We got up this morning and headed just down the road to the Chickamauga National Battlefield where we met some friends to do some tracking practice. Spencer and I last played around with tracking 3 or 4 years ago when a few of us were just trying to figure it out. A couple of our friends stuck with it and are now working on their TDX and VST titles. They are graciously inviting folks out on Sunday mornings to introduce dog/handler teams to tracking and to share their knowledge.
Scout went out first. Bev laid a short double track generously littered with hot dogs. Scout worked very business-like, keeping a straight line right to the finish. Her next track started out with her original track, now extended to twice its original length - the first half now triple-tracked and the last half single tracked. Again she worked very well, moving right down the track with her nose down. Her third track was longer than the second and single tracked, and it was evident that she was losing interest in the hot dogs and just following the scent right down the track. Good girl!
Spence was next, and he did very well also. His style is very different from Scout's. While she tended to move in a straight line, Spence weaved back and forth across his track.
We are lucky to live close to areas where there are large open public fields for practice - the national park service has preserved a number of Civil War battlefields in our area. However, I just noticed on the AKC website that they are testing out a possible new title "TDU" (Tracking Dog Urban) because many potential tracking enthusiasts just don't have access to traditional tracking venues.