Eli's Page


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October 22, 2010

Eli arrived in Seattle on October 21st, 2010 from Lynda Webb's Southchase Black & Tans in Oklahoma. He's a good little puppy who had an eye infection in his right eye when he was just a baby and he lost most of the sight in that eye. He needed a home, so he came here to Seattle to live with me and Buckeye. Eli was born on May 23rd, 2010 and he's 5 months old now. He flew from Tulsa to Dallas and then on to Sea-Tac, where I picked him up last night. He handled the trip very well and he was still full of energy when we got home. He was a little shy at first, but it didn't take too long for him and Buckeye to become friends, and they played together all night. Buckeye went to the vet and got his staples from his surgery out today and Eli went with us to meet the vet. They had a fun truck ride and Buckeye is teaching him everything he needs to know...how to beg for sandwich bites, how to stick his head out of the car window, and how to charm all the nurses at the vet's office.

 October 26th, 2010

 Eli suffered a little case of bloat yesterday and I had to take him to the hospital. He spent the night in the hospital getting IV fluids to flush out all the dog food in his stomach. $700 later and he's home and acting like nothing happened. I gave him too much dog food and he started having problems last night. He was pacing, drinking a lot, shaking, ect...all the symptoms of bloat. While we were there, the doctor gave us a referral to a veterinery ophthamologist so we can have his eye looked at. She thought the eye could be repaired and he could regain some vision in it. 

Friday, November 12th, 2010

 Eli, Buckeye, and I went to our first tracking class yesterday down at Flaming Geyser State Park near Auburn. We met our instructor, Aileen, and some of the other people and dogs. Eli did a good job working his first few tracks. We did a couple of short ones on concrete and a longer one over concrete, asphalt, grass, and gravel. It was a long day and the dogs were tired. I think Buckeye is a little sore today...he's limping on his right foreleg a little. Buckeye didn't get to work, but I think I'll start with him myself soon and have Eli participate in the classes. I took Eli up to the Senior Center today and we ran a couple more tracks on concrete/asphalt and he did fine. I just completed getting health insurance on the dogs through VPI, so they are both covered now in case of any more problems. Eli is starting to get more comfortable and confident. Clicker training is going good. He now knows a few basic hand commands and he's learning to focus on me. We have an appointment to see a veterinary opthamologist on Monday to look at his eye and see what can be done about the secondary glaucoma. 

 Monday, November 15th, 2010

 Eli saw the opthamologist today at  Veterinary Specialty Center in Lynnwood. The good news is the pressure in his right eye isn't so high that it's causing him pain and problems. The bad news is that he's completely blind in that eye and it will eventually be best to have it removed to prevent problems in the future. There is no hurry, since he's not in pain from it, so we'll just wait another few months so I can save up a little money.. As long as it doesn't get worse, we're okay. He was a little shy at the vet's office and he didn't want to walk up the stairs when we got there, so we took the elevator...that didn't bother him. The people were very nice there and they liked Eli. He walked down the stairs just fine when we left, so we'll have to practice walking up stairs someplace. We've been reinforcing hand commands for the last few days and working on focus. He's focusing on me a lot better now and answering to his name most of the time. We have another tracking class on Thursday. 

 Sunday, November 28th, 2010

 Took Eli up to Shoreline Center and had him run a couple of tracks today. Made things a little harder on him this time...treats further apart and variable surfaces...but he did just fine and completed both tracks. We got a lot of work to do, but he's getting there. We ran a short track about 50 yards long between the Senior center building and the building next to it. It had a couple of 90 turns and a couple of 45 turns in it, was mostly on the concrete siewalk, and Eli finished it in about 4 minutes. The second track ran along the parking lot and down between the next two buildings and was about 75 yards long. It had several 45 turns and a couple of 90 turns and was on concrete, grass, old blacktop, old blacktop covered in moss, and a heavy fallen leaf cover on ground. He seemed to have a hard time getting started on both tracks, but once he got set on them, he followed them pretty closely. On the second track, he had some trouble at a 90 that led into the thick leaf ground cover. It was only a patch about 5 feet long, but he had trouble making the transition from concrete to that cover. He overran it a seemed to give up temporarily. He finally got on and across it, but the next part was old blacktop almost completely covered in moss. He seemed to get completely lost in that, despite it being a very small area...about 25 feet in diameter. Once he finally found it, it was a 15 yard set of doglogs to the finish and he did it in about 20 seconds. Might need to just use dog food to motivate him. He doesn't seem to care that much about the hot dogs. Gave him turkey at the end, on the scent article. Dogs had a good Thanksgiving...lots of turkey and chicken. Added a few new pics to Eli's photo page

 Thursday, December 9th, 2010

 Our last tracking class of the year was today, down at Flaming Geyser. Eli was acting strangely, but he completed all the tracks. He kept laying down and refusing to get up...he did it 4 or 5 times. He didn't seem to be sick or unhappy...he just wanted to lay in the wet grass. It was rainy and very wet down along the Green River and it's about ready to flood. Our trainer, Aileen Logan, is very happy with his progress and so am I. Aileen laid a trail for Eli and then went and ran her dog for 20 minutes, allowing the trail for Eli to age. He'd never tracked on a trail any older than a few minutes, so this was a new challenge. It was over grass, asphalt, and concrete in the back parking lot and by the time we got started, the crows had eaten most of Eli's treats off of the trail. Eli seemed a little confused, but he ran the trail and completed it anyways. Since that was difficult for him, we set a couple of really easy trails with lots of treats and just let him run those afterwards. 

Monday, December 27th, 2010

 We had a nice Christmas at home and celebrated the 7th anniversary of Buckeye coming to live with us. Eli is becoming very attached to me now...he follows me everywhere just like Buckeye used to do and he runs to me when he gets scared, or beat up by Buckeye. Ever since he arrived here I've been giving him treats when I call him in from the backyard...in order to teach him recall (come when called). Buckeye always comes when I call him, so when Buckeye beats Eli to the back door, I give Buckeye the treat instead. This has taught Eli to come immediately  when called. Now when I call him, he doesn't even think...he just bolts for the back door as fast as he can. Buckeye doesn't care much either way, but Eli is determined to get the treat and deny Buck. Between that and the focus training, he pays a lot of attention to me. It's important to get a really good recall on coonhounds because they'll just take off after stuff and not think. Buckeye impressed the neighbors a few weeks ago...we were standing out front chatting and a jogger with a labrador came by. Buckeye started to go after them and I called him and he stopped and came back right away. I don't think Eli is that far along yet, but he's close. He is getting it into his head that there is nothing better out there in the world than the stuff I have and that it's always best to choose me. Or else, Buckeye will get whatever I've got.

