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The REALLY hot track 9/8/07

Filed in - training - tracking - rottweiler

Working in a commercial laundry does something to your sense of heat while you are working. Heat outside is always relative to the blast furnace inside. This is one day where this proved true. I was pretty warm inside but not drenched with sweat like we have been this summer. I decided it was a good day to go for a walk at lunch and see if the second field behind the jail has been mowed. I get out to the field, it is mown and realize that it does not “seem” too hot, so why not lay a track for Bea to run when I get out of work in a few hours? Sounds logical. So I lay the track and get back to work just in time to get back to laundry work. I get out of work just over 2 hours later and head home to let out dogs, soak Bea down really well and then bring her up to run the track. Having not left articles on the track I bring some to toss out. Not ideal but definitely motivational. We arrive at the field to find the farm equipment and men picking up the hay (which was in nice neat rows) with a big haylage blower. Bea could care less and since my track only skirted the edge of the field they have already picked up we gear up and prepare to head out. Farm equipment finishes up and the guys wave as they leave and Bea still could care less, she is ready to track. I look at the temperature gauge and holy cow, it’s 100 F in the field. What was I thinking???? Since the sky is actually mostly cloudy and Bea is ready to go I figure we’ll give it a shot and I have articles so we can end anytime. Bea starts off well, hits a bit of a dead spot and searches a bit then starts again and then freezes. She’s staring at the tall grass just 2’ to the left. She creeps to it, pokes at it a few times and then pounces. Ack! I get up there and grab her collar and there’s a gigantic toad looking all offended. Ok we’ll restart a few feet up. Bea keeps looking back but I eventually get her restarted only to be distracted by some small snake. This one she leaves on her own and a few feet up gets serious again. Thank goodness. The track leg skirts the newly mown field almost all the way up the hill and then takes a left following tires tracks in grass as high as my head. Bea makes the left very smoothly but a few feet down the leg circles back to confirm the choice. This is her new behavior since our TDX test this spring and I’m trying to patiently allow her to learn to trust herself again (and this always makes me feel bad because it was my error not hers that failed us!) She recommits to the leg and follows it pretty well for how darn hot it is. Then we get to a traintrack of a deer trail. Looks more like a cow path but I know it’s from deer. Bea checks out about 10’ of the trail down the hill to the left and I finally tell her to leave it and get back to work. She does and once commited I toss and article in front of her which surprises but please her. Then maybe 10’ further down the track she hits another similar deer trail. This one she checks out only about 4’ on either side of the track and then gets back to work. Then she urinates on coyote poop and maybe another 5’ down yet another deer trail but much less investigating. This track leg is not straight but meanders along the truck tracks as they traverse the crest of the hill and finally eases right to join up with an old road. We hit some shade and I toss another article and when she gives it to me I have her lie in the shade for a bit. We restart and she heads out to the grassy overgrown road and again makes the corner great, but then circles back to confirm. She checks all directions completely and then heads back to the left turn and down the road. This road has a forest going uphill to the right of it and trees bordering it to the left with more of the overgrown field beyond that sloping down to the nursing home. The road meanders downhill also and is mostly shaded. It is “only” 89 F here. This last leg is filled with stops and starts because she’s hot and because there is much coyote poop and deer crossings, but she does not leave the track long and does not ask to follow anything off the road. The road becomes less grassy and more of a two rut deal with grass in the middle. As it gets sandier Bea has a harder time and the next big shade patch I again toss an article and when Bea retrieves it we down and rest a bit. For the most part she then stays on my track but keeps checking the center grass and the other rut too before getting back on my path. At a large tree across the road she does follow my track exactly and then actually tracks better the rest of the way down the hill. About 100 feet before the road ends at the parking lot I throw the glove out and she is very happy. I get her home and hose her down and she lies in front of the fan to cool off. She cools out pretty fast so she handled this well in addition to not tracking too bad either. Not great, not TDX passing great but good. The track was about 938 yards total and was 3 ½ hours old