Thursday, June 21, 2012

5 Hours

What can you do in 5 hrs?  Work over a half day of work.  See a double feature.  Drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix- no traffic.  5 hours is a long time.  Can you image following a scent that is 5 hours old?  It is hard for me to imagine since I couldn't track a bloody steak dragged over the ground.  Unless it was on concert and I could see the blood trail.

Today I laid a track for Dottie at 10:30, and we ran it at 3:50.  It took us about 20 minutes to run, (time spent feeding on articles and staring at my map!) so when we were done, she was tracking a scent that was 5 hours and 40 minutes old.  That is insane to me.

There was only 1 spot that gave her a bit of trouble. She sniffed, then ignored the beach... ball that was about a foot off her track. (There is a pre-school across the street, I guess it came from there.)

I used my Fitness app on my tablet and it told me the track was about 900 feet long.  About 300 yards.  Not that long, but lots of corners.

The weather on base were we are tracking has been "June Gloom."  Overcast and cool.  It didn't get over 70 degrees the entire time the track was aging.  A track aged 3 hrs in the heat is much harder than one aged 5 hrs in the cool.  Scent is like water.  It evaporates and much more so in the heat.

Since it has been so cool and overcast, I needed to challenge her to get ready for our IPO FH in 2 weeks.  The FH is an advanced  tracking title.  It is aged 3 hrs, but I don't have the other requirements memorized.  It should be similar to a TDX, but no obstacles.  The trial is inland in the dry heat.  I hope they lay the track nice and early and we get to give it a try before it gets too warm!  Fancy and Pie will be entered for their Tracking 2 titles.  The TR 2 tracks are aged 30 minutes.

Pie's track was aged a half hour and Fancy's 40 mins. Fancy was so intent on her track, somehow she did not see the bunny that broke and ran 2 feet in front of her nose, over her track! That is very unlike her.

Fancy is finally coming along.  She is motivated, confident, and wants to be out there.  Pie improves, then regresses.  1 step forward, 2 back.  But next time it might be 2 forward and 2 back, then 3 forward and 2 back.  So we make some progress.  Until then she does 7 steps back and now we start all over.  Yet even when that happens we can progress more quickly than last time since she has the foundation.

Time for me to head out to IPO training now.  Dottie is going to trial for the "Search Dog Suitability Test"  (in addition to the FH.)  She has been practicing finding victims lost in the orchard.  She doesn't give up searching, but sometimes she runs right past them without finding them!  At first our poor victims were starving to death, but last time Dottie found her before hypothermia set in.  This is doing air scenting rather than ground scenting like in tracking.  When she finds the victim she barks to let me know.  I don't think Dottie can be a real life search dog because her stamina is too low.  They have to cover a lot of ground and I think she would tire out too soon.  Pie would be better suited physically, but she gives up and becomes discouraged.  Dottie has the tenacity needed to keep looking.

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