Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back to Tracking after Hiatus

We're working again! Now the toddler is old enough to scout along and take an interest. He may be a serious mantracker by the time he's old enough to do it for real; he likes to range ahead and find the articles before the dog does.

Dustin didn't forget much while he was working a track every month or two, at least. He still prefers to work on oak leaves rather than grass and still hates to work on pine needles. He is beginning to dislike his mini-tracks and look at me as though it's time for the articles to be more than 25 paces apart. I may have to expand out of my couple-acre yard for him.

Bruce still hates to lie down in wet grass and still likes to track. He tried to steal the puppy's track today after running his own. He's houndy in his preferences -- finding an article, no matter how marvelous the reward, is still not as great as going on down the line and into the wild blue yonder. He still needs the occasional anchor point, though, or he'll forget what he's after and crusade on squirrel scent instead. Something has to keep him on the same line.

Then there's the puppy, called variously Bronwyn or Bronnie. She was in a box of puppies in the Wal-Mart parking lot, officiated over by two young men claiming to have pit-bull/bullmastiff mixes "worth $200" but they were only asking $20. I picked up the coal-black one, who was going limp with heat exhaustion (this was August, and the security guard had chased them out of the shade by the door, and they weren't about to retreat out of the main thoroughfare for the next nearest shade), petted on her a little and discovered she was sweet, and handed over $20. I thought finding her a new home once she was hydrated, wormed, and obedience-started wouldn't be all that hard.


However, even on very fresh trails, she sticks her nose down and finds footprints. I found this interesting. She's very keen to learn as much about the world through her nose as possible. She's also a climbing, jumping, rough-terrain fool. So, lacking any better ideas, I've started her on formal tracking. She's not showing any signs of being an AKC breed or some reasonable approximation, though she's emphatically too small and narrow-muzzled to make bullmastiff ancestors deeply unlikely, so we probably won't be titling. Perhaps we can do some SAR track-trail certifying instead. I also started her on the game of Find My Old Wisdom Tooth, which she likes a lot. Pseudo is on order from Sigma. The pipe dream is that she'll be good enough at all this that someone will go do SAR work with her. I don't expect to be deploy-able anytime soon.

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