We met Friday for field tracking. It was a challenging day for the dogs. We thought we'd have to use the park area at the far end of Flaming Geyser, since Nadine's knee wasn't up to fighting through the waist high grasses. When we arrived, we discovered one of the fields we usually use had been mowed very recently - probably the day before. Nadine laid a track for Gimme in the field. It was dry, but cool and we aged the track about 40 minutes.
Gimme had a lot of difficulty finding the track and the corners. She never even thought about giving up, but it was quite the challenge. When we got to the end, the track crossed over the path which is always mowed short and then the glove was placed right into the edge of the long (unmowed) grass.
I could tell she knew there was a glove there somewhere, but it was a real challenge for her to find it. She went back and forth along the edge of the long grass and made a couple of forays into it. I could see the glove, but let her solve the challenge on her own and then gave her a huge reward when she did.
Nadine ran the same track with Sugar, who found it equally challenging, even though it had just been walked by the three of us. She is not as persistent as Gimme, so Nadine had to encourage her a lot.
Earlier I laid a track down in the park area. I saw a worker riding around on a big mower so I made sure to place articles where they wouldn't get mowed over, even though I couldn't tell where the mower had and had not been. I selected mole hills for turn points - not thinking what would happen to these markers when the mower went over them. Cricket really struggled with her track, which was 90 minutes old. Her best effort was as she crossed the road. When we got across the road, the area from there to the end had not been mowed, so we expected her to do better, but such was not the case. Later I thought about it and realized the track where no mowing had taken place just didn't smell like what she'd been following. In hindsight - Nadine probably should have rescented her.
Skookum had a cracked toenail so we laid her a very short very fresh track in the shade, so she could play along. Including the turn, the whole track was only 50 yards. I think Skookum's foot hurt more than we realized. She's normally very steady, but she wasn't her usual focused self.
We won't have tracking next week since Nadine will be out of town. I may take Gimme to the park and do an article circle for her. And we'll make sure all the girls have easier tracks next time.