Modern Enthusiastic Tracking, The New Step-by-Step Training Handbook (2017) lays out a step-by-step training plan for those starting a dog with the goal of earning both the TD and TDU titles, while also building a firm foundation for more advanced titles. The book continues with detailed plans to train for and earn the TDX, VST and the coveted Champion Tracker. Included is a specific plan to transition a field-only TD or TDX dog to achieve the TDU and VST. This systematic manual will be your constant training companion and guide. It is a unique resource which is ideal for trainers who want a well laid-out plan with a history of successfully training dogs to track. Sil s popular 1998 book, Enthusiastic Tracking, The Step-by-step Training Manual, 2nd ed., was successfully used by new-to-tracking novices, experienced trackers, and tracking instructors to train their dogs to the TD and TDX titles.
This book represents another 20 years of observation and training experience, learning how to train his own and his students dogs for both field and urban tracking. For the past decade Sil has been developing the techniques illustrated in this book, adapting and adjusting the training exercises and exercise progressions so they encourage optimal learning, and refining the way the methods are explained in writing. Many individual students and seminar participants contributed by presenting their in-training dogs with skill short-comings, trying these exercises, and providing feedback on the techniques viability and success.
Illustrated with 106 diagrams, 75 images, and 5 artistic drawings, the book is divided into four major parts:
• The first part parallels and expands Part I of Enthusiastic Tracking. In particular, Part I now prepares a dog for the urban TDU test as well as the traditional field TD test.
• Part II continues field tracking training by focusing strictly on the TDX. To make the training process simpler and more straightforward than the 1998 book, additional material on crosstracks and additional step-by-step schedules were added.
• Part III is a completely new section on preparing the previously field-only or field-mostly tracking dog for the urban TDU test. It also serves as a foundational review for the dog who did the Part I urban work.
• Part IV takes the TDU trained dog and prepares him for the additional complexities of the VST.
• An Appendix of remedial and group exercises.
Each part in further divided into chapters called phases because they represent different phases of training. Within each chapter there is a schedule of training showing a set of several different exercises types followed by a detailed discussion of the training methods appropriate for that phase of training. Then each exercise type is described in fine detail so the novice trainer can understand exactly what she should do while the experienced trainer can glance and remember the techniques quickly.
The author trained one Westie to the VST & CT, four more to their TDX, two for the TDU and many for their TD. Fifteen of the students & seminar participants he helped went on to earn their CT or TC while many others achieved their personal goals. Sil is an AKC Tracking judge who often judges CKC tests as well.
His first book, Enthusiastic Tracking, The Step-by-Step Training Handbook, 2nd ed. (1998) has been highly popular with individuals learning to track their dogs for the first time, as well as experienced instructors who used it in their own classes.
Sil lives with his wife and a pack of Westies in Stanwood, Washington, just north of Seattle. In addition to Tracking, he is active in Agility, Earthdog, Nose Work, Scent Work, Rally, Obedience, Barn Hunt and always enjoys taking long walks in the hills with his favorite companions.
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This book was published in 2017 and is even better than his first, Enthusiastic Tracking, published in 1998. 422 pages jam packed with step by step instructions, tips, diagrams, and specific targeted advice from the first tracking session with a dog to the US TD, TDX, TDU and VST titles which more than cover the skills required by both dog and handler for any tracking test in the UK and beyond. The author clearly explains the purpose of each session, whether you are tracklayer or handler (or both) and how to go about evaluating your training. Every component of tracking is covered, distance, age, wind, contamination, motivation, weather, articles, corners, proofing, overshooting, casting, backtracking, design, line length, scent etc. I cannot overemphasise what a comprehensive reference this is for anyone who would like a step by step training plan for themselves, particularly if they do not have regular access to a good tracking instructor. If you only buy ONE book on this discipline, this is it!
Modern Enthusiastic Tracking is the most detailed step by step tracking manual I have seen for CKC and AKC field and urban tracking. Sil’s love of tracking, and his desire to share his wide experience gained as a handler, trainer and judge, have inspired him to create this comprehensive curriculum for the tracking community. Designed in modules, it can instruct handlers of all experience levels who diligently practice the lessons and exercises to achieve success in tracking. It is particularly valuable for handlers who may not have other trackers or a coach/trainer nearby. Handlers and coaches can also customize their own training plan and goals: field or urban first, both simultaneously, or based on site availability and personal preference. As a tracking instructor and coach, I often use it as a workbook, having students practice a specific lesson during class time, and then completing related exercises for homework. Modern Enthusiastic Tracking (or MET) provides a fully integrated plan for keeping both long and short term goals clearly in sight. I had the pleasure of “test driving” with my own students some of the urban hard surface and contaminated grass lessons and exercises while Sil was writing them into MET, and am proud to have contributed constructive feedback on their value in improving each team’s incremental skill building. I am very excited to see the launch of this manual into the tracking community and into the hands of new dog handlers across North America. I would highly recommend Modern Enthusiastic Tracking as a resource for every tracker’s library. Maureen Fielding North Vancouver, B.C.