There haven't been any tracking reports for the three weeks prior because we were trying to get photo's for our advertisement in the performance issue of The Spotter. The first two times we were trying to use my camera and just couldn't get the kind of resolution we needed. I was able to persuade Carol to do a photo session with us. Her camera is amazing and we got much nicer shots. Here is the picture I selected:
It really is a lovely picture and shows off Gimme's beauty, her flawless conformation and her intensity and drive. Looking at it on Carol's laptop, it was amazing - you can see every hair!
Last Thursday, March 1st, Nadine and I met at Auburn Cinema for tracking. The conditions were nice, a cool 49 degrees, damp, and only a very slight breeze. It was supposed to be a 150 yard straight track, but we threw in a shallow curve. It was also supposed to be just 45 minutes, but Gimme's track was one hour old.
To my surprise, Gimme aced this track. We'd only gotten to 40 minutes at Medline, so this was a big jump. In hindsight I think the dampness helped a lot. It only took her 5 minutes to run the track.
Before we ran Gimme, I laid a track for Cricket. While we waited for it to age sufficiently, I laid an article-U for Sugar, with treats at every article. This is her first track since before she was bred and those pups are now 6 months old. It took her a bit to get into it, but she got better toward the end.
While Sugar ran her track, I followed along adding more cheese along the track and on all the articles, for little puppy Ember. She didn't seem to be getting into it, so I walked the track ahead of her, stepping over the cheese, and then facing her from behind each article. Nadine needs to do more work with her at home so she understands to put her nose down and follow the scent without someone in front of her. After Sugar and Ember, Cricket ran her track and did well.
On Saturday, March 3rd, Gimme and I went to Medline. I decided to age it to 60 minutes. It was just 52 degrees and dry, with no breeze. However when we got out of the van to potty before her track, the breeze had picked up and was pretty substantial (light blue arrow). The white oval is where the van was parked.
Between the breeze and the dryness, this was much harder than I anticipated. At the start, Gimme kept looking at me with this weird expression - she seemed to think I might have forgotten something important, like actually laying a track. I encouraged her and she was finally able to find the track. She struggled with the first turn and then found the two articles. She got across the road and then had to transition onto grass. She's normally so good on grass, but still had some difficulty. Happily she got the article and then motored on. Of course she no sooner got into tracking on grass, than it was time to go back to pavement, with a turn in the first 10 feet! (what was I thinking?) Once she got across the road, she did a great job on the last two turns and articles.
It took Gimme 26 minutes to run the track; I spent 12 minutes laying it. She usually does a track just half again longer than it takes me to lay it... so when it goes substantially longer, I know I threw too much at her. I'll make sure her next track is less challenging to ensure tracking remains a fun game.
Sil and I have "talked" since then and he reminded me to plan the track for one big challenge at a time. This track had three distinct challenges: breeze, age and transitions. The dry conditions weren't a big deal until you add the breeze, then they made the aging much harder. Since her last track at Medline was aged 40 minutes, jumping to an hour was too much, especially with the conditions (though the breeze was unanticipated). If I hadn't included 2 surface transitions, this would still have been a challenge, but more fair.
As I look at the picture, I can see things I could have done different, to make the transitions more fair. I think I'll print all the GoogleEarth images I have and put them in document protectors. Then I can use a dry erase pen to plan my tracks better.
In any case, I'm certainly proud of my little girl. She never ceases to amaze me.