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Eli has earned a lot of nicknames. "Little dog" is the most common, but he's growing fast and he's not going to be the little dog for long. "Left Eye" for obvious reasons. "Drooly Dog" for when he's been drinking. I think all my dogs have had that nickname at times...they all drool water a lot when they are puppies. They learn to control it...somewhat...when they get older. "Tough Guy" because he's just fearless and is always testing either Buckeye or me. 

We didn't get to go to our tracking class last Thursday...our new catering company had it's second event...so we ran a couple trails at the Senior Center last weekend. The training has been going very well and Eli is doing tracks over a 1/4 mile long now. We're going to start working on aging the tracks in the next month. Our trainer, Aileen is happy with the progress he's making and it looks like he'll be ready for a TD test in the Spring. Eli just got his AKC registration in the mail the other day, now he is officially "Southchase's Eli".

 Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

It's snowing again in Seattle, so we won't be going to our weekly tracking class at Flaming Geyser with Aileen this week. We've been getting in a lot of practice around here, though. Eli has been running tracks at the Senior Center almost every day for the last week, and we're doing some work at Hamlin Park too. We ran a track this morning around the inside of the practice field at Shoreline. It included a leg along the back where two other dogs live. Eli got distracted by their barking and it's the closest he's come to failing to complete a track. I had to coax him past the other dogs and he picked up the trail and resumed the track. Later this afternoon he completed a track around the outside of the stadium and along the front of  the Spartan building. We have an appointment next week at Nordkyn Outfitters, after our tracking class,  to get Eli fitted for a good tracking harness. I have a couple of different harnesses I use now, but they are very old harnesses I originally bought for Bobdog. and they don't fit Eli very well. Aileen and Ariel both use Nordkyn harnesses and I like them better than anything else I've seen at the pet stores. I think Eli will pull a lot better with a padded harness that fits him.

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Took Eli out three times today, twice to the Senior Center and once to the greenbelt behind the mower shop on 185th and 10th. He did really well on the first two this morning, but he kept breaking concentration during the last track at the Senior Center. I might have made it too difficult...there was a lot of transitions to hard surfaces and he's been having trouble with those. I got some new treats to use as trail bait (Zuke's Mini Naturals - Chicken bought at Great Dog for a little under $12 for a pound bag) and they smell a bit, so that helps. I've started using fresh roasted chicken as the final reward for finding the item. It's the only way Eli is going to get fresh roasted chicken, in order to help motivate him. I thought he was learning this after the first two tracks this morning. He was very excited to go and he pulled hard and wasn't distracted...even when we had to go past a barking dog to find the scent article in the greenbelt. But then the last track he kept breaking off to chase other smells. Maybe I'm just pushing him a little too much...

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Ran Eli on a track around the practice field by the Senior Center this afternoon. He's starting to handle distractions a bit better. There were kids using the stadium for practice and the usual dogs barking, along with some loud noises that made him jump a couple of times. He had no problem following the track and he finished it out strong, pulling me hard and fast. I think a new harness will help a lot...our appointment is tommorow. He wore the red step-in harness today and it shifts from side to side and can't be very comfortable to pull on. Eli is starting to get over his car problems, at least on short trips. He'll get in the truck on his own most of the time now and he doesn't get sick on short trips anymore.

 Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Drove down to Nordkyn on Thursday...it was a longer drive than I expected and we didn't arrive until 4pm. I got Eli an adjustable harness for $40. It seems to work good, except it shifts from side a side a bit. It's well padded and Eli can pull hard on it. Buckeye got to do a little tracking at Flaming Geyser...we started him out. I'm really focused on Eli right now, though, so I don't know how much work I'm going to do with Buck. We did a short beginner track this morning at the Senior Center while aging a track for Eli. Eli ran 3 tracks today in total, 2 in the practice field and 1 between the classroom buildings. All three tracks were aged 15 minutes and Eli did just fine. On the practice field this afternoon, two children saw the dog and came running over just after we'd started a track. They were a good distraction. Eli greeted them and I explained what we were doing. When I told Eli to get back to work, he went back to the trail and ran it out to the end perfectly, all with the two children following us. He's starting to show a little discipline and maturity in his work, which is good. The last track of the day was a short one through the buildings in the back, but it was 50% on concrete. He ran the first part...which was on vegetation...just fine, made a turn on the concrete, and finished the track with no trouble. He ran the concrete portion like it was grass. Conditions have been wet and muddy, with temps around 45 today. Zume's for bait and hot dogs for the treat at the end. Trying to eliminate the bait on random legs now.

 Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Four more tracks for Eli today; two this morning and two at dusk this evening. Used very little trail bait, and he skipped over a few pieces. I'm just about to the point where he'll track without the trail bait. We ran the first track this morning around 8:30am after letting it age 15 minutes. It was a simple track with 3-4 turns in the practice field, about 150 yards long, with bait on 2 legs. Eli ran it out with no trouble. After that we drove over to Ridgecrest Elementary and I laid a track along the front of the school along 165th street. It was longer and had more turns and was about 20% pavement, but I didn't age it. Eli took his time on the pavement transitions but he was very deliberate and finished the final couple legs of the track very strongly. Used a little more bait on this track, just because it was so long (about 250 yards) and had 7-8 turns and transitions. After that the three of us (Buckeye was along for the ride) went up to the Animal Hospital and used their scale. Buckeye weighs 88 pounds and Eli weighs 70. We relaxed around the house most of the day after that and went back out around 6pm to run a couple short tracks at the Senior Center. I laid two tracks back to back: Track One is a typical track between the buildings that I've been using since I started training Eli. It's short and about 50% pavement, and the crows usually steal all the bait before Eli can find it. It's between buildings, so the scent probably holds in there better than most places. It's only 50% pavement because of all the moss growing on the pavement. I consider that vegetation. Tonight the track was aged 15 minutes. Track Two is a rather short track along the back wall of Spartan Rec Center. I usually lay longer tracks back here, but this one was aged about 20 minutes so I kept it short. This track is less than 10% pavement and it was more of an ego run than anything. Eli found the sock very fast and got a big handful of hot dogs as a reward.

