Tag Archives: Coaching

What’s Your Why?

Thanks everyone for all of the messages about 2023! I love hearing from you. Mandatory reading for all Coaches is Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. I planned to start blogging again (I was an original blogger in the day!) next weekend but wanted to talk a bit about 2023 tracking and why I organize it as I do.

Registration Forms for 2023 are now online

Kendra and Rosie


Over the years I’ve changed a focus from CKC and sport tracking to just “good tracking.” Yes you need to know rules for sport but if you have a passion for tracking you’ll want more than the title and ribbon.

I started out in the 80s with mentors in law enforcement, conservation officers and SAR. That turned into CKC tracking for many years and great experiences. Moving to Alberta I’ve been drawn back to my roots in SAR – not as an active participant but to help others.

I’ve been fortunate to learn RCMP tracking methods from the head trainer and to have good dogs to apply the training to! I’m following police and security dog trainer Dick Staal and former military tracking and trailing master Jeff Schettler (GAK9). K9 Manhunters is a popular Fb group following these standards too.

My Goal as a Coach and Instructor

I want the same for everyone I work with. I want you to succeed at and love tracking. Not for a ribbon or title but as an activity that is natural for our dogs and bonding plus good for your own growth, soul and spirit. Goals are important and great but let’s remember to aim for excellence.

So how does this relate to 2023?

Location Location Location

Location is in your best interests (I drive there too!) It’s 1.5 hours one way for me and part of the ritual as far as I’m concerned. Of course this crazy climate change is wreaking havoc on the shoulder seasons but we track in all seasons and it’s worth the drive.

I stick with Olds and Red Deer as I’ve taught tracking in those areas since shortly after moving to Alberta. It’s central!

On top of that, Olds is one of the best places I’ve tracked and I want the best for you. And I’ve tracked and judged across Canada.

On top of the varied and beautiful venues, these areas are less busy than Calgary, more dog friendly for tracking in small groups, easy to drive around, relaxed and they are where tests are (for sport people).

There’s enough room for us to all have working space galore on a full day of lessons and enjoy a variety of exercises. If you’re a SAR tracker or have other goals, the area also offers great open space, fields and green space and friendly neighbourhoods and back lanes.

*you may see fees are higher this year. It’s because of gas and insurance prices and it’s not going to my pocket 😩


We move around a bit for experience of course. But a hub that we know well makes for more consistent training lessons. I’m grateful to everyone who has converged there for going on 13 years now! I swear I see ghosts of dogs (my own and others) every time I’m there.

Foundations Followed by Independence and Discipline

I always offer beginners foundations. People need to start somewhere and to understand what tracking is.

The beauty of tracking is that you can train on your own. In fact the simplicity of tracking and that time alone is one is the reasons most of us love it. Yes you need foundations. But to progress you must get out and work on them. Tracking is a discipline.

As a professional coach I aim for habits and autonomous skills. Until you put in the time repeating straight lines, L-tracks, transitions, starts, article indications – you won’t develop the line handling, footwork and multi-tasking you need. Plus you won’t develop the intuition and second sense required for good tracking.

We don’t do this in lessons. I count on you to do it alone or with a Buddy and to show up prepared. Lessons are not for practice.

Teaching, Mentoring and Coaching

You know that there’s a difference between coaching and instruction right? I try to find the balance with everyone. In the beginning it’s a lot more about teaching which is different from coaching aside from setting some goals and motivating people.

Instruction and teaching start to combine with coaching as people advance. Eventually people get to know their own dogs, the line they like, how they reward and what kind of practice best suits them. I love this and step back to keep them going and “light there a spark” in the words of outdoor educator Freeman Tilden.

Finally there is mentoring combined with coaching. Sharing, caring and preparing. Coaching through the mental hurdles that come with reality and testing. Keeping those goals and that confidence alive.

Lessons Focus

In lessons I can help tweak, observe, suggest and help. But unless you present progress you’re essentially floating down the river and my job is to help you cross it. I’m not in this to have students that coast along and not put in the work – that’s just not rewarding!

My joy and job is to push you to grow as a team. Your job is to push yourself and be accountable to yourself and fair to your dog.

Time and Miles – and Passion!

