On Friday, January 26th, Nadine and I met at Game Farm Park. She laid a track around the soccer fields and I asked her to extend it out into the big ball field for two turns. This time she took the second leg through the tennis courts, down the strip, into the ball field, then turned and finished pretty much the way she had for the two prior visits.
The weather was cool and damp and we ran the track at 35 minutes. Gimme did a good job on the first two legs, but overran the second turn. By the time her nose came up to tell me she'd lost it, we were well past the turn so I had to use her motion to circle her back toward where the track had to be (red line). She went over the track several times before she picked it up and drove to where the article was (bright blue). From there it was similar to what we'd done for the last two tracks at Game Farm. The track went in front of the bleachers and Gimme didn't even slow down.
I laid an article circle out in the big field for Cricket. Now that we have her tracking again, I included a couple challenges. I took the track near some trees where squirrels are known to be - though they haven't been there lately. Cricket got distracted and went off the track to check around the trees, but then.... She was able to leave it and go back to work. She had a little difficulty with the next article, but with a little help she found it. I persuaded Nadine to reward a lot there (not as much as I would have, but more than her inclination) even though Cricket needed help. My thinking is she deserved a nice reward because, more than anything, we were rewarding her effort to go back to work - huge. She did well from there to the end. It's good to see her really trying again.
On Saturday, January 27th I took Gimme to Medline. I noticed right away they are fencing the facility. I hope this doesn't mean we won't be able to use the property in the future. Time will tell.
I laid a track with a lot of transitions. It was drizzling and the track was 35 minutes old. The white rectangle on the right near the top was where I had parked. We started in the middle of the parking lot and crossed a landscape strip to the first article (bright blue). From there we crossed into the much larger landscape strip with a moderate downhill, then across the road and into the grass, turning left in some mulched landscaping. The second leg stayed in the mulched landscaping a bit, crossed a driveway and then over a sidewalk (dogleg light gray line). The sidewalk had black pipe railings, which I had to get under, while Gimme was waiting at the third article. We went through the grass at an angle and onto the sidewalk before the next turn to cross the road again. The ground we were on at the far side of the road was rocky, with sparse vegetation and a steep uphill climb. We had a slight dogleg to get through the break in fencing and then alongside a landscape island. Next we turned about 45° to move out into the open before getting back into landscaping for the last glove. Transitions are the hardest thing about urban tracking and Gimme did a very nice job with all of this.
This morning, February 1st, Nadine and I met at Auburn Cinema. We have just moved into U3 section of Sil Sander's new book, so we are getting back to island hopping.
The plan called for 200 yards and 35 minutes of age. I laid Cricket's track in the smaller islands, which are a straight line. She's not pulling hard like she used to, but it's getting better. We also had a short session with little baby Ember. She's really getting into this game and isn't shy at all about pulling to get to the treats and articles.
By the time we got to it, Gimme's track was 40 minutes old. Her second and third articles were crammed in a small space between newly arrived cars and the curb, but she didn't seem to care. I noticed she was inclined to use the dirt and vegetation in the islands, instead of following on the pavement next to the curb. I used line pressure to encourage her to get down next to the curb and by the last third of the track she was doing this on her own, like she used to. Overall Gimme did a good job.
BTW Nadine and I were both invited to place an advertisement in the special edition of the Spotter. Only 8 Dalmatians completed a TD last year and we had two of them. So we are going to do a combined ad. We'll take pictures next week when we get together for tracking at Game Farm.