Here is our track from June 16th. The conditions were fair, warm and breezy. There hadn't been rain in a long time and this followed a long hot spell, so it was really dry. The track was 470 yards long and contained 4 articles (eyeglass case, small back purse, hot pad and glove), plus a brown start sock.
The first leg crossed, paralleled and then recrossed a foot path where we'd seen someone walk with a dog after we laid the track. The third leg was the along the edge of the hill and the fourth leg passed a small tree with a lot of brush near it. Gimme was briefly attracted to these "obstacles" but then moved on. The fifth leg started straight across a field of dry grass, then crossed a paved road, meandered alongside a bunch of blackberry vines, went down a hill to cross a small ditch, then crossed into and followed a mowed path. The last leg on this diagram disappeared in turning it into a .jpg file, but it goes straight along the mowed path between the two flags and ends at the glove.
Gimme isn't much concerned by any of these distractions, possibly because she's seen them from the start of our training. She crossed the paved road as if she'd invented the concept. She was only briefly distracted a couple of times by the blackberry vines and this in spots where there were probably game trails. She crossed the ditch as if it didn't exist (not so easy for me). She slowed down when we got on the mowed path, but persisted and accomplished her goal of finding yet another glove. She does love her articles.
None of the dogs were the least bit confused by what direction to go on this unusual start. Gimme sniffed less than a foot in the "wrong" direction, before turning to proceed on track. I'd heard this is normally not an issue, so it was cool to see my brilliant girl agrees its easy-peasy.
The rest of the track was one annoyance after another. Gimme had difficulty with the first corner, then found, but didn't indicate, the hot pad. She had trouble finding the track as it crossed the road and was distracted by dozens of things on the rest of the track. She was singularly unfocused. I didn't get the impression she was having trouble, rather she just didn't see the point of it. She did find the last glove easily and demanded payment.
I've since talked to Sil Sanders via email - internationally known tracking trainer, instructor and author (and have now gone to three 3-day tracking seminars with him) and he said he would never run the same track twice with the same dog and, in fact, doesn't run multiple dogs down the same track. Sil says if you rerun a track or run it after others, you can never be sure what your dog is following. Whereas Nadine likes to run the more novice dogs after the advanced dogs - saying its like a scent freeway and she thinks it helps them. She has gotten tracking titles using this method, so it certainly can lead to success.
I suspect Gimme may no longer like the "freeway", though it hadn't seemed to bother her until now. She loves a challenge, so now with more experience, she may find this too easy and thus is not as focused on her task and more easily distracted. At this point, I was taking a time-will-tell approach.