A passionate tracker is a man who does not quit. Even through this scorching summer he wants to go on training his dog no matter what. Whoa! Whoa! Let’s bring some thought, as well as passion, to this situation.
Let’s not assume that dogs are just like humans, and that they can take the heat like a tough Midwesterner. A dog does not sweat like we do. The dog sweats through his paws whereas we sweat all over and are cooled by evaporation. Also a dog pants, but this can’t compare with the human cooling system. Then there is the matter of insulation: T-shirts vs. fur coats.
When we ask our dogs to work training lines in very hot weather, as one southern
friend has been doing, the dog may survive with his life, but it will be a very
unpleasant canine experience. The memories of this are not going to promote
enthusiasm about tracking in the future. Any value of the training experience
is going to be vastly outweighed by the negative feelings associated. Ohio
It is not a disaster if our dogs take a summer vacation like our kids. They are not going to forget their skills. On the contrary, they are going to be fresher and sharper when cool weather comes back. We ask our dogs to track the real thing in hunting season when the temperatures are more suited to their physical construction. Agricultural damage shooting is an exception.
For puppies in their first six months a short, 50-100 yard track once a week is adequate in summer. Put the blood down in the evening and run it at dawn. The same thing can be done with tracking shoes.
For a dog over a year old, who has tracked a few natural lines, there is really no good reason for running training lines at all if the temperature is over 75 degrees.
Over the summer they won’t forget what they have already learned. When cooler weather comes they will have the drive and enthusiasm to try hard and learn more about the finer points of tracking.
Some of the background for these opinions comes my experience running small training workshops one summer. Usually there were five or six dogs at each session. When the temperature rose above 80 degrees there was a dramatic fall-off in enthusiasm and performance in most dogs. The Labs and the wirehaired dachshunds had to be urged to track. There was only one dog that didn’t care about the heat. That was Cleo, my southern black mouth cur,. Cleo’s tough ancestors were developed in East Texas and
If you want to train your tracking dog in the heat of global warming, get a southern black mouth cur!
|A walk with Mielikki at sunrise resulted in one "hot dog"!|