 Monday, March 7th, 2011

Ran two tracks over by the stadium today. The first track in the practice field was aged about 15 minutes. The dogs were out in thier yard in the northeast corner of the field and Eli was too excited to track by them. We skipped a 100 foot section and picked up the trail near the end. I put bait on two legs but I don't think he found much of it. I put even less bait on the second track and it was aged about 20 minutes. He ran it like it was fresh. Both were pretty short, I'm just trying to get some age on them now. 

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Ran two tracks this morning about 4 hours apart at the Senior Center. The early track was a loop through the buildings with a lot of surface changes. Maybe I'm just noticing it more now, but he did well on most of the transitions (surface changes, from grass to sidewalk, ect.). The track was aged 15-20 minutes. The second track was around noon on the practice field next to Shoreline Stadium. The field was very wet and the track was 20-25 minutes old. It was a simple track with 3 long legs and a short one, all 90 left hand turns. I started out next to a fence and the track led directly away from the fence. Eli had a little trouble figuring out which way to go to start...he wanted to follow the fence. I need to start some tracks in the middle of the field and let him find the direction of travel so he gets some experience with that. He ran the track well, despite the standing water and very wet conditions. He was a little distracted by the high school teams practicing in the stadium, and he now anticipates the dogs in the NW corner of the field. Even though they were not out, he broke off the trail and tried to go over to their fence. I need to take a break from training in that field and find someplace else.

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Went to the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show this morning. Only one Black & Tan there today...an old boy with a grey muzzle from WyEast. The whole show was unchanged from the last time I was there in 2005. Saw a nice Bloodhound puppy and talked his owner. They are members of Northwest Bloodhounds SAR and they were very nice. Picked up two books at the Dogwise booth: "Tracking Dog Theory & Methods" by Glen R. Johnson and "Reaching the Animal Mind" by Karen Pryor. Watched a K9 Noseworks demo by Miriam Rose. That looks like fun...she has classes in Woodinville at Positive Dog Training.

Went home and got Eli and ran another track at Ridgecrest Elementary similar to the one on the 6th, except longer. This time it was almost 400 yards long and had a lot of transitions and a serious distraction. We let it age 25 minutes and then started out. There were some people working on the front of the school and Eli wanted to watch them rather than make the first turn across the road. Once he decided he was going to work, he took off and tracked fast and close to the trail all the way down and around the corner. He hesitated and cast around a bit at the driveway crossing on 10th Ave, but picked up the trail after one circle and pulled me hard all the way to the next turn. He had the most trouble with the last turn across that wide swath of parking lot. The turn itself was on grass. He overshot it by a few feet and came back and I thought he was working normally, but he seemed to get confused and cast around for a bit. The turn was about 20 feet from the parking lot and when he finally did make the turn, he stopped again at the parking lot. He treated it like water...he didn't even want to go out and cast around. It was raining and the parking lot was very wet, with standing water. I coaxed him out there and he circled once and struck on the track and took off again. He found the sock at the end of the trail and was very happy to be done. I stopped and let him watch the people working on the school on the way back to the truck.

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Ran a track at Ronald Bog Park for a change of pace. It's a swamp...been raining on and off for weeks (centuries) now in Seattle. A guy and his off-leash dog walked around the field right after I laid the track in it, so that was a bit of a distraction. Aged the track about 25 minutes and it was only about 150 yards long. Used black gloves as articles instead of socks this time. After that we went over to the Senior Center and ran another track between the buildings...where it isn't muddy. This was a difficult track so I only aged it about 10 minutes before we started. The first part was easy enough...I walked on the sidewalk a little, then in the grass. The first turn into the parking lot was a little tricky. Eli cast about for a bit before finally hitting on it. The second right turn was on the pavement and he made it just fine after circling once. After that it was smooth sailing, except for one distraction. As we passed by the main entrance, a janitor was working out front and startled Eli a little...enough to break his concentration. He went right back to the track and finished it just fine. His end article was his little teddy bear and he seemed happy to find it. 

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Ran a track in the practice field. About 300 yards, 2 turns, aged 30 minutes. Eli still getting distracted by people and other dogs. He finished the track okay.

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Eli didn't want to track at the lesson on Thursday down at Flaming Geyser. He failed to finish his first track...the first time he's done that. I cut out the trail bait too soon and between that and the large amounts of food I feed him, he just didn't have any motivation. He finished a short second track that Ariel laid at Argus and I let him run off leash in one of their fields for a little bit. So as a result, I've gone back to baiting the track and I've cut out his 6pm feeding so he's a bit hungrier now. We've been running tracks every day...one on Friday afternoon at Shoreline Center, two on Saturday, and two (so far) on Sunday. He ran a long fresh track at Hamlin Park on Saturday morning, then ran a 70 minute old track at Shoreline Center. On Sunday morning, I noticed a bit of what looks like water on his left front elbow. I took him to the hospital and they didn't think it was anything serious. It doesn't seem to be an infection and it doesn't seem to be bothering him. If I persists, I'll take him to Aurora Vet this week and have them look at it. We ran two tracks today that were about an hour old. The first was at Ridgecrest Elementary...similar to the other tracks we've run there except backwards this time. It was 50 minutes old, about 250 yards, and there were a lot of transitions. He had some trouble getting started, but once he got going he pulled strong and finished the trail with no trouble. Then we went over to Meridian Park Elementary on 175th and Meridian and ran a track on the football fields. It was an hour old and about 300 yards. Again, he started slowly and then took off. He's a little more motivated now that he's hungry. The tracks today were laid early and we were done by 9am.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Ran a track at Hamlin Park this afternoon. Eli did fine. His new feeding schedule has him a bit more focused on the trail now. His elbow is unchanged and I still haven't taken him to the vet. We drove out to Positive Dog Training in Woodinville and met Joan Fetty today. It looks like a good place to go for lessons. I'm going to start with beginner Nosework classes for Buckeye next month, I think. Eli had Monday off and I took Buckeye out to teach him to track. I don't think I'm going to continue with him, though...I think it's a bit much for him.
Friday, March 25th, 2011

