Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lumi tracking in corn field, rec area

Two locations within 10 mins of home.

Overcast, 60 degrees, wind calm, no precip.

After training with Laddie all morning, I dropped him at home and picked Lumi up so she and I could train a little by ourselves.

First we went to a corn field with gentle hills. I laid a track with a single 120 deg corner and a total of three treats (boiled ham) in the track, plus another on the glove. Lumi's been with my daughter Cookie for a week so this was her first track in a while, but she did great: nose down, deliberate pace, found all the treats,  took the turn, and of course found the glove, all without a hint from me.

Next we parked near a ball field, and I set up a track in the adjacent picnic area: hilly, grass not too long,  dead leaves, trees, a wooden bulletin board, and a paved walkway.  This track had two serpentine turns in opposite directions, then a square corner before the final leg to the glove. A total of 6-7 treats in the track, plus another three atop the glove. Lumi worked this track the same way as the first one, this time requiring no help after a little on the first leg.  Perhaps her beautiful tracking form is becoming a habit.

By the way, except for the first day or two of Lumi and me tracking together, I've been laying tracks with a shuffling gait, keeping both feet in contact with the ground the whole time, and turning around to place treats directly on the spot I'd been standing. After I place the glove the same way, I take some large steps in the same direction beyond the glove and then circle around without coming near the track again.  I'm not aging the tracks at all yet.

Also, except for the first couple of days when I tried using lining poles offset by a few feet to mark the corners, I'm no longer using any markers. I lay each leg by sighting a landmark in the distance, and look for a ground feature to remember the turns. I try to make the legs as variable as possible in length (though none too long yet), place the treats at irregular intervals, and never place them immediately before or after a corner.

I don't know how much of this is correct for AKC-style tracking, but it seems appropriate for Lumi at this stage. I'm pleased with her progress.


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