In tracking we say it’s about “time and miles.” It’s a reason so few go beyond beginners titles. It’s also a reason there is a deep passion in our small world. That grit and determination to do better. Not for ribbons and tests. But to be a good tracker.

It’s no different than my other passion of sheep herding and stockdogs. I’m fortunate to work with people who want good dogs that can work sheep first, not dogs trained to pass courses in trials.

Why Small Groups?

After graduating from Coaching (out of Erickson College’s Int’l Coach Federation sanctioned program) I tried lessons online. I have discovered that coaching always works for accountability, habits, confidence, goal setting and lasting change.

As far as the other piece – teaching – goes, I found that beyond webinars for specific topics or concepts, in person is still the best for me. I need to see you work to help you the most.

My smaller groups are to make sure you get quality time because tracking instruction takes a lot of space and time per team.

Showing Up

Guess what? YOU need to see others to grow too. While we train alone we do not test or search alone. We all work together and it’s a tradition to help others and work together. It’s a part of tracking. So we show up.

We show up ready. We show up willing to put in the time and miles not just for ourselves but for the greater good whether that be SAR or tests or simply to support and encourage each other and make the slogging fun.

The Circle

Last August at the tracking camp over dinner I asked people to prepare a few words about what they would say to new trackers. I was overwhelmed by one theme.

It was about the group. The people. The togetherness. The support. The lack of competitiveness. The tradition of helping that we enjoy and maybe take for granted in tracking. I heard voices crack with emotion on this topic.

I try to set up my training to lay the groundwork for this too. I want this for you. I don’t just want good tracking. I want an excellent life experience all the way around for all of my students and friends.

Back to My Why

I may not judge for a year but can’t imagine giving up coaching tracking. It is an inspiration to me to see others and be around like-minded people and keeps me motivated to work my own dogs. Plus despite the independent training we do need that small village as we advance.

I am always thrilled for everyone and every milestone and success. Tracking instruction brings me challenges, it makes me exhausted. And it is my joy.

We all need this motivation. We all need to be around others to grow. We also need to be with a group to learn to work together and help each other. This is actually an essential skill in tracking. It’s why I prefer a small group at first, before 1:1 lessons. I save the 1:1 for advanced trackers who I KNOW “get it.”

If you can’t make it I understand. I know I’m not the only person who teaches tracking. However I highly recommend Dick Staal’s online training if you can’t make it to lessons this time. You’ll find the link on his Fb page.

Thank you

I’m so grateful for the people who keep coming to experience the same togetherness and to help each other. Thank you to the people I’ve tracked with and learned from since 1985! The professionals and the CKC people. For me, seeing the sheer joy on the handler side of of the line never grows old, and I’ve been instructing for 28 years now!

I’m damn proud of my resume and accomplishments in tracking. I’ve worked hard and enjoyed every minute. I’ve learned from the rough experiences too and try to share this to help others. I’m a continual learner, still working with my own dogs.

I love the contacts and friends I’ve made across Canada and in the States. I love the dogs! But most of all it’s the people in this circle that make me the most happy. Thank you for trusting me to be part of your journey.

What’s Your Why?

I hope this inspires you to think about why you are doing this as it will help you with goals and to choose the training path that is best for you.

See you in 2023! (Or, this weekend and next as the 2022 season comes to a close)

Olds College September 2021

Tracking Alert! 4Winds Tracking 2023!

Updated November 26 – see below Beginners Workshops, Lessons, Fun Days and Tracking Camp – November 26 Updates to dates noted below.

Tracking Alert! 2023 is shaping up now with a blend of new and regular training. Here’s a look at what you can register for! Details about each session follow below.

Registrations are now available for each session along with deadlines. If you are keen, please contact me to let me know so I have an idea of numbers and expectations.

Update – Note that the March beginners workshop has been moved to April due to fears about weather. The registration form will be updated. Deadline to register is March 10.

See below for lesson updates

  • Tracking 101 Blog Series will begin November 19 – watch for the blogs on a variety of topics for the beginner and seasoned tracker.
  • Beginners Workshop Weekends in April and August – Intro to Tracking and Tracking Foundations
  • Lessons February – May are full.
  • 1:1 Lessons from June through September by arrangement
  • Trailing – monthly trailing group fun days – aiming at int’l GAK9 standards – you must have tracking knowledge and basics to take part
  • Tracking Camp is moved to September!

