decker and Holly are father and daughter. Decker was 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 loved to chase birds, especially robins. He was very focused when tracking and was strong but gentle for new handlers. He occasionally stopped while tracking to check out all the other tracks in the area and figure out where his track would end up. Then he put his nose down and followed the track.
Holly, our first 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 waas 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. She still needs more formal tracking training but will gladly work for others when given the chance.