Our track looked like this:
It was a fairly simple track. Only 150 yards, no aging to speak of, all left turns. For us the challenges were, the mole farm, no food drops, no food in articles, following a bitch in season who peed on course and the unknown challenge on the third leg.
Really the whole field is a mole farm - must be 100 mole hills out there. I just draw in the part where they are the most concentrated. Nadine got there before me and laid the track and was already running it with her old girl, Skookum, who has a TD already. We ran next, then Nadine with Cricket, then Paula's dog, then Gimme again, then Paula's dog ran last.
Gimme paid less attention to the mole hills this time. Given her vermin obsession, this is good. She was more interested in where the bitch in season peed. Even though there was no food on the course and none in the articles (for the first time) - Gimme did very well. The only challenge was the third leg and all the dogs seemed to be distracted there. With a little encouragement to get back to work they all did, but it was clear there was something there, even if we didn't know what it was. This is a public park, so there could have been people walking dogs across where the leg was laid, but it shouldn't have thrown off Skookum. Its a very rural area, so most likely some wildlife passed by there. Its good to address these challenges early in training.
I haven't officially sent in my registration, but there are several really good tracking training opportunities this summer. The first is a 1 day judges' education seminar which I can audit for just $60. Its about an hour from here, so I can't pass it up.
The others are a series of three weekends late July and into August training with Sil Sanders. He's quite a name in the tracking community and author of Enthusiastic Tracking. I've met him at nosework and barn hunt trials and he's a very nice person. The seminars are progressively more difficult. I am pretty certain I will sign up for all three. The first one will likely be too basic for Gimme, but I can always learn something. Besides if Nadine gets the knee surgery she is expecting, it would be a good review for us. The second weekend should be about right for us. The third weekend is about VST training and he'll set the exercises according to the dog's needs - so we'll learn a lot there. There is also the opportunity for "extensions", to expand each weekend onto Friday and/or Monday. Fridays are review days and since I'm taking these back to back and following the judges' seminars, I'll pass on those. The Monday extensions are another opportunity to train with Sil and work on individual needs, so I'm very interested in those.
This all promises to be a lot of fun. I love Gimme's versatility and her enthusiasm. Because she pulls so hard and it really made my back hurt for a week after last time, I've embarked on an exercise program to strengthen my core. Its not like I'd do this for my own benefit, but I would for Gimme.
We have a barn hunt practice nearby tomorrow afternoon. This will make Gimme happy - she's missed it.