I don’t know exactly what has been using up all my weekend time — maybe picking up apples — maybe watching Tiger play golf — maybe running the vacuum, trimming the wild wisteria, using the Dremel on the dogs’ nails, going to training classes. All I know for sure is that we had not been tracking for three weeks. So, while it was still a little gray (and cool) outside, Chase and I packed up articles that had been steeping in a sealed bag with my dirty socks, some special treats, and threw everything in the car with the tracking bags.
Instead of going to the church that has all the VST elements, and where we usually train, we went to the Albuquerque Academy. I laid Chase a 300 yard, three-turn, four-article track beside, into, along, and out of a sandy arroyo and through sparse vegetation. I only aged it for twenty minutes because he had never tracked this terrain before. We had a little trouble with the start. Instead of beginning in vegetation (because there is none in this location), I placed the start flag and article on deep sand. Chase thought I was kidding, but I asked him to check the start article a second time, and he decided we really were going to track. He wandered a bit more than I like on the first leg, partly because there were so many bushes that needed watering. I told him in my serious voice to “find it”. He threw me the tuned-in look that gives me hope, and a moment later pounced on the first article (a plastic light switch cover), and then followed the track to a good first right turn. He followed my scent down into an arroyo and made a left turn to follow the track along the arroyo bed. He was wagging when he found the leather square that was the second article. I had pieces of raw beef stew meat for treats today.
The track continued along the arroyo bed then made a right, up the bank and through some dead, prickly plants. Kip is a tenderfoot, but Chase doesn’t seem to be bothered by the prickly plants. He stuck his nose on the plastic cookie cutter that was his third article. He also doesn’t look for ways around the more unpleasant vegetation. Once he determines the direction of the scent, he leaps over the bad plants. He trotted the last 30 yards of the track to the glove and stood with his front foot on it. Chase has a great dog smile. That happy smile reminded me that we need to track at least one time a week.
It’s good for the souls! This afternoon we have our Rally class — he’ll have a good time, but not as good a time as we have out in the boonies all alone.