It was just Aileen and I on Thursday, so we ran some long hard tracks with Eli and Apollo. They both did very well. Eli's track was a tricky one, but he handled it great. Apollo is a fearsome tracking dog...we could barely keep up with him. After 400 yards my legs were aching. Aileen is planning on doing a TDX test with him later this month and she's worried about keeping up with him over 800+ yards. Today, Eli ran two tracks at Shoreline Center. The first was an hour old and on the practice field. It was 3pm and pretty nice out for a change. He ran the track well until we got to the distraction dogs in the corner. I had to coax him back to work, and he did what he normally does: ran the remainder of the track at a furious pace and found the lost glove very quickly. Then I let him go say hi to the distraction dogs. The second track of the day was in the buildings and was about 400 paces. About 70% of it was on pavement of some type, with the remainder on short grass. It was only aged 50 minutes, as it was much more difficult than the earlier one, with the wind blowing and swirling in the buildings.  He ran it out flawlessly. We ran it about 6:30pm, before the nightly feeding, and I could tell he was hungry. He's very motivated now.

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Ran two 1 hour old tracks today. The first was at Shoreline Center, another 400 yard track around and through the buildings. It was quiet and there were no distractions. Eli worked well, except for a difficult transition and turn where I had to guide him a little. It seems like turns on vegetation that lead to pavement within a few yards cause him some trouble. This track was probably a little more pavement-intensive than yesterday's as I ran it through an area we've never tracked in. The second track of the morning (first track: 8:45am, second: 9:15am) was at Ridgecrest and was about the hardest track Eli has ever run. It was about 400 yards with large sections of concrete and pavement. A jogger with a dog, and two kids on bikes, both stopped to talk to us while we were on the track. Eli handled two road crossings very well, but he had some trouble crossing the east parking lot at the very end of the track. He was also very distracted and I had to coax him back to work. Once he got back to work he finished the track fast, which is becoming his custom when he's distracted during his work. He earned 3 or 4 hot dogs this morning and he got to hang out with the two kids and the jogger with dog after we were done. I try to take him back to distractions after he finishes a track, so it worked out good. LATER... We tried a pair of 3 hour old tracks at 6pm this evening. Eli had considerable trouble with both of them...it was too big of a jump. The first track was a simple 150 yard track with two turns in the buildings at Shoreline Center. He was able to pick up the trail pretty strongly in places, but he made the wrong turn in the courtyard. It may be because scent was pooling back there in the closed end. I let him work it out and he finally came out and finished it pretty well. The second turn and last short leg was difficult and he worked it well. The second track was in front of the stadium and there was some event going on and a bus parked across from the stadium, so presumably there were many, many cross tracks. It was  about 120 yards and a dogleg right turn. Eli started out okay, but was distracted by all the activity in the stadium....and full from all the hot dogs he got on the last track...and he just laid down and refused to work. I llet him give up...he's had a hard day. This is his fourth difficult track of the day and he's never done this much work in one day before. We'll work tomorrow, but we'll make it an easy day.

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Took Buckeye to Shoreline Center this morning and ran a couple of short starter tracks for him, one on pavement and one on grass with a sidewalk crossing. They were only about 40-50 yards long and no turns. Buck did fine...kept his head down and pulled well. Aged a 300 yard track for Eli while we were there and came back any hour later and ran it. Something nice and easy. Eli ran it out very quickly...it was the fastest pce I've seen him track at so far. I was jogging behind him at one point. Eli and I went down to Mom's house, then we stopped by Fuzzy Buddies and met Dana. She was very nice, even when Eli growled at her big stuffed dog. We talked about tracking and when I mentioned the cemetary next door, she said I should go ask them if I could track there. So I did...I went next door to Evergreen-Washelli and they gave me permission to train there. Yay! Now I have a gigantic new place nearby to train and I can lay 800+ yard long tracks in there. So I laid a track for Eli and ran it right away. It was another easy one, with only a couple turns and about 300 yards. Oddly, Eli wouldnt eat the hotdogs when he found the glove. He ran the track just fine, he just didn't want anything to eat.

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Laid a long, 800 yard track in the east part of the cemetary and ran it right away. Had a big stretch over dirt and rocks where they are doing some construction. Eli did great...worked hard the whole way and had no trouble. He's getting a little faster and he mostly ignores food on the trail. He was working so hard he didn't even see a big, loud backhoe drive right past him 5 feet away. He got a nice chunk of basil fritatta for a reward. He seemed pretty proud of himself. After that, we drove over to the west side and laid a 390 yard track and let it age for an hour. He had a little trouble in the middle of that one...he missed a turn and pulled me a long way off the trail. We were able to work back and he picked up the trail and finished it...including a long section on pavement (roads and sidewalks) and he got the other half of the basil fritatta for that. Eli seemed fine...I think his mental endurance is improving...but I decided to quit while we were ahead. I think we'll start doing longer trails (800+ yards) at about 20 minutes and work up a little every day this week.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Ran a track 606 paces long and 30 minutes old at the cemetary this afternoon. It was windy and rainy and Eli did great on such a difficult track. He made several turns perfectly. It was mostly grass with 3 road crossings and a section about 50 feet long on sidewalk. Later on we ran a track about 300 yards long at Shoreline Center, back on the practice field. It was 50 minutes old and there were a lot of distractions. Eli didn't want to work as hard on this track, but I finally coaxed him into finishing it.

 Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Gave Eli the day off on Wednesday. He didn't like it...he sat in front of me most of the afternoon with a sock (scent article) in his mouth. We went down to train with Aileen today. She laid us a track about 600 yards and Eli ran it out pretty well. He works better when we don't stand behind him and talk. I laid a 650 yard trail for Apollo and he ran it fast. We're going to take next week off, but Aileen might come up and track with us at the cemetary one of these days. Robert Urban, the owner of Firefox, posted some photos of Eli's father and one of his brothers and sisters, too: Ch. Firefox Fifty-Five Blues "Louie" is Eli's father. We have an evaluation meeting with Steve White of I2IK9 on Friday. He's going to take a look at Eli and we might start training with him soon. 

