Today we got together with K and her dog J (lab) and S and her dog G (golden) at Croft before work. Nothing like getting up bright and early to go run about the woods.
Each dog got several practice runs in, but I'll just talk about Z's since I'm running short on time.
We started with just a regular set of run aways - the first was about 50ft, second was around 70ft, and the third was about 80? ft.
The first one Z overshot her person since they had ducked into a little wall off the side of a building, but she looped back, found them and did a decent alert/refind.
The next, Z took a different route than the person had taken, but she beelined to her at a nice speed. She did dawdle a little bit, but once she got her head back in the game she performed a nice refind.
On the final runaway, the person ran into another building (picnic shelter). Z found her efficiently and did a good refind.
Overall a good set of runaways, so I decided to set up some short tracks.
The first track did NOT go well. She was following S's DH and we had a scent article but I don't think Z really picked up the scent when I presented the article. She took off in the right direction initially but kept getting distracted by scents. The track was about 5 ft long I would guess, with several turns, so it may have just been the difficulty level, but she seemed uber-distracted. Even when I could see our person, Z spent a god 2 or 3 minutes just goofing off before she pretty much accidentally found him. Bummer.
Our second track I simplified greatly into approximately 100 ft with no turns, but still in the woods. I instructed our victim to start moving away from Z when he saw her just to amp up her motivation a bit as well. I had a bit of trouble getting Z to take the scent article, but once I did, she was raring to go. She stuck to her trail well and found her victim quickly with lots of enthusiasm. The refind was a bit rough, but considering how on task she was for the track, I wasn't too upset in the long run.
At least we were able to end on a good note and it looks like I would be best advised to ease her into actual trailing in smaller increments to set her up for success.