I didn't want to start Ramble while Milo was still here, since tracking was Milo's favorite activity, and I couldn't even bring myself to get out tracking gear after losing Milo, but today I was ready. Of course Ramble has been ready all along, and he got off to a strong start today.
It's not an ideal day for tracking, since it is hot and dry, but our grass is long, so I figured the scent would stay strong and localized along the track. I laid two 10 yard straight tracks with baby steps, dropping kibble in each step, with a glove at the end with kibble in it opening down toward the track to draw Ramble in. The tracks went uphill to help the scent flow down, making a stronger, easier scent trail to follow.
I had Ramble lie down at the flag to collect himself, but in the future I'll probably have him sit a couple of yard before the flag so I don't bias him in the direction of the track. Then I told him to "Go track!
I was thrilled with how Ramble did! He was very focused and very interested, without being in any way hectic or impulsive. When he got distracted by a loud noise once and a scent once (I suspect where a fox or coyote had marked) he got right back in the game. While he was clearly interested in and eating the kibble along the track, when he got to the articles he didn't show much interest in the food in them, which makes me think he was particularly interested in the actual tracking. He also tracked me from the end of the first track to the start flag for the second, and there was no food along that section.
Tomorrow we're supposed to have rain showers, so I'm hoping to get Ramble out again in more ideal conditions. This time I'll lay tracks with a turn, one going right, one going left, so he doesn't start to think that tracks are always one straight line. I can't wait!