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Met with Steve White on Friday and ran a track he laid while he videotaped us. Eli had some trouble at a parking lot crossing and Steve showed me how to use the video to assess the dog's performance and troubleshoot. Looks like we're back to pavement for awhile. Steve has a good, comprehensive reporting system for keeping track of our progress and I'm going to try to start using it here. Friday was a long day; I hurt my foot and wore out my legs, so we took Saturday off. Eli has had too much time off this week and he's just full of energy. On Sunday morning we went to Shoreline Center and worked in the maintenance area parking lot. Both Buckeye and Eli got some work in. We ran 3 different tracks 90 paces long. The weather was cool and dry, with dry ground and wind coming from the south. Eli was very excited to work and he charged up to each starting article.

1) The first track had one 90 right turn and one 45 left turn and was aged about 5 minutes. 10 inches of distilled water sprayed on the track with treats every 10 paces. Eli worked the track extremely fast, missing most of the treats (sausage dogs & Zuke's) and he blew through both turns. He overshot the 90 turn by 15 feet before he finally came back and made the turn. He went about 10 feet past the second turn before quickly coming back and spotting the glove visually and running to it. There was some trash around the second and third legs (next to a trash dumpster). Eli was very excited to work and I think that contributed to his sloppiness. Buckeye ran the same track afterwards, with the treats spaced 5 paces apart. Had problems keeping head down and wandering. Treats too far apart for Buck at this stage.

2) The next track ran along the sidewalk next to the building, on the lee side of the wind today. Scent was probably swirling along there. One 90 right turn, 10" of water, and treats every 10 feet. Aged just a few minutes. This time Eli hit about 75% of the trail bait and made the turn perfectly, although the turn was forced by the buildings. There was a set of stairs, about 6 or 7, in the middle of the second leg. Eli didn't even seem to notice them, just trailed right up them. The glove was about 10 paces (30 feet) from the top of the stairs. Eli went up the stairs and worked for about 10 feet before spotting the glove visually and running to it. I'm surprised at how much he is using his sight on pavement, I've never really noticed before. Going to have to try to hide end articles from his view when he's coming to the end of the track. This time, the stairs obstructed his view and might have helped some. Buck ran the same track with treats spaced 3 paces (about 10 feet) apart and did much better, keeping his head down most of the track.

3)  The last track of the morning ran along a building and with the wind. Several 45 turns, but nothing sharper. 10" of water and treats every 50 paces....so one in the middle. Since he missed the 90 right turn on track #1 so bad, I thought a track with a lot of 45's in it would help. He overshot all but the last couple turns on this track by several feet each. He slowed down near the end because there was a lot of trash and he was checking everything and that allowed him to make the last two turns reasonably well. His nose actually landed on the glove this time...he didn't locate it visually. Buckeye didn't run this track.

Obviously, we need a lot of work on pavement.  

Later... We ran three more tracks at Shoreline in the afternoon. The first was a track on pavement weaving through the buildings on the east side. The next two were curvy tracks in the maintenance lot. He did fine on the first track, terrible on the two curvy tracks. He's going way too fast now, overshooting every corner. Very discouraging. I guess we'll be working on simple curvy tracks for awhile.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

We've been taking it easy the last few days. I hurt my foot last week so it's been a slow tracking week. We met Aileen at Evergreen-Washeli on Tuesday and ran 4 tracks, 2 for each dog. They were about 400 yards each and relatively challenging. Both dogs did pretty good once they got started on the short grass. I took Eli to Ridgecrest and we ran a couple of pavement trails today. We ran a curvy track at the church lot up the street and then tried to run a regular track on pavement at the school, but gave up because of distractions. Videotape.

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

On Friday, we ran two curvy tracks on pavement in the
 Tabernacle Baptist Church parking lot, up the street from Ridgecrest Elementary. Videotaped both. Eli did very well on both. This morning we went over to the Shoreline Center maintenance lot and ran what I'm going to call a serpentine trail. It was a trail, but rather than corners it just wound around some obstacles and buildings for about 100 yards. This worked well and Eli kept his nose down right on the track most of the time. He ran out at a couple of points but quickly recovered back to the track. This pavement work is beginning to pay off, but it's not enough work for Eli so we went up to the cemetary. I decided to try out a serpentine track on the grass, since I've always laid straight legs. I put down two tracks end to end. They were about 400 paces each and increasingly more difficult. At the end it was wind in face, very curvy trail running over concrete, asphalt, and short grass. We started out with two short, square legs to get going, then crossed a street at an angle. A guy had his two dobermans off leash and running around and they were playing all over our trail. I coaxed Eli into working around them at first, but then our trail turned right to them. We talked to the guy for a few minutes and the dogs played a bit. I explained what we were doing and he finally left us and took his dogs. I was able to re-start Eli and he finished the last 100 yards or so as he usually does after a distraction...at a furious pace. Two crows stole some of his ham from the scent article. 50 yards away was the start of the second trail. It was a bit more difficult and there was less distractions. Eli worked very hard and made several nice turns, including one on asphalt. He worked around water and up and down a couple of little hills. Neither trail was aged much...the second one was probably 20 minutes old by the time we got to it. Eli worked very close to the trail most of the time...a result of the work we've been doing on pavement, I imagine. LATER... We went back to the cemetary around 3pm and laid a 500 yard trail and let it age 30 minutes. It seems there is always someone with a dog off leash on the west side of the cemetary and this time was no exception. A border collie ran up to Eli while he was working. Eli is getting very good at dealing with such distractions and he went right back to work. It wasn't a particularly hard track, but I did incorporate some curves. I think I'll include curved turns in all of our tracks from now on. Next we went over to the east side, hoping for less loose dogs running around. I laid a trail 500 paces starting in the construction pit and ran it right away (no age) so Eli could get some work on dirt and mud. I included curves and a turn on pavement in this track and Eli did pretty good. He had some trouble with the turn on the road, but he worked hard and eventually got through it. He worked very hard on this track and got a little foamy towards the end. After that we went up to the Senior Center and said hi to Janice and Jon Ann before working a wet track through the buildings. I laid down a serpentine trail with about 5 inches of spray, sticking to the pavement between the buildings for about 250 yards. Eli had little trouble once he got started and he finished the track very well. He's getting better on pavement. No video today...we need a helper.

