Today my friend Dori and her Rottweiler girl, Moxie, came to go tracking. Yesterday we got a fast 3-4" of snow so everything has a light covering and the sun was bright so it was a perfect tracking day, even though it started out at just 2 degrees F it warmed up to 40 degrees in the sun.
The first thing we did was to lay Bea's TDX track. A regulation TDX track is walked and plotted the day before by at least two judges and a tracklayer and then the am of the track, the tracklayer rewalks it alone picking up markers and leaving articles. about 1/2 way through the aging of the track (after the tracklayer walks it in the am) two people walk across the track twice so there are 4 places with fresher scent. You can see that in 24 hours it has quite a bit of traffic. It will be 800-1000 yards long, 4 articles (counting the start article) and be 3-5 hours old.
We decided that since this would be Bea's longest and nastiest track yet, that Dori and I would both walk it, but all the articles would be hers. We did not have anyone to lay cross tracks so we were missing that element.
Then we went back to the vehicles to work the other girlies. First we took out Dori's sweet Moxie. We worked on some tracking skills with her for a bit and then I laid her a shortish track with a big open corner and she did great! Put her up and got Annie out.
Dori laid Annie a 2 leg track of aprox 200 yards. We ran this fresh as I wanted to have time to run a second if she was having her focus issues that she, the teenager, sometimes has.
Annie started right off pretty good and while she mouse hunted a very small bit at one point she did really well both focus and skill wise!! Her right hand corner was just about perfect with NO issues or circling and the second leg was also darn good with a happy glove find. We had a big party with pats and treats and had fun all the way back to the Santa fe where I put her back with more treats. Yeah Annie!
Then we got Moxie back out and I laid her a 150 yard track up and over a small hill, with a right corner into the wind. After a brief wait Dori ran Moxie and she was nearly flawless. Her corner was especially nice. Yeah for Moxie
Then we got Bea out and took the moderate walk to her start flag. Her start article was a finely scented sock of Dori's! Off she went like a rocket nose right in the steps and pulling strongly. Very commited and businesslike. She trucked right up the incline of the mown hayfield the whole 205+ yards and made the first left corner like she was on rails.
Bea then charged forth accurately along the field and right through the trees, prickers, thick brush and over the stone wall, across the one lane gravel road on a diagonal and across the trees, prickers, thick brush and stone wall on the opposite side and into another mown field where she found the first article, a plastic M & M container which she indicated but did not pick up. Since odd articles are a problem with her I stopped her and asked her to bring it to me. She did and we had a happy celebration before continuing on the 2nd leg which ran across the incline of the field. Total leg length was 203+ yards.
Again a perfect corner, this time a left, and down the hill to the bottom of the field for 153+ yards to yet another perfect corner! Across the bottom of the field and through a field border of trees, stone wall and barb wire and into a narrow mown field. She checked out a mouse trail semi seriously and then got right back to business (knowing Bea's mouse obsession I was very pleased to not have to say more than "find it"). She trucked along over the frozen field of what is usually pretty wet stuff and plowed through a nasty nasty field edge of trees, thick brush, prickers, and more barb wire. She crossed a set of coyote tracks without a glance and willingly dove into some short stiff brush that was over her head and very very dense. She had a bit of trouble getting through this and was getting annoyed at having to find a way but she managed and followed the track through a sweeping left curve over another stone wall with trees and barb wire to the end of this 341+ yard 4th leg in a grassy ditch at the side of a paved road.
We have never paralleled a road before just crossed them so I anticipated some trouble. She made the right turn fine, then checked the road several times to confirm that the track did not cross and then checked a woods road that we passed but made the 53+ yards to a right corner which she again had no trouble with.
This 6th leg recrossed the stone wall with trees and barb wire and entered the woods where she passed the next article a green tea tin. She ignored it like any other trash she sees but I made her come back and convinced her that THIS trash really was an article and she brought it to me very happily. We then continued on past more coyote tracks which she ignored and under a tipped over tree where she investigated some rabbit tracks very briefly and then accurately followed the leg as it swept in a winding left curve through the trees to the end of it's 133 yards
She then perfectly executed a left turn over a stone wall and through trees and barb wire out into an unmown field where this short little 15+ yard 7th leg ended in a glove that she was very happy to find. ("Finally a REAL article" you could almost hear her say as she pranced to me with it!)
This track was 1 hour 35 min old (so about 1/2 of what it would be at a test) and she completed it with complete confidence (ask Dori as she trailed behind us!) in a mere 20 minutes!
What a VERY smart girl!