Today we visited the new site - Auburn's Game Farm Park. What a great place to do sports field tracking. There are so many possibilities and plenty of room for us to work, despite the restricted areas. This will be a great opportunity to lay tracks near distractions, with contamination. There are oodles of obstacles as well.
Nadine set up a great track for Gimme. Before we even
got to where our track started, Gimme was busy following Cricket's two tracks and she was
dead on them, as well as the connecting path between them. She stopped
to search for every place an article had been. I need to ask Sil if I
should allow her to do this or not. She could have been a little tired
and her nasal passages a bit dry before we even started her track.
The track Nadine laid for us was 400 yards, 5 legs, in cool and dry conditions. We had
two narrow cement crossings, one a driveway and the other a cement
path. The bad news is that Gimme's track got waaaay too old before we
got back to it. It was 1:10 and she's never done a track that old, much
less in short grass with dry conditions.
I decided to give it a go anyway and she was challenged from the start. Her strongest areas were the two cement crossings. She had real difficulty with the third turn. Instead of turning left she was repeatedly drawn straight ahead and toward the low cement wall/walkway 10-15 yards away. Twenty yards on the other side of the wall was a thick forested area and a river on the other side of that. There was a steep drop off from where we were, through the woods, to where the river was.
In any case, Gimme was getting very frustrated and looking like she was thinking of quitting - in one case she laid down in front of me, which she never does. I'm sure the age was a definite factor. I got her up and tried rescenting her, but she still couldn't figure it out. So Nadine guided me to a spot where she knew we were exactly on the track and I put down the sock when Gimme wasn't looking and basically restarted her from there. She was brilliant from there to the end. At least we were able to end on a positive note.
The wall/walkway-forested-area-river was similar in terrain and distances to the river we track by all the time at Flaming Geyser which hasn't been a problem for the dogs. We weren't sure what the difficulty was, since the wall/walkway was a bit away from where we were asking her to turn (10-15 yards or more) and the forest was another 15-20 yards past it. We had a similar turn on another area which I'd set up for Skookum and she too had trouble and it looked very much the same. Skookum's track had only aged 20 minutes, so she was able to work through it.
In retrospect, there were a quarter-million squirrels in this park, so it may have been a vermin issue. Our dogs all ignore moles, but squirrels are different. Gimme thinks they are close cousins to rats doncha know.
Gimme's last two tracking experiences haven't been as much fun as she normally has, so we will definitely make sure her next one is simpler and very motivating.