ONE YEAR!- We try tracking

Jun 23, 2005 | Stitch's Story

It feels like months since Stitch and I have worked together. We have our yearly llama shearing, birthing, breeding, farmfair, llama show, kids buying houses, farming, unfortunate drug reaction, yadda yadda. Scuba is helping me a lot lately, but Stitch is basically being fed and petted.

This afternoon it actually stops raining for a couple of hours and I can’t stand the sunshine. I stuff my pocket with wieners and Stitch and I go for a walk. My friend has been talking about “forcing” me to do some tracking this summer (if I can walk far enough), so I get started on it.

I put Stitch in a DownStay and lay a little track: one bit of hot dog, five shuffle steps, another bit of hot dog, five shuffle steps, hot dog, and back to get her. No clue of course, but she likes finding the hot dog bits when I show her where they are. She doesn’t want to go looking for them, though, because she’s diligently not thinking about cats or gophers or ducks or anything else, but walking curled around me to be sure I notice that she’s staying with me. The third time, she stops looking at me and the scenery and starts sniffing. The fifth time, I increase to 8 shuffle steps between treats. This works better because she can eat a treat and get back on the track before she finds the next one rather than falling over it before she’s ready. Now she’s understanding what’s happening and I let her go out about 5′ in front of me. We’re going across the wind to start with.

On the way back, we’re going into the wind and she really gets going. By the seventh track, she’s 6′ in front of me. The eight track, I put in a 45-degree angle, not knowing what will happen. Since we’re going into the wind, she first heads out cross-country, straight for the last hot dog. I just hold the line, and she swings back onto the track. There I let her go, and she gets down to business, sniffing along the track, finding each treat, making the turn like a pro, and finding the last one. We giggle all the way into the house. Wow, that was fun!