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

We met Aileen at the Costco in Issaquah at 11:30am for this week's lesson. She has a great place over there to track, with huge open parking lots, retail and commercial buildings, walkways and trails and ponds and all kinds of stuff. We ran a few curvy tracks and some 90 turns on pavement with both dogs before running an aged track we laid down when I got there. Eli did very well on his corners track on pavement, keeping his head down and making each turn without circling. Food was spaced closely...about 12 inches...and we put down water, too. We talked to a woman trailing with a Newfie for a few minutes. Eli had some trouble on his aged trail. It was well over an hour old...probably about 90 minutes...and it was pavement intensive. Eli handled parts of it very well. There was a 90 right turn on pavement that led down a set of about 15 steps and across a driveway and Eli followed the trail there perfectly. But he also got lost and lost interest at several points and I had to restart him 2 or 3 times. It was a very difficult trail, with part of it passing in front of a movie theater at about 1pm, just in time for the matinee, so there were people and kids on the trail. It was also very long...at least 600 yards. LATER... We went up to Shoreline Center and ran a trail aged 45 minutes through the buildings and out behind Spartan Rec Center. It was about 400 yards and almost entirely on hard surfaces. Eli had no trouble, as there were no distractions, and he finished the trail very quickly.

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Took the first part of the week off from tracking. Eli and I went to Hidden Lake on Monday and got some exercise. Eli got more than I did. On Tuesday it was Buckeye's turn. Was busy catering an event at city hall on Wednesday. Today I laid a trail about 400 yards at Hamlin Park and let it age about 30 minutes. Eli is having trouble lately with other dog sign. He got distracted and I had to re-scent him in the middle of the track. After that he had no trouble and finished the second half of the trail well. Many surfaces and obstacles...dirt/trail, bark, gravel path, asphalt path, rocks, and short grass. At one point the trail ran down a slight hill and over a short rock wall (along the back of the ball fields) and Eli had to follow it down and jump off the wall and then cross an asphalt path, which he did perfectly.

.Monday, April 18th, 2011

On Friday we ran pavement tracks at Ridgecrest and Shoreline Center. On Saturday we ran a couple of long tracks at Evergreen-Washeli. On Sunday morning we went to Shoreview Park (Hidden Lake) and ran a track around the gravel soccer field and up the stairs. Sunday afternoon we went down to Fairveiw Library in Renton for the King County Search Dogs prospective member meeting. Today we took the day off from tracking and worked on some clicker stuff (take it).

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Yesterday we ran a track 335 paces and 45 minutes old at Shoreline Center. It was about 50% grass, 25% dirt trail, and 25% pavement. Eli had to be re-scented twice...that is becoming a habit now...and he does very well once he is re-scented. I am learning to watch for his "I'm lost" signal now. Weather was clear and dry, about 55. Today I laid a track 460 paces long and almost entirely hard surfaces...pavement and sidewalks. We let it age about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, someone took our start article...an old tube sock...so I had to start the poor dog on the trail. He picked it up quickly, though, and had no trouble at any point on this long, difficult track. He made several turns on pavement perfectly, without circling. He had to cast a bit on one turn in the middle of a parking lot, but otherwise made all the turns in fine fashion. The trail ran along the front of Shoreline Center, down between the first two buildings, around the back and ended down in the loading ramp on the Spartan side of the complex.

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

We tried a couple of new places today. First we went over to the Gateway office building off of Ballinger Way. It is deserted and makes a great small area to track in. I laid a trail 370 paces long through the parking lot, out into a dirt and grass area, back through the parking lot, up and down the stairs and along the front of the building. Eli had some trouble staying focused on the first half and I had to re-scent him a couple times. The second half...up the stairs and along the walkway in front of the building...went well. The track was aged 30 minutes and we ran it at 2:20pm in dry 50 weather. It took us about 15 minutes to complete. After that we went to Holyrood Catholic Cemetary and got permission to train in there. I laid a track 500 paces mostly on grass and we let it age 30 minutes. I included an intermediate scent article...an eyeglass case...in the middle of the track. Eli did the first half of this track pretty well, then we crossed a road into a section of the cemetary that was being mowed. A guy on a riding mower mowed over our track while we were waiting for it to age! This was certainly something new, and it caused Eli to cast about a lot looking for the scent. He had a tough time but he managed to slowly work through it with very little help from me. It took 20 minutes to run this track and Eli was pretty foamy by the end...he had to work pretty hard. LATER... Went back to Holyrood and laid another 500 pace trail at 4:30pm...this time we let it age 55 minutes. It was about 50% pavement, with some tough spots...a 90 turn in the open, a direction change across a road at an angle, and a zig-zag down another road. He had a little trouble on those transitions, but he worked them out. Eli was much more focused on this trail and the next one than he was earlier in the day...maybe closer to feeding time?  The last trail of the night was 310 paces at Shoreline Center, just up the street. This one was a little different than what we've done before. The trail started behind the Senior Center dining room and ran west between the buildings and then out and around to the south, making a large loop through the parking lot. There was a scent item (eyeglass case) in the middle of the trail. There was some activity at the Senior Center and a lot of people around. Eli worked very hard and had good concentration, but he had difficulty with two high auto traffic areas in the parking lot...in front of the thrift store and at the 185th St. entrance. Considering he hasn't done many auto cross tracks, he did okay. This trail was aged 40 minutes and took us 15 minutes (5:15pm laid/5:55pm start/6:10pm fin).

