Last Thursday Gimme and I met Nadine and her girls at the theater complex for urban tracking. We are continuing to lay tracks with food drops for Gimme in the open areas, coming up to an island curb and then heading out into the open again. Its coming along, slowly. Using treats which blend in with the blacktop is helping her to lose her dependence on solving the problem visually. The second track is always much better than the first. I think its just going to take time to break the visual habit.
BTW on Sunday, Nadine and Cricket did a stellar job on their test track, giving our buddy a TD to follow her name. I was so happy for both of them. I got the text right before the service started and I'm pretty sure the people in my church thought I'd finally lost it for good.
Today we met at the Game Farm Park. The traffic got really awful so I knew I was going to be late. I called Nadine and told her what I wanted -- a track starting in grass and at some point crossing the largest piece of hard surface she could get, with an angled turn of about 30° and food drops every couple of yards. We get lots of narrow hard surface turns there because of all the paved paths, but I wanted at least one where she couldn't dash across and find the track in the grass on the other side.
Nadine set what I asked for, except she forgot the food drops, which I think Gimme still needs to encourage her to keep her nose down. Gimme still did a nice job. The large pavement crossing had a small groove down the center, which had collected dirt and had a couple of tufts of grass growing in it. The track was 2 feet to one side of the grove, Gimme tracked right down the groove. We think it held more moisture in the dirt than the plain pavement did. She mostly kept her nose down.
Nadine put down a LOT of articles for Gimme - there were 8 of them, with treats. She had some peanut butter flavored commercial treats she put down on a couple of the articles. The first time she found the PB flavored treats, Gimme started to gobble them up, then phhhfltttt, spit them out and stared, before sniffing again and then eating them. I'm thinking the flavor wasn't what she expected from her most favorite smell. After the first encounter, she gobbled them up and Nadine gave me the bag which she'd gotten for a sample at the trial - they blend in nicely with pavement.
We stopped at McDonalds on the way and bought Cricket a sausage biscuit as a little gift for her accomplishment. Nadine used it to reward her for intermediate articles and the end article. After seeing how much more enthusiastic Cricket was about her articles, Nadine said she might spring for sausage biscuits herself. This would be great. I find Nadine is pretty stingy with treats, so if we can't get her to increase the quantity (Gimme gets 15-25 for every article), at least a higher value treat would be more motivating.
Gimme slept almost all the way home.