We met Nadine at our usual place yesterday at 9 a.m. Since we were early, we used the remote airplane field, since they can't start until 10 a.m. We didn't really expect them at all, since it was raining when we arrived. It stopped raining and went to a soft drizzle right after we started laying tracks and we even had a brief bit of sunshine. It started raining again just as we were packing up to go.
Nadine set the track I've shown here - 340 yards, three articles. We set food drops at 14 yard intervals, with two at 7 yard intervals after turns. For one turn, Nadine set an article instead of the second post-turn drop. Gimme did well with it, but was not as focused as I know she can be.
Gimme really seems to need a practice track to get her mind fully focused on tracking. I was contemplating how I would ever work in a practice track when we get entered for a trial. Then I remembered how I used to have to set up a practice search off-site before nosework trials and now I don't even worry about it. I'm guessing as Gimme gets more experience/maturity with tracking, then she'll be able to get to work faster.
While Nadine was setting the big track, I set a shorter article training track. It was four 30 yard legs, with 6 articles. The idea was to get many chances to train the article indication with a small amount of tracking.
Gimme did very well and was very focused right away. There were only three food drops, but each of the articles had cheese in them. Nadine had selected a wide variety of articles, so Gimme wasn't sure a couple of them counted, but was happy to receive pay nonetheless.
I'm happy with her indication overall. She always stops. I'd like her to lower her front end, but she can keep her butt up - like a bow. As often as we train in the rain or on very wet grounds, I have no desire to battle over whether she wants to lay down in wet grass. I don't even care if she puts her elbows down. We are working now on getting her to stop and hold position with her nose pointed down track. Her initial tendency is to paw at the article, so she turns her butt around until she's facing me. So for now, I just encourage her to get into the correct position and then I metronome feed.
This week I was able to stand up straight between treats. And by halfway through this track I was able to remain standing and just drop treats in place. It was as if she was applying what she learned in the new nosework game - where she learned to keep her head in the box and wait for treats to get tossed in. Maybe there is no relationship, but I noticed she didn't lift her head up to look at me or try to catch the treats, which is what I expected.
Tonight we went to DaPaws for practice. Out of 30 minutes, we got 27 minutes training time. She got two very brief breaks to get a drink of water while I was setting up props. She did really well and was very enthusiastic about working. It was a good session.
I just got an email from Kathy about class tomorrow. She wanted to know if I'd ever figured out how to stabilize our pretty can for the free choice behavior I want to teach Gimme. She wants to have each of us select a free choice behavior to work on for the six weeks. As it turns out I had just gotten a detergent bucket from William, which is nearly the perfect size. It needs to be washed and modified slightly - otherwise its just right. So this is my project for the evening.
Being a socker-Mom to Gimme is a lot of work... with a ton of love and joy as my reward.