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Just two tracks at Holyrood this afternoon, plus a wet S track in the Evergreen Baptist Church parking lot. I laid a trail 400 paces in the southeast area of the cemetary at 12:50pm. It was sunny and dry and the trail was 90% grass with a couple street crossings. I left a midpoint scent article (eyeglass case) and he found it just fine. The last section was mowed after I laid the trail, so Eli had to deal with that again. He worked better today and finished the trail only to find the final article missing. I threw down a glove to finish and gave Eli some treats. This trail was aged 1 hour and took 15 minutes to complete. The S track was 5" of water, 5-6 curves, bait at 24". We ran it right away (at 2:30pm) and Eli did just fine. He missed about half the treats...he just wanted to go. He kept his head down and made all the curves tight. The last trail was 466 paces along the northwest side of the cemetery. It was almost entirely grass, with only one road crossing. We aged it 50 minutes and took off. Was distracted at the road crossing by another dog leaving the area with it's owner, then when I got him back on he jumped a squirrel from less than 2 feet away. Normally he ignores squirrels, but he's never been that close to one. The trees are spaced a bit apart, and the tree the squirrel was under wasn't big enough to hide in, so the rodent ran for a bigger tree 25 yards away. Eli followed. Even after all these years, I'm still surprised when I see how fast a coonhound can run when it REEEEALY wants to. They started out 2 feet apart and they stayed 2 feet apart until the squirrel got about 8 feet up in that tree.. I *could* have held the 30 foot tracking line and stopped Eli in his harness if I had to...but I didn't have to so I just let him go. The whole area is very well fenced in and I knew where they were going, anyways. I got him off of the tree very quickly and explained to him that he shouldn't run squirrels...he huffed and puffed and finally went back to work and finished the track.

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

First trail of the day: Holyrood cemetery. Laid a long trail 751 paces at 7:30am and let it age 55 minutes. Clear and sunny, 45. We started at 8:25am and the grass was very wet with dew. The track was 80% grass with some road sections thrown in. The dog was well focused and we didn't need to re-scent. Overall he did a great job on one of the longest trails he's ever run. Only took 10 minutes. After that we got Buckeye and ran him on a couple of wet tracks in the parking lot. Second trail of the day: Gateway business park area @ 8:50am I put down a trail 572 paces...around the back parking lot, across the footbridge, and around in front of the movie theaters. Aged it 45 minutes and started at 9:35am. Eli did very poorly and gave up in front of the movie theater. Re-scenting didn't help...he just simply stopped trailing and gave up. He failed the trail about halfway through and I just packed him up and took him home. No idea why he quit on me. LATER...Laid a track 901 paces at 6:15pm at Holyrood. It has warmed up considerably and is 70 and sunny. This trail was about 70% grass, with several hundred feet of tricky pavement worked in. I placed a cloth scent article at about 700 paces into the trail. We got 40 minutes of age on it and started at 6:55pm. The first part of the trail ran through the upper parking lot and Eli become distracted by...of all things...songbirds on the ground. He was completely ignoring me so he got his first "correction", ever. I smacked him on the butt. He was more shocked than hurt because I'd never done anything like that before. He never gets any sort of physical punishment of any kind. While I'm not likely to do it again anytime soon, it helped a lot. I re-scented him and Eli finished the remaining 600+ yards very well, head down and moving very quickly. He worked well and was casting efficiently the whole way. Next we went over to Shoreline Center and ran a trail I laid there at 6:30pm. It was 586 paces and had a scent article (Eli's beanie baby bear) at 171 paces. This trail was 90% pavement. We started at 7:25pm, so the trail was 55 minutes old. Eli kept his nose down and ran the whole trail very well. He even checked in with me 3 times (looked back at me)...he's been trained to do this, yet he rarely does. Notes: The last few days we've worked on longer trails and kept age around 45 minutes to an hour. In the next few days we'll drop the length of the trails down to 400-500 paces again and start raising the criteria for age. We need to work up to about 3 hour trails in the next week or so.

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Back to Holyrood this morning at 8:50am to lay a trail 340 paces long in the southeast area. Cool and damp, about 45. Intermediate cloth scent article at 180 paces. 90% grass. We ran it at 10:20, so it was aged 90 minutes. After some casting at the start, Eli got going and had no trouble with this trail. He found the tan cloth scent article easily and then found the glove at the finish. It took about 15 minutes to run this trail. After that I laid another trail in the northeast part of the cemetery 362 paces with a scent article at about the 200 pace mark. We came back and ran that at 12:15pm and Eli had a bit of trouble staying on the trail and needed to be re-scented several times. We were also distracted by two groups of people directly in our trail. There were a lot of people in the cemetery this Easter Sunday.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Took Monday and today off from trailing. Worked on some obedience training instead. One of the nice ladies at the senior center gave us a toy, so we practiced 'take it' and 'give it'. We've been working on that one for a week or so, possibly as a start to a formal article indication. We've got about 15 items that we practice with...a few stuffed animals, gloves and socks, tennis balls and black Kong toy, dish sponge, rope toys, bones, and eyeglass cases. 'Sit' was the first thing I taught Eli, so he's good at that. But up until now it has been indiscriminate...when I say 'sit', he might sit down where he's at or he might walk over and sit down in front of me. So starting on Monday, I began working on some differentiation. From now on 'sit' will mean 'sit down right where you are now', and 'front' will mean 'come to me and sit in front of me close enough that I can touch you'. 'Side' will mean 'come to me and sit at my left side'...that will probably be a temporary command until I get 'heel' completely worked out. By this afternoon, I had Eli starting to get the hang of 'side'. If I stand next to a wall he'll sit nicely with his leg aligned with mine. He'll take a few steps at 'heel' and then sit on his own when I stop, so I must have done it right. Behavior chains can be hard to train and we're off to a good start, so I'm happy. As for the other two, 'front' and 'sit', we haven't worked on them much yet...probably tonight and tommorow. I taught Eli a hand signal for 'sit', too, so what I'll do is cue the behavior with the hand signal and reward whatever behavior I get and attach the verbal cue at the same time. So I'll give the hand signal...if the dog sits where he is, I'll say 'sit', and C/T. If the dog comes and sits in front of me, I'll say 'front' and C/T. Once he understands the two different cues, I'll fade out the hand signal and clean up the behaviors. Hand signals are really useful, so eventually I'll attach new ones to each behavior. This is an added bonus...those new signals will be much stronger than using what will soon be a poisoned hand signal. 
Saturday, April 30th, 2011