Registration Forms are now online

Two Beginners Workshop Weekends March date changed to April!

  • April 22-23
  • August 12 – 13

These workshops will combine indoor learning and presentations with outdoor exercises. They are designed for beginners. If you have never tracked or are not sure how to work on foundations, mark these dates on your calendar! By the end of day two you should be ready to work on your own or with a tracking buddy on foundations such as

  • How to get your dog’s nose down to follow a scent
  • How to encourage forward, independent motion along the track
  • Article importance, type, and indications
  • Start routines
  • Working on different surfaces
  • Motivating your dog (it doesn’t take much!) to be a happy tracker
  • Progressing from short straight lines to curves and turns
  • Aging the track
  • How to lay good practice tracks

There will also be information about what you’re aiming for. What is tracking? What can you do with it? Should you aim for kennel club tests or Search and Rescue or both? These foundations will be suitable to all tracking venues, preparing you for whichever path you choose.

Location: Olds / Red Deer, Alberta

Fee: $400 / working team; limited to 6 working teams
Auditors are welcomed – $250 to audit all weekend
Lesson participants taking monthly lessons may audit for $50 (what a bonus!) if you’d like reminders about foundations.


1:1 Lessons

From February 1 to September. Your dog must be able to track and have foundations in place for a lesson. Lessons are 1.5 hours. Fee is $125. Due to gas prices I will limit travel and try to organize lessons accordingly. Locations may be in Calgary or Olds.

Trailing Days

I am working to establish a standard for trailing sport tests to come to Canada using the GAK9 standards (used in the US and Europe. Standards have various levels for beginners, specialist and master tracking in both urban and forest or field. GAK9 can be found online and on Facebook. K9 Manhunters, a popular social media channel, follow GAK9. Trailing is suitable for SAR and can be fun for sport trackers as long as you will continue to work on precision in your tracking and not allow the dog too much fringing. Tracks can be from 400 m to over a kilometer long.

Watch for Trailing Days to be announced. There will be criteria and standards for participants.

Annual Tracking Camp Is Moving to a New Date!

Mark September 9-10 tentatively on your calendars! We hope for cooler weather and to prep for Fall tests.

  • Smaller participant numbers
  • Less long tracks and more focus on skill and age
  • Some trailing “certifications” (pretend – practice for GAK9) will be offered
  • Urban Day followed by a field day
  • Group meals
  • Annual 4Winds Circle of Excellence presentation

Tracking Camp details will be announced soon. Maybe we will have a ‘surprise’ guest presenter or judge… stay tuned!

News! All things tracking – upcoming events, lessons and workshops!

We are expanding! I’m very excited to offer more coaching and growth to clients as the dream (formally known as a business plan) unfolds to become reality!

Moments like this always remind me of why I love to teach and coach. Teaching tracking takes a lot of planning, time and space and I’ve found the small groups work best so everyone gets a lot of hands on work all day. This is Connie and Birdy last weekend!

Across Canada you won’t find a lot of tracking clinicians or instructors because of the effort it requires! I’m proud to be one of them and enjoy seeing people learn and grow in the sport I have loved for 33 years! Thanks for letting me part of your journey!

I love to coach and teach and have done both for years. Did you know these are different activities with different techniques and outcomes? Many people think they are the same but they are not. Read more!

Teaching is prescriptive and directive. It’s instruction focused on skills and learning foundations.

Coaching is focused on growth, mastery and independence once skills are in place. It challenges people to draw on their knowledge to solve problems, set goals and pursue excellence. Coaching does not have a mandatory regulatory body meaning anyone can say they are a coach. I’m proud to have spent 2 years formally studying Professional Coaching.

Zoom tracking building blocks, Mock tests, urban certifications, 1:1 lessons, Scent theory and skills one day workshop, tracking retreat and more!

Online building blocks

Coming soon! Online mini-workshops on all things related to tracking that you want to know more about! Watch for details and for polls to choose topics of interest!

These FUN, short, 1 hour long online sessions will be on weeknight evenings. They will provide a detailed, up close and personal review of things we want to know more about. Some are more easily shared with visuals and graphics or whiteboards – and we don’t always have time to cover them in depth in lessons and workshops! Read more!

