Well for some reason, 6 minutes has done wonders for my own motivation to get back into training with Bear.
This weekend, we had some wonderful weather, especially for February in Manitoba and so, while I had some bread rising and some beans simmering on the stove, I ran across the street to lay out a few short tracks.
The beauty of tracking on snow is that there’s no need for flags and you can easily see animal and human cross tracks. For me as a new handler, this is helpful because I can now see what he does when we come to those tracks and hopefully store it away in my memory bank. Also, according to Donna Brinkworth in her recent snow tracking post, there is bacteria trapped within the snow that is released as you crunch through and this bacteria has a scent that is apparent to dogs.
Although we live on a military base, the areas we track in are quite rural and deer are a plenty and coyotes can often be heard howling nearby. Furthermore, ATVs and skidoos are allowed on base in these areas and lots of people run there dogs here off leash so I have never been under the illusion that we’ve been tracking ‘clean’ fields but I have never actually seen so many as I did on Saturday!
I wasn’t sure what Bear would do so I laid three tracks: One short one with one corner, another short one with serpentines and one longer one (150-300 yards) with three corners. I placed one reward on the track and another in the glove at the end of each track.
Bear did incredibly well considering the fact that we have not been out in months. He stayed mostly on track, strayed a bit at cross tracks but got right back on after he checked things out. Below is a video I took of our final track on Saturday with my Blackberry (pardon the shaking).