We met up with Stuka’s breeder, Chris today to try our hand a some beginner tracking exercises. Before leaving, Stuka romped around with his sister Smooch, mom Kya, and friend Raven. We drove to an open field next to a local school and started with a simple “sneek away” exercise where we planted a flag along with a small article (sock, glove or hat.) Next, another article was planted about 30 yards later. Up to this point, Stuka is watching what’s going on, however after planting the second item he is taken behind the truck. After the second item is planted, our target (in this case Chris and my wife) hid behind a row of pine trees and let me know when they were done. I walked Stuka to the first flag and hooked up his harness and off he went… he quickly followed the exact trail Chris and Kay had left, and ultimately found them.
The next exercise was a bit more complicated and involved mapping out a more lengthy path through a field with a couple of turns and a number of hidden articles. Again, Stuka made it through the course. Never having tracked with a dog before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was really interesting seeing both Stuka and Smooch relying so heavily on their sense of smell to accurately follow this “invisble” route. At times, they would stray left or right but eventually got themselves back on track. During one of the “sneek away” exercises Smooch successfully crossed pavement to find me sitting behind a large pine tree — really impressive for such a young girl.