I am posting this account of our tracking experience yesterday at Carole’s request. Just goes to show what a good dog can do despite having an incompetent human for a partner.
You would have loved our trial. Paul was out there laying tracks in the dark, with the help of truck headlights, because we had to get the judge back to OMA in time for a 5 p.m. flight. But we were able to start as soon as it was light, and finished tracking by 9. Charlie and Jacki both got their IPO 3 titles, Akin got his IPO 1, Paul got a Tr 2 on his older dog and his puppy passed her BH, and Raj did his Tr 1. I expect Charlie and Jacki will be at regionals by spring.
I almost did not enter. Raj had been doing fairly well until a couple of weeks ago, when he decided that the track was the Kentucky Derby and he did not have time to bother indicating articles on the way to the finish line. I tried food under articles, food on articles, no difference, he managed to scoop up the goodies as he kept moving. Fortunately Jacki and Charlie worked with us Wednesday and Thursday, exercises to get articles back in his head, and I decided we had nothing to lose by trying.
Laying the track brought me a few surprises. As I was doing the first leg, a very large dog, with no human in sight, was trotting along the road in front of me, and I spent that leg worrying that the dog would turn into the field. Cross leg had an additional obstacle: about three feet left of the track was a drain with a big metal grate over it (and you know who had to check that out when he did the cross leg). Third leg ended about fifteen feet before a ridge, which probably did things to the scent pattern.
When we started the track, Raj was ready (jumping and bouncing). He started, got out about to the end of the line, and then just stopped and stared back at me, just one of those fast-freeze poses. Then I heard judge Jennifer saying “Tell him Such” so I did, and he began moving again. A bit of a bobble on the corner, then on toward the article. I think I checked him at the article just because I thought he was going to skip it. But he did down, we got the article, and moved on to the area with the drain, where he did a little detour to find out what it was. Next corner was not bad, and I had to run to make it around the corner without getting his line tangled. As we got closer to the end (of course I was not quite sure exactly where that was) I began to worry: but finally he downed, this time turned around to make sure I was coming, and when I got there the article was between the front legs, even if the legs were sideways.
I am learning a lot from all this. And Raj is having fun, which is what matters.