Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Counting the months to Tracking!!

It will be a good three months (or more!) longer before we can really get tracking again....seems like such a long time to wait. Last winter, I did a lot of "free tracking" with Blast and it was amazing to watch him race full speed through the snow and trees and find the articles. However, I won't be doing this again, as the "down side" was not liking his style when we got back to "regular" tracking. For CKC tracking, the dog is required to follow the track, and not cut corners to find the article (s). It was extra work and time to get him back to a more "nose down" and steady, not running, on the track, and not curbing any enthusiasm while doing this. Although with him, I think tenacity runs through his veins!
A couple of weeks back, we walked down the driveway and he suddenly took off into the field. Part way out, he began to circle, increasingly smaller circles, zoomed in and began to dig through the snow like crazy. Shortly after, he came up with something solid in his mouth, I couldn't make it out. He came racing back and it turned out to be a frozen solid old glove that I remembered we had played with - a MINIMUM of five weeks previously on a walk. I truly don't know how he does it.
So this post isn't really about tracking....but scent in general...
He has found old things, usually a toy, previously in much the same way, but not after this length of time, and not under a foot and a half of snow. The nose is amazing!
This picture is from a walk yesterday, Blast and Tank were playing and running with a rope toy and I managed to get it a couple of times, tossing into the field. This toss ended up with it hanging in a tree branch. Interesting to watch them. They both first went to the area where they would have seen it "coming down".....but no toy to be found. They both began to circle, a large circle, and continued to zero in on the scent from above, obviously getting stronger as they circle smaller and closer to being under it. All of a sudden, Blast lifts his head and begins to jump up towards the tree branch. It was not obvious at this time, and he ended up moving to the other side, working up into the branch, using his legs, until he located and could grab it.
Last year, Trust was tracking through an asphalt parking lot, and we were near the end of the track. A leather glove had been left just past the change into some dead grass and near a small port-a-room building. No article was seen. It was not windy, so it wasn't blown off, a mystery. I'm looking around and she starts to circle, around and around into smaller circles, me trailing and using my eyes to no avail. Voila! Trust begins to look "upwards" and move straight towards a trailer hitch. There it was, propped up on top! Someone had obviously seen it, thought it had been lost, and kindly stuck it up where it could be seen and found. Not by me, certainly, but by the dog with the nose!!! (I was standing 2' from it and still had not seen it!!!)
I love watching the dogs work like this, proving once again, they are much smarter than me!