Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Map Maker, Map Maker, Make me a Map

When I first started tracking, Sarah impressed on me the importance of making a map. I made maps for a while, then decided it was a hassle, and had to find out the hard way that she was right. It really is true (at least for me) that "The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory."

When I neglect to make a map, I am sure to forget where I laid the track or where I placed articles. Milo doesn't generally need help finding the track, so that's not a issue with him, but he is inclined to skip over articles as if they are unwanted litter on the track. And since he tracks with such enthusiasm, we can be long past the article before I realize he's skipped over it. Doing that for a while caused Milo to develop a habit of ignoring articles, which caused me to become a bit discouraged.

Now that I'm back into map-making, I really enjoy it and use my maps to help me plan my track, to help me remember it (just the act of drawing it out helps me remember, plus I can review it before running a track in a training session), and to have a record of what we've practiced and how Milo did. Since I know when Milo's approaching an article, I can insist he stop and indicate it, then reward him richly, so he learns that articles are worth his attention.

As Sarah mentioned in her last post, I came up with a list of over fifty variables to train for (eighty-two so far, to be exact), and by looking back at my tracking journal of maps and notes, I can see what we've worked on so far. I also find it both satisfying and motivating to have a journal filling up with my maps.

Here's a track I did with Milo in July:

And here's what I did with him today, along with my plans and notes:

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog! Now, my only "correction" is that I doubt very much your handling was "sloppy" - maybe not as together as you'd like but you are a talented and careful handler and I've never observed you any other way. FWIW.

    Well done!