Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today's VST track

I laid a fairly motivational VST track for Devon today. I gave her some challenges, but I wanted to set her up for success after her tough MOT track on Monday. I also laid a lot of articles hidden along the non-veg. The articles were suggested by Steve to blend into the non-veg. I was interested to see if we could find things to "hide" on her.

The track was approximately 356 yards long with 147 yards of non-veg. Today our non-veg was not only blacktop and concrete (parking lot and sidewalks), but also mulch islands and gravel dividers between the parking areas. It was in the mid-50s when we ran this track and it was aged 3.5 hours. The day was sunny.

The track started with about 100 yards of lush grass with a pond on one side and a parking lot on the other. Devon started very strong. I brought her in almost directly on the track at the start. However, when it came time to turn onto the parking lot, she again acted like she didn't want to go. I think this is a bit of avoidance from the "pressure" of tracking non-veg. This is exactly why I wanted to give her a fairly motivational track today.

I held my ground and let her work through it with only a little water and a re-scent. She eventually committed to the parking lot after putting her nose right on the extra scent I left. When she committed she trotted purposefully out. 

The track angled across the parking lot. Angles are difficult for dogs. Devon committed to the angle, but when the track cut diagonally across a set of mulched, curbless islands with a thin strip of pavement between them, she allowed the islands to push her off the track. At this point, I got a little disoriented and wasn't 100% sure where the track was. I let Devon lead me, and she came back to where I thought we left the track. Once I got myself oriented again, I realized she was investigating the exact area where the track went over the set of islands. She worked through it and located the black foam article I had placed in the mulch. She was really proud of herself and so was I!

Devon headed out with more confidence after this article find. She angled across the next section of parking lot to the gravel divider and worked the gravel finding her metal article. After praise, she again set off across the parking lot. 

During these sections of parking lot, I paused if she acted like she was searching, but I went forward when I felt "tracking tension" on the line. About three different times, I saw her glance back over her shoulder to see if I was coming. I got concerned that I was pushing or guiding her, but I don't think I was. I know I only moved forward when she gave me tension, and that "tracking tension" is a different feel than pulling on the line when she just wants to go sniff something. I think she was looking for confidence and reassurance when she glanced back at me - this stuff is hard!

Devon found her black leather article on the edge of another curbless island, then went across a drive before a big section of grass. She spent some time on the grassy turn and really pulled me toward the building. I held my ground, because it was clear by her behavior she knew the track wasn't over there. She finally came back to work.

Entering the next section of parking lot was much easier for her. She worked the curb at the sidewalk and along an island into the parking lot for a few minutes, and then set off across the parking lot. I again used the tension on my line to tell me she was tracking. She worked this straight line across the parking lot very quickly, and then pulled me into the grass. She was on a mission once she was in the grass, as if she knew the end article was coming soon. She was right and we had a big party!

Devon did a very nice job on this track, and I feel like I know her tracking style a little better now. We're working through some tough stuff, and I'm really proud of her.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Sounds like you are making progress. You might want to be a little careful that you don't overdo and keep pushing this without a break. If you don't give Devon some time off you may develop another problem. She may take a dislike to tracking since it is such hard work. You might find that she will work even harder if she is a bit hungry, ie. hasn't worked in a while and is eager to please.