On Wednesday I laid a track 460 paces at Holyrood and let it age 50 minutes just to try out Eli's new harness from Ruff Wear. He ran the trail without any trouble and found an intermediate scent article (tan felt) easily. I lost my black pen while taking notes on this track. We went over to the church parking lot on 5th ave and ran a track 150 paces on the wet asphalt. We have completely eliminated treats on the trail again, only feeding the dog at articles. We ran the asphalt track immediately and Eli cast well and kept his head down in about half the curves. At 6:10pm we ran another mixed pavement track at Shoreline Center between the buildings with no bait. Eli trailed very well and finished the trail fast. Flaming Geyser was pretty wet and swampy so we skipped training down there on Thursday. We stayed home on Thursday and Friday and worked on various obedience skills. We began working on Sylvia Trkman's competition heeling excercises on Thursday and by Saturday morning Eli was able to spin around in both directions...although he's much better going clockwise. I think it's hard for him to go the other way because he's blind in one eye...try closing one eye and turning, it's easier to see things coming from one direction than the other.  Today we went back to trailing at Holyrood. Started off with an easy track: 253 paces all on grass with a scent article in the middle. We let it age 35 minutes and took off. Eli ran the trail perfectly, making nice turns and finding the article easily. Next we went over to the church parking lot on 5th ave again and ran a trail 203 paces, partly through the grass. It was about 70% pavement. The weather today was sunny and 56. We ran this trail immediately and Eli was fast and pretty accurate. He handled the distraction of two dogs barking at him and continued to work well. For the last trail of the day we went back to Holyrood and laid a trail 194 paces at 4:15pm. We started the run at 6pm, so the trail was aged 1 hour and 45 minutes. I put a hard 90 zig zag about 50 paces into the trail and Eli handled both turns very well. Then he indicated an item...except I didn't put an item there today. I went to look at his indication and it was the black pen I dropped on Wednesday. Cool. He then went on to find the tan felt intermediate scent article and finish the trail beautifully.

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Met Aileen in Issaquah on Sunday. Couldn't get Eli started on the trail she laid for him. No idea why he couldn't work. No trailing on Monday or today...worked on heeling some more.

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Took some time off from tracking to work on various cues and behavior chains. We started tracking again on Thursday with a short track at Holyrood late in the afternoon. I laid a trail 232 paces with an article at 100 paces. It was sunny and 60. We only let it age 5 minutes...I just wanted to run a track and get back to work. The trail was almost all grass. Eli was great and he ran the track very fast and accurately. On Friday I laid another one at Holyrood and let it age 30 minutes. This time the trail was only 221 paces and no article in the middle. This track was mostly paved...about 85%...and went up the sidewalk in the middle of the cemetery and across the upper parking lot. Another sunny, warm day. Eli ran this track very well, too. The 9 day break from trailing made him a little crazy and I could tell he wanted to get out and do something. We're going to hold it down to one trail a day for now in order to keep this level of enthusiasm. Today we ran a trail 483 paces I laid at Holyrood at 12:10pm. We let it age 80 minutes and went to work. Eli had no trouble and he found all 3 articles. This trail was 90% grass and had a scent article at 300 paces.

Monday, May 23rd 2011

Today is Eli's birthday!  We've been working for the last week, but not too hard. I just haven't kept this page updated with notes, so I'm going to catch-up right now.

On Sunday the 15th I laid a trail at 10am at Holyrood and then went to the senior center to help Janice finish some catering. It took a little longer than I thought and the trail was 4 hours and 30 minutes old by the time Eli and I got started on it. It was a cold day and it had been raining all morning and Eli could not get started on the trail. We ended up just walking it and picking up the articles. Too big of a time jump for Eli to handle, considering the weather conditions. We're mainly working on increasing trail age right now as I'm concerned that Eli isn't trailing after about 2 hours.

On Tuesday the 17th we ran a trail 251 paces at Holyrood. The weather has changed and it's warm (60) and sunny for the next few days. I only let this trail age 70 minutes and Eli ran it out well.

On Thursday the 19th we did it again...another trail at Holyrood. It was 380 paces and laid at 2:10pm. 90% grass, 65 and sunny. This trail was aged 2 hours and 15 minutes and Eli had trouble getting started. Shortly after we began a car pulled up and a couple of dogs and women got out. That distracted Eli enough that he lost his concentration. It was a poorly run track.

On Friday the 20th we went back again and ran an easy trail. This one was 517 paces and only aged about 40 minutes. This was a confidence builder, since we haven't had a lot of great successes lately. It was warm and dry, 70 and a nice day for a walk. Eli did a great job.

Today we finally got away from the cemetery and went back to Shoreline Center. I laid a trail in the buildings 256 paces at 4:40pm. It was another nice, sunny afternoon with the temps around 62. We ran it at 5:45pm, so it was 65 minutes old...an easy birthday trail to improve confidence. Eli overran one turn pretty bad, but he was able to recover fast and finish the trail. He ran this one very well. We went for a walk by the stadium afterwards and Eli got excited by all the activity and ran headfirst into a fire hydrant. No apparent damage, but it looked like it hurt.

Friday, October 18th, 2013

It's been a little while since I updated Eli's page...about two and a half years...so here is an update. He's still doing great and we are still tracking. He is a full grown hound now, weighing 97 pounds at his last vet visit a month ago. He has a microchip now and he's getting used to his new buddy Woody. I've been collecting photos of the dogs in Eli's line and I've created a page showing some of those dogs.

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Eli got a Whistle for Christmas and has been wearing it for about 3 weeks now. It seems to be working pretty good. It keeps track of his activity and reports it, via my home wi-fi network, to my iPhone. The device just came on the market...I ordered mine in the summer before they were available. It's kind of cool, but right now it doesn't do a lot. I'm quite interested in seeing them develop it to do more things...reporting the dog's vital signs or a GPS position, for example...and that is a big reason I bought one. The charge lasts for about 10 days and it only takes about an hour to fully charge. So far Eli has been very active. I set his daily goal at 90 minutes, which is about double the recommendation for dogs his size, and he meets that goal most of the time.  

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Eli's 4th birthday was last Friday and we celebrated by going for a car ride and doing a little Nose Work training. Eli's Whistle got wiped out a few weeks ago, but they are sending us a new one, plus WhistleGPS units for Woody and Hubert. Eli is doing well but he hasn't gotten out too much yet this year. I hope to start working Eli into the training rotation now that the weather is improving and the other two are becoming older and more advanced in NW. I want to do a little bit of tracking and also try to get Eli at least to ORT level eventually. We haven't done much boxwork yet...just a few fun sessions. He's picking it up and on Friday night he understood what to do right away when he saw the boxes.