Steve decided to walk from the car place back to the park. He called me my on my cell and suggested that he lay a track for us.
It's a big park. I couldn't see him. Olivia and I were checking out the ducks and squirrels.
Steve and I discussed in general where he would walk. He left a map that he had in his pocket as our start article. I hung out with Olivia to let the scent age for 25 minutes, then walked Olivia over to his starting place.
Olivia spotted the map and looked around for him. I picked up the map and gave her the commands "Find it." ... "Where's Steve?"
She was off like a shot – BACK towards the car place over the road! [Note: Olivia has her 30 foot tracking leash and harness on. She is not loose near the busy road.]
I get her back in the direction that I knew Steve had traveled and she puts her head down, tail up, and starts off looking for him. Yeah! I haven't tracked with her all winter. But she will do anything to find Steve!
Steve has left a Kleenex half way up a hill for her to find. I see a Kleenex that looks like it's in the path. Olivia blows by it – no indication (not a good thing in AKC tracking, but maybe its someone else's Kleenex).
I begin to wonder if we are really on his track. Olivia is still head down. She only looked up once – to check out some kids. (Kids can't be trusted in Olivia's book of rules). I tell her "Find it" again, and re-scent her with the map. You are allowed to re-scent your dog in AKC.
We are heading up a hill. There's more Kleenex to choose from in our path. Olivia circles in on one and gets back to business. At this time I am reminded of the advice my tracking friends gave me, "Trust your dog."
I follow Olivia to an open field and see Steve sitting under a tree in the distance. She keeps her head down until we are close enough that she begins to air scent him. That makes her raise her head and she spots him. She takes off at a full run towards him, while I do my best to keep up with her.
The end to a good tracking day… Or is it?
Steve heads back to get the car and I walk in the opposite direction back to the ducks. Our plan is for him to drive over and pick us up so we can spend more time in the park.
Eventually, Olivia and I head back to where he had crossed the road. Olivia picks up his scent again. I just stand there waiting. No way I'm going to cross a busy road with her, and anyway, tracking on hot pavement is very advanced – Olivia is strictly recreational when it comes to tracking.
The more I hold her back, the more she starts chopping and pulling.
So, what the hey!
I head out the way I think he would go towards the road, but Olivia takes a turn on the sidewalk, towards a crosswalk that I didn't know was there. Okay, I'm good with that. We cross the road and she turns again, away from the car place. Oh well, she had a good run. I let her go to explore it. After a few feet she turns back in the right direction. I notice that the wind has picked up and that it's blowing in the direction that would have carried his scent away from the car place. But when she lost the air scent, she went back to head down, following his footsteps in the right direction again.
At this point we are about to cross the busy road. She is hot to find Steve. I have to hold her back until there is a break in the traffic. Then we shoot across the road.
Okay – fun and games are over. Let's just walk directly to the car place. No way that Olivia could still be tracking Steve – it's not the direction that I would have walked.
I let her take me around the building to yet another sidewalk I didn't know was there. BINGO! We are now in front of the car place and Steve.
Olivia will never pass an AKC test – her fears get in the way; but when her heart is in it, she truly does have coonhound that coonhound nose.