Thursday we met with Nadine and her three Dalmatians for more tracking fun. We may have two other Dal people join us next Thursday.
Nadine laid the track for us and despite another jump in difficulty (some unintended), Gimme did very well. She's got a lot of natural talent, along with tons of enthusiasm. Here is a rough drawing of the track we did.
The fourth leg of the track went right through a bunch of mole hills (the little orange spots). Also after we laid the track a couple of guys (double dashed line) cut across the field walking right across the fourth leg and through the mole farm. The blue ovals are all the article drops - one after the start, after each corner and at the end. The wind was very slight, blowing across the field. The first leg was down the center of a shallow ditch.
Gimme really tries hard and keeps her nose down most of the time. When she is confused is when her head comes up and she tries air scenting. She does pretty good on corners, though she sometimes has to cast about a bit and sometimes I have to "remind" her to get her nose down. She was really distracted in the area of the mole farm and I thought to myself, this could be our Achilles. But Nadine reminded me she'd paid no attention to other mole hills near the track and it was more likely the cross track she was distracted to - she did tend toward our right, which was the direction the men walked.
We were first, third and fifth to run this track. Gimme ran the whole thing and this is where she distracted. Then Nadine ran one of her dogs - the one with the TD. Then we ran Gimme again doing just legs 1-3, with some extra articles thrown in. The third time we ran it, Nadine walked ahead of us dropping extra articles - I focused on rewarding the articles really strongly while Nadine walked ahead some more. We had a couple food drops on the first and second legs and added some closer together in the area of the cross track. With the food drops, while she did show interest in the cross track she stayed with ours - YEAH!
I am hoping to get a bow at the articles, since I don't expect Gimme to lay down if the grass is cold and wet. Nadine pointed out I should work to get Gimme to go to the article and hold position pointed in the direction she is moving (she wants to turn toward me), keeping her oriented down the track, so I worked on this. I've looked in the Sil Sanders book and there is a game he suggests for articles and I may do it tomorrow. I don't cue the bow, but rather shake out the treats in the glove, then lay it down and drop a treat on it. Gimme lowers her head to gobble it up and as long as she stays there I metronome feed on the glove/article and she is tending to bow on her own. She's also placing her paws on both sides of the article, which is nice.
One definite "problem" we will have is how fast and enthusiastic Gimme is. She pulls unbelievably hard, so hard I discovered I was arching back as a counter to it because my arms/hands weren't strong enough to hold her. Its great she is so enthusiastic, but she's not ready to go full tilt, no matter how often she says she's ready to enter a TDX test. I'm not ready for her to go full tilt. For one I can't move so fast for the length of a full track and second, my back still hurts. Meanwhile I'm working on some isometrics for my core.