Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kira's Scent Work in the Snow

This sequence of pictures and description will only be of interest to those keen on learning how the dog works scent in tricky conditions.  It is NOT tracking.  I am always amazed at Kira and Blast in particular and often end up wondering 'how the heck they did it'.  I threw a broken ball of Kiras' off in a direction when she was paying no attention, and was quite a ways off.  Then I told her to "find it".  She immediately alerts keenly and begins a large circle scenting all the while.  The first circle was large and took her through a section of bush.  I stand not near where the ball landed, which went well into the snow, and look in another direction, but always am able to watch her work.
The temperature was about -10 degrees celsius yesterday morning when we were returning from a walk, it was quite breezy and the sun had come out for a short time.  Kira was making her circles increasingly smaller, checking a few places she had missed earlier, but continuing at a brisk pace.  She would eventually rule out an area and then move on to another location and begin to search again.
She has begun to move back towards me, circled back on one area, and then turned in a new direction to circle and scent. By this time she had ruled out a large area, and then ran past me like she was on fire to work in another area.
Above, she is quite intent and made two small circles, then dismissed it as well.  She ran up and over a hill and began to work along the top and I thought she may have picked up the scent. (Of course, I knew where the ball was!)
But she kept moving on as if missing it completely.  She looked like she was going to move down the slope which would take her back to an area she had already checked.
Red arrow shows where the ball dropped down into the snow. It is also in a shady portion, she's mainly been working out in the sunny areas.  We know scent in snow can be tricky!  And she did move down the slope at the left and circled around to her left.
Suddenly, she whips back around and behind me and over to the bottom of the hill.  As she was running past, she suddenly stopped and turned back.  Kira started to move up the side of the hill towards where the ball was buried.
She has just grabbed the ball out and is turning to come back towards me.
She never quits, she loves this "game" and I am always amazed.