Friday, 9/22 Nadine and I met at Game Farm Park. We set up the tracks for U2.1, which is a sports field zigzag track with intentional crosstracks mid-leg. Nadine laid my track and I laid the crosstracks. We wanted to put down extra articles, but they were mowing and we didn't know where they might go next.
I laid track for Nadine and she laid her own cross tracks. It didn't seem like Cricket ever noticed the crosstracks, since she didn't start tracking until after the crosstrack on the last leg. There were a huge number of squirrels all over the place and it just blew her mind. She was deep into squirrel-prey-drive, so she was still looking for them even after we were out in the middle of the field and away from the trees.
Gimme did this style track a couple of times in seminars with Sil Sanders last summer. At the time she did very well with it. It was more challenging for her this time; still she did figure it out in time for the last leg. I think the big difference was encountering my scent crossing her track vs. a stranger's scent crossing the track.
Solid line is the track, dashed red is my crosstrack and dotted blue (right side) is the other contamination. I helped her by re-scenting her with the start sock each time she struggled. By the fourth leg, she'd encounter my crosstrack and then work it out without needing help. Right after she breezed through my last crosstrack, she was puzzled by another crosstrack. As we were laying the track and crosstrack, I saw a man pushing a wheeled thing they use to lay chalk lines on a sports field and it was in the vicinity of where my last crossing was. Between the man and the wheels, it was a big challenge for her, but she did figure it out. She got a LOT of treats when she found the final article.
Saturday, 9/23 Gimme and I went to Medline again. Last time we were there I noted she was tending to come to a strip of landscaping and just zoom across it without really checking for the track until she got to the far side. So I wanted to set up a track where she didn't always cross right away. The first encounter was a left turn at the landscape strip, following along the strip, then turning right to cross it. The second encounter was straight across. The third encounter was a right turn, following along the strip, then turning left to cross it.
The first time she zoomed right across and kept looking for the track on the other side. I had to encourage her to come back and find the track where it went along the curb. She overshot the turn and had to look for it and find where it actually crossed the landscaping. The second time (no turn) she followed it across. The third time she got halfway across the landscaping before she realized the track wasn't there, then she came back and found where it went. She didn't overshoot the corner this time. Nice, clear progress.
She did seem to be doing a lot of "shopping", checking out trash, leaves and bits of debris. I think she was trying to find food drops. I had to lay this track without food drops because of the wasps. They get so mean this time of year and I didn't want her getting stung again.
I want to do this same track again. Then I will do a series of variations on the theme, such as approaching the curb at different angles, going part way across before turning, turning right at the far side. It may take a bit of playing around with it as we get Gimme used to the new no-food-drops plan. I have some new articles for use on concrete that are less visible, and plan to make some fabric ones as well. I think Gimme has gotten good at seeing anything that is not flat to the pavement.
There are some TDU trials next year: January, February, June and November. I'd like to enter the one in June if I get Gimme more consistent on her tracking with pavement. She'll get it, but it's going to take time. I understand TDU is much easier than what we are working at, but I don't want to enter on the basis of a wing and a prayer. I'd rather be confident she'll ace it, thus the over-training approach.
Gimme doesn't care if we over-train - it's all treats to her.
After tracking on Friday, we went to Nadine's to see her puppies. They are 3½ weeks old and four of the fattest little spotted sausages I've ever seen. Sugar is doing a fabulous job with them; she's a good Mommy. They aren't playful fun at this age, but I have so much going on in the next month, I wanted to be sure I saw them before they went to new homes.