Again, I'm far behind on blogging. I have 7 tracking reports to share. I am blogging two of them separately since they are field tracking.
Nadine and I met on Friday, March 23rd at Game Farm Park. She laid a marked track of 575 yards. The conditions were cool and damp. You have to look carefully to see where the track starts on the left side on grass under the trees. It turns left and quickly crosses a blacktop path, before turning left again. I asked for a challenging transition, so Nadine set it through the small playground. The track entered the playground (wood chips), then angled right and followed the short wall as it arced left. The turn around the end of the wall heads out into the field. Then there was a left turn going straight across another blacktop path and up into the grass to end.
Gimme did a really nice job on this track. The only challenge was the transition. She wasn't quite sure what to do about the wood chips, but she figured it out. The track on the paved path along the wall was pretty easy, since the scent pooled along it. The next hardest part was the turn around the end, going between 3 large rocks. Once she negotiated the turn, it was easy through to the end.
On Thursday, March 29th, we met at Auburn Cinema. Our tracks were two simple 150 yard tracks on pavement, aged 50 minutes. They are supposed to be straight, but we often have to put a slight bend in them to get the length. The top one in the picture is the one we ran first, aged one hour. Gimme spent a little time getting into the plan and then did nicely. While there weren't anywhere near this many cars, by the time we got to her second track there were a few cars nearby and one right on her track. Gimme wasn't bothered by them at all - not even with one of them running. She went between the cars without concern, to the side of the car straddling her track and luckily, about 20 yards after we passed it, she was rewarded by an article.
She is such a good tracker.
On Saturday, March 31st, I took Gimme to Medline. I decided while I was focusing on track age for hard surfaces, it would make more sense to just do straight legs like we do at Auburn Cinema. So I laid her four tracks in a square of 65, 100, 106 and 70 yards, with a short walk between the end of one and the start of another. I planned them to start into the breeze, but by the time we ran them, wind direction changed. As we were running the second track the direction changed 90º, then went back to it's original direction on the fourth track. It occurs to me this may be why she has more difficulty here than at the cinema with Nadine. Gimme did a really nice job on these 50 minute old tracks, which she finished in ten minutes, the same time it took me to lay them.
On Friday, April 6th, we met at Game Farm again. This was to be an unmarked TDU-like track and it was aged 1 hour. It started on a sidewalk along a chainlink fence and passed through another paved area between two ball fields. The large red dot is where there was an open gate. Gimme went through the opening (the gate jutted out into her path) so she had a little challenge to figure out how to get to the track which was now on the other side of chainlink. Fortunately there was an article right past this spot and she was highly motivated to get to it, so she wasted no time solving the gate puzzle. She had no problem on the pavement after this.
It always surprises me how hard it can be for her to transition from paved to grass when she started on paved, because I think of grass as being easier than paved. I believe grass is easier, but Sil says the dogs have it in their heads to follow one smell and then they are presented with a different smell combo, making it a very different task . Gimme spent the whole of the next short leg before she was certain the track was really on the grass. There was a lot of dog contamination near the fourth turn, but Gimme didn't act like she noticed it. She did a great job following the track along the outside of the ball field.
Going around the curve of the ball field we were actually tracking in a shallow ditch, but Gimme didn't think it was an issue. I love how she can experience new things and just works through them, if she shows she noticed at all.
On Saturday, April 7th we went to Medline again. I repeated the same pattern as before, but making my tracks run in the other direction; 94, 70, 98 and 70 yards. My initial plan had been to age another 5 minutes, but this time the wind was quite strong, so we ran it at 30 minutes. Gimme breezed through this very quickly, so the strong wind clearly wasn't the challenge I thought it would be.
The pavement was saturated - we arrived in the first break from two days raining - so this likely accounts for how easy it was for her. In any case, its always a good thing to have an easy and motivational track.
I think the best thing I ever did was teach her to love articles. I pay very well on every one, so she's always motivated to find them.
Just workin' the system, doncha know...