They will include articles, maps, plotting, turns, equipment – lines, harnesses etc. Watch for polls to pick your favourite topics! There will be interactive discussion and sharing and loads of questions are welcomed!

Fee: $15 for one hour for current students. $25 for non-students.

Learn more about articles and other fun topics in tracking – fun discussion and presentation

Mock Tests and Urban Certifications

April 15-17 Tracking UTD and UTDX Mock Tests and urban certifications are being offered. I will travel in a circuit to meet people wishing to test themselves for upcoming tracking tests. These will be test level judged blind tracks with video and critique (by me, an actual Judge!) I am working on securing fields for TD or TDX. If I’m successful I’ll add to this post! Read more!

Be ready for your test whether it’s a CKC test or a SAR validation – know where your at and what to work on

Fee: $75 for a plotted and aged track, judging and video, critique and map. Afternoon group workshop and training tips for test success tailored to the teams taking part. There will be an additional $25 to attend the afternoon session.

Help and Observe – track lay to learn more! If you’ve never seen a tracking test this is an amazing opportunity to see how they work, lay a track with the judge and watch the teams. Fee to observe and be a tracklayer is $50 for the day. As we plot and lay tracks I’ll explain the rules and theory of judging. As we follow each team I’ll point out how we judge.

Registration will be posted shortly. Watch for it here!

Locations – 6 mock tests offered per day in these locations followed by the afternoon group sessions.

April 15 – Red Deer
April 16 – Olds
April 17 – Calgary

Watch for more information!

* Urban certifications for people wishing to enter UTD first are offered for no fee (as a CKC judge I am to support this initiative). A small travel fee as honorarium will be requested to cover gas (I mean yikes have you seen the gas prices lately?) 😮

1:1 Spring Coaching and Lessons begin April 1st

Coaching is for current students wishing to continue to fine tune skills, prepare for tests and reach for higher goals.

Lessons will be for new students who are beginners to tracking or who have never worked with me and wish to learn new techniques and skills. Read more!

Lessons will begin on Fridays and Saturdays. Wednesday evenings will be added as days warm up! Lessons are 1.5 hours and include video and tailored homework. I

t’s recommended that people aim for a lesson every two weeks, with the exception of advanced trackers who may like weekly sessions.

One 15 minute call / email/ video review requesting help for a problem can occur between sessions.

Fee: $85 per lesson or 5 lessons package for $375.

June 5 1-day Trackers only (no dogs!) Workshop

Scent theory and Tracking in-class Seminar. Location and details to be announced shortly.

Classroom presentation, booklets, outdoor work including mapping, scent demonstrations and other skills – urban, field and forest. ***NEW – If you wish to enrol for Summer or Fall 1:1 lessons this session will be mandatory. Another will be offered in August for new students in Fall lessons. Read more!

Become part of our amazing circle! This is the place to find new friends and discover your passion for tracking. We welcome you to join us! Read more!

You can be a presenter! Share your story, with help to develop a presentation. Read more here!

Tracking Retreat! July 1-3, 2022

This is for dedicated, hard core trackers who can’t get enough! A full weekend of presentations, tracking and sharing. Location and details to be announced soon!

FULL and underway! 3 Winter Workshops for Beginners, New to Urban and Advanced Skills

Thanks to everyone for signing up for these fun weekends. Watch for a post describing the workshops so far, or check out the 4Winds Facebook page, social links are below.

Looking for tracking lessons? To start Urban tracking? For advanced skills coaching? Read on! Starting February and ending in April – winter and spring are the best times to learn! Advanced teams – be ready for spring tests! Suitable for sport and SAR trackers seeking tracking skills for validations.

Sign up for 3 weekends of tracking coaching – one full day for beginners and new to urban and one full day for advanced skills each weekend.

Dates are Feb 26-27; March 12-13; April 9-10 2022. Each weekend will be in a new location in Central Alberta.

Maximum of 4 dog-handler teams per day for optimal and progressive learning with individual lesson plans provided tailored to you and your dog.

Course fee: 250/team/day. $200 per team/day if signing up for all three.

Deadline to register for all three is February 11, 2022. Deadline for February only is February 1, 2022.

Registration: For details and registration:


All workshops are COVID-19 compliant and participants will be required to sign a waiver to participate. In the event of inclement weather new dates will be determined in consultation with all participants.