I have not tracked since last Oct, not once. I have thought about it. I have wanted too. But the thought of getting Bea’s harness out and putting it on Annie and not being able to track with Bea just makes me cry. So I have put it off… I have not even started the puppies.
Today though, we decided that the pups are almost 6 months old and they need to start. Annie is bored to death also. I just have to overcome this grief to an extent.
It’s cloudy and maybe 70 degrees F when we load up and get going. By the time we get there though and Rob lays a very short track for Annie (just 75 yards with 1 turn- she has not tracked since April 2007!) the sun is out and it is getting hotter
The plan for the pups is for Rob to lay a fairly straight leg with the pup watching him and have him go just over the crest of this small rise and lie down with his glove and cheese in hand.
First up is Itsy and she is Rob’s favorite and he is hers. The World turns around this man for this pup. The leg is about 50 yards and poof! He disappears. I have two 6 foot leashes linked together for a short line to the harness and off we go. Itsy tracks like she has been doing it every day of her 6 months of life. Head down, focus extreme and no hesitation. We crest the rise and she is a little hesitant about this lying figure but she figures out fast it is DAD! GOOD PUPPY! Of course Rob is convinced she is the best pup in the whole world.
Next is Bonnie. Same set up and as soon as Rob vanishes we set off. Bonnie tracks more like her mom did as a pup with a bit of fringing left and right but I don’t allow forward movement unless she is on the track (I can see where he walked) and she is doing well. At the base of the rise she checks the drift left and right (just like Mom) and then commits up and over and right up to Rob. Another GOOD PUPPY!
Then there is Rose. Rose hates car rides (ever since her hock injury and painful vet visit) and gets car sick. While a 3 mile ride does not make her vomit it does make her unhappy, so she is less excited than the other two were. She does not start as fast but once she gets going she is good and after a couple stops to confirm this is really what I want she then commits fine and does much better. When she makes the crest she barks at Rob but realizes her error and is then in his lap. And Another GOOD PUPPY!
Last is Annie. Annie hates the heat and after over a year of not tracking is very out of it. She does the cow imitation at the start and a couple times down the first leg and then manages good to the first article on the corner. She then lies down “All done”. Ah, no sorry. After some milling about and grass eating she heads off down the next leg correctly and after a couple stops does better. When she is 100% air scenting I stop and wait her out and after we cross the puddle of watery grass she starts to get even better and the last 25 feet is her old self. She finds the article at the end and stops. I pick it up and wave it about and she is thrilled and then carries it almost all the way to the car as we run. Not great but not bad. Not TD ready now but with practice she’ll remember
AND best of all, I did not cry and actually remembered how much I like tracking. Maybe it was a good day all around.