Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Aged Trail

So far Alfie and I have been working "runaways," where he actually watches his target run off and hide, and "fresh trails," where he cannot see the target run off, but still goes right to work on the trail as soon as the target is hidden.  Today was our very first "aged trail," where the target lays the trail and then we wait, allowing the scent to "age" before allowing Alfie to work it.  For today's assignment, Charissa was our target and we allowed the trail to age just 20 minutes before we began.

Alfie knew we were up to something but was very puzzled when Charissa left the house alone and I went back to my other activities.  Twenty minutes later, I harnessed him up, took him out, and gave him the scent item with the "smell" command.  He was definitely up for the challenge and responded to the "find" command by practically dragging me across the lawn!  (Mental note:  check with Charissa to see if she actually crossed the front lawn, or is Alfie taking shortcuts?)

Soon he slowed down and began to work much more carefully.  He decided to lead south, but kept glancing west across the farm road with increasing frequency.  We came to a church parking lot, which he gave a cursory check before definitively crossing the farm road west, into a cemetery. 

After that he seemed puzzled, sniffing the ground in wide circles, then totally stopping to air-sniff.  I figured it was time for encouragement:  stopping him, I showed him the scent item again and excitedly cheered him on with, "find this!" That was just what he needed -- with typical Alfie enthusiasm, he not only sniffed the little gauze scent pad, but grabbed it and licked it and tossed it around before beginning to circle purposefully once more with a "We can do this!" sort of attitude.   He widened the circles more and more until...yeah!!...he settled in again, leading me right to where she was.

Alfie in harness, standing and panting hard in front of Charissa, who is seated on a park bench.
Good dog!

...And, yes, she crossed the front yard.  And went pretty much exactly the way he led me.  What a dog.  We're having so much fun!

1 comment:

Vader's Mom said...

Yippee Alfie!! That's so fun to hear.