While we were running this track, Anne was laying our track in field 7. Sil selected this field because the vegetation was much shorter and he wanted me to work without being able to see the path in bent grass. He also changed the parameters so there were no articles on the first three legs. I talked to Anne about how to lay it and didn't feel warm and fuzzy about what I would see when I got there. I was right to worry.
The only flags were the start flag and directional flag on the first leg. There were no markers on first or second corners. Instead of visible flags for the article-flag-article-flag combo on the fourth and fifth legs, she laid clothespins in the grass. Looking into that huge, nearly blank field of short grass, I almost fainted. Gimme, of course, had no clue this was supposed to be hard - she just wanted less talk and more tracking. I must say, as the track went on, it was really gratifying to see the clothespins laying in the grass as I ran over the top of them. Gimme poked her nose at a couple of them.
She again had difficulty getting started. I thought it might be because of her special condition; Sil said the start was much too close to the house and mowed area making it a big distraction. After a minute of her dilly-dallying I re-scented her with the start sock and this seemed to work. Still, two slow starts in a row is a trend I'll be watching. This was a more typical day with infamous Bow winds, which you hear loudly in the video. Day 3 tracking video
At about 1:40, Gimme makes the first turn and starts down it, but then stops and stares before coming back toward me. I suspected I gave her an unintended line check, but in the video you can see the line is slack. I don't really know why she chose to pick up a furrow and go down it as if she was tracking. Possibly some scent had pooled in the furrow and she just got started. Maybe bunnies. Maureen (mentor) and I wondered if she had caught the scent of one of the articles. But from the corner where she first went off course, the nearest article could not have been closer than 75 yards. I've seen she can smell articles up to 50 yards, but this would have been a huge stretch and, in this case, for articles in her not-faves category.
We only went about 20 yards before Sil called me to back up. Gimme comes with me so readily, she must've known she wasn't on the track. Even as we were coming back she picked up another line and tried to go for it. Both times she wasn't pulling as hard as she usually does, so I should have known she wasn't on the track. You can clearly see the difference between those two wanderings and when she fully commits to the track at about 4:00 minutes.
Gimme was brilliant for the rest of the track. The second and third corners were spot on. She found the first article and we celebrated. Then she went right past the second article, I called her back to it and partied just as if she'd found it on her own. She isn't as fond of eye glass cases or cup cozies, but she does love a party, so she made sure she showed me the other two plastic articles on the next leg. I wasn't good at keeping the line up off the ground so I had to call her back just as she was solving the fourth corner. Fortunately she is really forgiving of my ineptitude and as soon as she was able, she hauled both of us down the track.
Sil thinks the reason Gimme hesitated the first time she started down leg two is that it just smelled different, being an upwind leg. He also thinks she kept going on the false leg because I'm missing one part of corner communication. I'm doing everything else, but not verbalizing "is this the good track?" when she lines out. The other part of the enquire step is to increase the tension on the line a little bit. He said dogs hear the question in our voice and feel the line tension and will usually curl off a rabbit trail, cross track or other false line. So I really have to focus between now and the next seminar to get this piece into our corner communication. I made up an acronym for CORNER, to remember the steps.
Sil thinks we are very close to certifying. We just have a few little tweaks and then we'll be ready.C change of behavior
O own your spot – stop
R reconnoiter/search for track
N note the dog lines out on a leg
E enquire "is this the good track?"
R respond to dog's behavior