Archie and Devon did VST tracks again on Sunday. Steve gave me a huge challenge - lay him and Archie a blind track. For the record: when a tracking judge asks you to lay a blind track for him and his dog, it is a little intimidating! But as I've said before, he hasn't fired me yet, and I remember one track last summer that would have done it!
The first track pictured is Archie's blind track. It was of legal length (627 yards) and had 57% non-veg and was more than 3 hours old when Archie ran it. It didn't have an MOT turn and my long 2nd and 3rd legs were too close together (they were closer than 50 yards).
Archie once again covered my tracklaying faults by running this track to perfection! I wish I had this on video, because it was text book tracking on Archie's part and great handling on Steve's part. Steve says when you can run three tracks equivalent to a test, you should enter. I'd say Archie just ran his first on Sunday!
Devon's track is the second track pictured here. It was 464 yards long with 53% non-veg and it was aged about 3.5-4 hours. This was also a fun track, and Devon did a nice job on it. It had minimal chalk (I know my time is coming for a blind track since Terrie and Steve have already gone there); and I don't believe it had any finger touches (Steve can correct me if I'm wrong).
The start was along some very high mounds with the scent drifting off both sides. Halfway along the first leg, the mounds went into a valley which would also hold scent. Devon handled this very well; however we were high and along a major Interstate as it joined into the Outerbelt. Even on a Sunday afternoon there was heavy traffic. Devon stopped and just stared at the cars zipping by; she had never seen traffic this fast or heavy. After examining it, she got back to work and even tracked past two leather gloves that were not her own saying, "Not mine!"
Devon worked nicely onto the parking lot. Her track was along paint lines. She worked well and found her metal article easily. I knew by her body poster and behavior there was an article on the other side of that light post even before she found it. She also handled her MOT turn well.
The track then went onto a sidewalk, and Steve warned me to hold her away from working left due to some broken safety glass. Devon handled this restriction quite well and quickly committed to the right. Up and over a driveway and the track went along a grassy area before we got to what would be Devon's greatest challenge.
While most people think MOT turns are the hardest tracking challenge, for Devon the hardest challenge just might be goose poop. According to Devon, these tasty morsels are high energy snacks that must be consumed by tracking dogs. As Devon came onto the pavement again and into the curb, it edged a fountain with a pond ... and geese ... and goose poop ... lots of it.
Devon really did a good job at first not snacking. I let her explore the track down to the water, and she respected the "leave it" commands. As we came around the fountain she found her plastic article. She worked forward and briefly inspected a drainage way down to the fountain which contained some kind of dead furry beast that she didn't investigate (thank goodness).
Then it was across the drive to the sidewalk, and this is where her will power broke down. Goose poop heaven and she snacked. She was able to work up to the next turn, and as soon as she went left away from the goose poop I followed! I agreed with Steve that even in a test I would have followed her on that just to get her away from snacking! This was shades of her first turn on her TD test track where I wanted to go anywhere other than the deer trail to more deer poop which is where she wanted to go.
Devon worked the last few yards to the end article, a leather wallet, very quickly. She got lots of praise and the wallet was extracted carefully as it needed a little clean up after Devon's snacking. I was glad Janet was in a pick up vehicle (and actually allowed Devon in it after the snacking) so we didn't have to walk all the way back to the van. Devon did a very nice job with this track and again showed she is really understanding the game.