Anyway, the seminar was offered by the Washington State Obedience Training Club, in particular the Tracking committee. It was two days long and held at an immense, beautiful park in Seattle, WA, a retired naval base. (Think lots of water and handsome old brick buildings with dentil molding.) An AKC judge, Steve Ripley, was the presenter and did a wonderful job.
I almost didn't go to the seminar though because I know nothing about tracking and knew those folks would be at the "top of their game". Even Steve said VST tracking was similar to working on your doctorate degree in tracking. Whoa there...I don't know anything about tracking, remember? But I met the friendliest group of people who were very encouraging. They had awesome dogs who worked the practice tracks diligently through the maze of buildings, parking lots and lawns of the park. From a Westie to a Border Terrier to a Rottweiler...all 8 dogs had one thing in common. Their noses! They were like wiggly, moist GPS units leading them along a track, with some tracks being over 3 hours old! This is a track the track laying person just walked. She didn't drag anything...she just walked along and the dog found her path hours and hours later. Waaay cool!
By the end of the seminar I was exhausted, educated and inspired! I have much work to do. (Heck, I don't even have a puppy yet.) I learned you can start working on tracking with an 8 week old pup. Cuz...they already know how to track -- how else did they find "Mom" when they were born with their eyes closed? Hmmmm? The nose, the secret was the nose.
Oh, and the jar? Wonders of wonders, I won the drawing Saturday night! The jar has a wonderful illustration of "the journey" of tracking titles --- from the TD (Tracking Dog) title to the TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent) title to the final and elusive VST title. Very, very few dogs have that title to brag about! Painted by Steve's wife, I consider the jar my first tracking "tool".
The jar was filled with cookie bones.......do ya think they will keep?