Tracking Camp

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Holly tracking at Lab Land during a fall camp

Tracking camp is a special learning opportunity for dogs and handlers to learn about and improve their sills and knowledge while having a lot of fun.

Camps are small groups of 5andlers and dogs (maximum 5 dogs) who spend 2-4 days with Susan Eldred at her property (and fields near by) outside of Thompsonville, (west of Traverse City and Interlochen, Michigan. To keep from overworking handlers’ dogs, the handlers will get to work at least once each day. Everyone will follow along and watch all the dogs work. Everyone will have lunch at Lab Land (headquarters). After we finish in the afternoon, handlers will have the opportunity to play with their dogs at Lab Land, go play elsewhere, go shopping, enjoy the beautiful scenery and countryside, enjoy fishing, wine country tours, eat Moomers Ice Cream (voted number 1 in the country by Good Morning America), enjoy sunset at Lake Michigan, and enjoy good food at one of the many local restaurants.

There are many options to choose from. You must stay at least 2 days. You may stay for the whole camp (4 days). You may choose which days fit your schedule best. This is possible because each person will work at the level of his/her own dog by laying most of his/her own tracks which will be marked so everyone watching can learn what the dog’s body language is telling us. We can work dogs of any level at each camp.

This camper and his dog are tracking across one of the dirt roads at Lab Land.

Lab Land is 30 acres with a wide variety of tracking opportunities. We have open fields, scattered trees, groups of pine trees, several mixed hardwood forests, areas of ferns, mowed paths, walking paths through the woods, dirt roads, and several buildings which create Variable Surface Tracking situations including concrete, working between,  around and through buildings.

Welcome to camp headquarters

Welcome to camp headquarters

A demonstration of a trained dog on a track lets everyone know what their goal is.

Lab Land has many types of cover, changes of cover and varied tracking experiences for dogs. Below are photos to illustrate some of what you may encounter.

There are many opportunities to experience VST (urban) tracking at Lab Land due to the location of the buildings and surrounding distractions (farm junk). Dogs work passed buildings, around buildings and even through them.

In addition to Lab Land, tracking is also done on nearby land. There are wonderful fields in a state forest area several miles from Lab Land. These fields offer large areas of open field, areas of ferns, tree lines, a swale, some woods, a section of furrowed land and several small dirt roads. The land is great for TD or TDX practice. In the fall, the color is spectacular. The area is large enough to allow each person a large area in which to work with varying conditions.

To improve handling skills, campers have the opportunity to work The Eldred’s trained dogs. Campers find this very helpful in learning line handling and feeling what it is like to trust and follow a tracking dog.

For more information, see the camp details page. A deposit of $50 per dog is required to hold a place in any camp session. The balance may be paid any time up to the beginning of the camp session.