PHOTO GALLERY: Dogs practice tracking at Cosmopolitan Park

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 | 8:38 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Trainers and their dogs took to Cosmopolitan Park on Tuesday for the dogs to practice tracking.

Judy Steinar, left, Judy Harris and Carol Clark trail behind Josie the golden Labrador as she sniffs out the "articles" stuffed with treats that have been strategically placed for her to find at Cosmopolitan Park on Tuesday. Though Josie is already certified in tracking, Steiner is training her in variable surface tracking, or Urban Tracking, made more difficult through the combination of concrete surfaces, grassy areas and buildings.
Carol Clark holds a map of where the "articles" have been left earlier for their dogs to track. Clark drives from her home in Waverly to instruct a dog tracking group that meets every Tuesday at Cosmopolitan Park in Columbia.
Carol Clark, left, Judy Steinar and Judy Harris discuss the training of Biscuit at Cosmopolitan Park on Tuesday. Steinar has been watching Biscuit while its owners are out of town. Biscuit could only watch from the windows of Steinar's car while the other dogs were able to get out and practice their tracking skills.
Nylons stuffed with cat food are used by Judy Harris to mark the pavement with scent. This helps guide the dogs over paved surfaces as they practice tracking in Cosmopolitan Park on Tuesday. Besides training her dogs in tracking, Harris is also an agility instructor at the Columbia Canine Sports Center. Both of her standard Poodles, Desi and Moni, are also therapy dogs through Therapy Dogs International.
Desi and Moni, two standard Poodles, peek out the back of Judy Harris' car as they await their turn to practice tracking at Cosmopolitan Park on Tuesday. Desi, who has been tracking for four years and has his Tracking Dog Excellence Title, is now training on variable surfaces.

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