Nadine and I and our girls met at Auburn Cinema on Thursday to do some urban tracking. Based on the things I saw at the urban tracking clinic a few weeks ago and Sil's suggestions, we changed what we were doing with Gimme's tracks. Skookum has much of the same issues, so we did the same for her.
And those changes were to set tracks with larger distances between the islands. As handler, my job was to hold her back enough to make it harder for her to just rush across and solve the problem on the other side. I used as much tension on the line as needed until/unless she had her head down working the problem. She is a prodigious air-scenter, so if something isn't obvious, she switches gears and tries to solve the problem that way.
Her first track was about 20 minutes old and she had a challenge to get her nose down, but was getting it by the time we finished. Her second track had gotten too old - 50 minutes - and she just really didn't know what to do with it. I spent a good bit of time on my knees "loving the track" and then she would get interested and the minute she'd get her nose down, I went right with her. Because the second track was frustrating for her, we set another shorter track later and let her run it when it was just 15 minutes old, so she could end on a good note. I should note it was pretty warm and very dry.
Since then, Gimme and I have been trying to catch up on our walking schedule, which makes her very happy. Today I decided we should work on her backing onto obstacles, "bacon" (a cue I invented by taking "back on" and dropping the "k" and space). Something I noticed today and which has likely been going on all along is - Gimme will not back onto something unless she has gotten onto it frontward first. Initially I tried making sure she had plenty of opportunity to look over the obstacle - she still wanted to get on it frontward first. Then I tried restricting the leash so she couldn't do "table" first and she just won't back on. At first I thought we had unintentionally created a behavior chain - "table" then "bacon". But, after she's done it her way, "table" then "bacon", she's quite content to back on repeatedly without "table" again.
I'm inclined to think she's just a very smart girl who wants to make sure for herself that its safe. Ya gotta love how she thinks for herself.