We've done mostly urban tracking this year because of my time constraints. Now since my family is no longer providing 24 hour care for my mother, time has loosened up a little bit. Last Friday Nadine and I met for our first field tracking in two months. She has since come down with the flu, so we won't be tracking this week. Hopefully she will be recovered by next week.
We met in the afternoon, on a cool, but dry day. Nadine laid a track with a couple of road crossings. Meanwhile I laid an article "circle" of sorts. While she took Sugar on her track, I took Gimme on the article circle, which had aged about 20 minutes. The flags were set 10-20 feet before each corner. After the start sock there is a shallow ditch. The first leg has no other article and goes through some small trees and up a steep bank before turning. The corner at the top of the diagram is on a short mowed path. The last short leg crosses the same ditch again.
Gimme did well with this track. I again saw her tendency to work off the first leg instead of staying right on it. She seems to start off at an angle, then turn back to the track, and repeats this a couple of times - especially on the first leg and sometimes for the first part of the second leg. It creates a sort of saw-tooth pattern. Still she did well, found all her articles and was quite quick about it.
Nadine's track started in the field and then crossed the road with a glove at the base of a telephone pole (brown circle). From there it crossed the road back to the field, turned and crossed the road again to another glove. Back across the road and into the field with two more turns before a glove at the end.
Gimme did well with the start and end of this track, but showed a real resistance to crossing the road, all four times. She would search and search and search and not consider putting her nose to the pavement until I urged her to. I thought she'd do better since we've done so much urban work on parking lots. But, then I remembered Sil saying how much of a challenge these kinds of transitions are, harder than doing the whole track on pavement. Since we hadn't done any field work since the 1st of the year, it seems her skill at transitioning between fields and pavement has become rusty. We'll have to be sure to include a lot of these in future tracks. Still once I pointed to the pavement, she'd get her nose down and follow it right across like, "ohhhh there it is."
Nadine took Skookum on my track and when she came back we discovered she'd missed an article. Not knowing which one it was and since she'd already taken up all the flags, I decided to take Gimme out and let her find it. Gimme was stellar, doing the whole track accurately. She showed me where every article had been and looked diligently in case it had burrowed underground. It may be she was smelling residual cheese odor, since I drop a lot of cheese treats at every article. Anyway, it seems Nadine missed the last leg (I hadn't put a flag there). Skookum is normally so accurate, I'm sure she was annoyed at being dragged away from following the last leg - though Nadine probably thought she was wanting to follow my exit path. Fortunately Gimme was more than happy to find the last glove.
She sure does love using her nose...
BTW this is my 700th blog entry...