Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tracking After Hiatus

After actual months between tracking sessions, I finally got up, settled the baby in the stroller with the brakes locked so he could watch from above while we worked, and worked a couple of tracks. With luck, it'll happen again tomorrow. We'll be fair-weather trackers for some time, though. While I can find baby clothes to keep a little one warm, I cannot find any to keep him dry.

Each of the two boys had an eighty-pace track with nine articles including the starter. Each started on a leather article. Each had two leather, two paper, two plastic, two cloth, and one metal article. And there the resemblance ended...

Bruce is an excellent natural tracker, with a nice low nose. He was delighted to take a scent by a post and work down the line, and delighted to get treats for doing it, but couldn't for the life of him remember the down-on-article part. By the last article, though, he was beginning to stop and stare thoughtfully into space. A few more days like this, and he'll probably get the idea.

Dustin is a natural air-scent and trailing dog, with a high nose but excellent skills on mixed surfaces. He remembered the down on articles just fine. He had a big lapse on remembering the line of scent down at dead-grass level, or perhaps just doesn't find it as interesting as sorting out the entire neighborhood blowing on the breeze. As he's more experienced than Bruce, though, and also considerably smarter, he had it figured out again by the end of the line.

I'm not going to get ahead of myself, or them, though. For one thing, short tracks are much easier when also keeping track of the infant. For another, if I jump ahead too suddenly, I'll just frustrate everyone involved, including the little boy who insists on kicking off his blanket and then complaining that he's cold (and who hates his snowsuit.) When he's a little older, he should be able to ride in a backpack while I work the dogs, which won't show him much of what we're doing but at least will let him see where we've been.

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