I took Blueberry and Clancy tracking with my friend, Joyce, yesterday. We met up at the Boot for Clancy’s first tracking lesson. It was very chilly, just getting into the ’50s near midday.
At Blueberry’s last tracking test, she again made it to the last turn and just wouldn’t commit to it. I did not mess her up and one of the judges, Luci Seeley, told me I handled everything correctly and did all I could to encourage her, but Boo finally came and sat down by me and just quit. After talking with Joyce, we decided to lay some longer tracks to get her over the shut down hump. I went through this a couple of years ago with her where she would get to a certain point along the track and just quit, finally after just keeping after her and laying longer tracks she was tracking solidly again. This is why I chose to go this direction with her, she needs to learn that there is a glove out there to find and motivate her to keep going.
Joyce headed off to lay Blueberry’s and I went to lay two shorter tracks for Joyce’s dogs, Micah & Alex. Her guys are working on TDX stuff, so I laid one for Alex about 300yds long that went through thick brush, across a road, down it, then back across it to the glove. For Micah I laid one about 180yds long with a couple of articles and focused on how I entered and setting Micah up for a 90 degree turn at the start flag. After those were laid in the lower fields we went to the top field to lay a some tracks for a lady that is training with Joyce and Mr Clancy’s tracks.
For Clancy’s first set of tracks, I had Clancy watching Joyce as she walked his tracks and banged the glove on her leg. The first track Joyce put a couple hot dog pieces at the beginning to pull his head down to the scent. I let Clancy go and he ran up to the start flag and started chewing on it, goofy boy. I got his attention down on the hot dogs and then he started moving down the track. I was careful to make sure I stopped when his head came up and only to move once he was head down and working. He got to the glove and we played for a minute with it before Joyce took it and started the second track. On the rest of the tracks Joyce did not put any food at the start, but did rub some on the bottom of her feet. Clancy took a while on the first track to move and kept looking for the hot dogs. He was watching Joyce now and ready to go, the last two tracks he went head down and pulling to the glove, barely glancing up at all. The first set of three were, 10yds, 12yds, and 15yds. I put him up in the truck for a rest while Joyce tracked with another dog. After that dog was done Clancy had another set of tracks. He knew what was coming and was ready to go, the first two tracks were well done, the last track he was losing his focus and stopped to look around at us more, but still pulled into his harness and found the glove. The second set of tracks were 12yds, 15yds, and 20yds. He was such a good little boy and everyone loved him.
We then headed back down the hill to run the aging tracks. We ran Blueberry’s first as her’s was now aged to about 1 1/2 hours. Blueberry was raring to go after watching Clancy track, she was so jealous of him. I started her about 10 yards out and let her work her way in as she was jumping around and just being goofy. About halfway down the first leg she settled in and started working well. She worked the first turn very well and the second leg went through an area that was a huge pile of dumped tires and has now been cleaned up. As Blueberry hit the center of that area she really had a hard time keeping on the leg. She kept working back and forth to find the scent and I could tell she was getting frustrated. I just kept quiet and she finally found the exit scent and once through that area she found her first article and then on to the second turn. At this turn she had a hard time, kept casting back and forth, went to the right where the leg went but never committed and kept coming back to the turn area. I was behind the turn by about 10 yards and after several minutes of really wanting to go straight, she committed to the right and down the third leg. She made the third turn which went to the left at a harder angle and then midway down that leg she found her second article. Once I was at that point, I could see where we were and I think she was picking up the scent from the article and wanting to cut off the leg to get to it, so I am glad that I held my ground and let her work it out. She worked the fourth turn well and was halfway down the fifth leg when a dog across the road started barking and startled her. Blueberry didn’t want to push forward as this leg went directly towards the dog. I just waited her out and she did come down and work the leg, finding the fifth turn and worked through that to head down the last leg. She was working a little to the right of the track, but the last 20 yards she was right on and stood on her glove, what a good girl. Her track ended up being 490yds total length and had some tough obstacles overall on it that she worked through and didn’t quit. The obstacles weren’t planned and we really didn’t know ahead of time how they would affect her, but I am very happy with Blueberry and that she does work through stuff and find the glove, now to get her to do that in a test.
A good day tracking was had by all.