Tracking is going super well and both dogs are loving it. How does tracking work? Well, Hayley starts it off by nagging me at 4 or 5am on a Saturday to get up... Ok, that's not it but is the start of my extremely long Saturday's. At tracking, we are given a course to do. At this stage, we are just doing straight lines so I get given a piece of the veld to work in and a distance. I then take a pole and plant it at the start of my track, rub a stinky marrow bone under my shoe and then walk my paces. At the end of my distance, I place the bone and walk back to the car (obviously ensuring I do not walk over where I have laid the track or over any one else's track). I then take either KD or Hayley and attach a long leash to their harness and walk them to the start pole. I then ask them to track and then it is all up to them to put their noses down and find the bone!! Admittedly, they do tend to get distracted every now and then but they get back on track really fast and always find their bones. Once the one dog has done their track, they go back to the car and I get to lay the trail for the other one and then repeat the process. I find it fascinating to watch how each of my dogs handles it... Hayley is very relaxed about the track and takes it as an enjoyable sniff whereas KD takes this tracking work extremely serious and he is determined to catch the runaway bone!! Hayley however is more accurate than KD when it comes to getting to it where KD gets so excited that he tends to sniff right past it and onto where I walked back to the car. But: when KD finds the bone, he captures it and escorts it right back to the car! Hayley on the other hand finds it and let's me carry it for her.
Then, as if we are not busy enough with tracking, agility, obedience, work, studies and more, I have decided to try Hayley out as a therapy dog! A last month, I took Hayley to be evaluated as a therapy dog and she did pretty darn well!!! She handled each exercise with the flair of a well trained dog and only fudged on the one exercise. Fortunately for me, I was able to explain to the behaviorist that this was odd for her and she was passed - Hayley loves prams but I think she had an issue that there was no child in it and this put her off and then set her up to failure with the rest of the distractions. Oddly enough, this was the exercise I was sure she would pass with flying colors so I was surprised at her reaction. Throughout the evaluation, KD kept a bossy and watchful eye on his 2 gals from the sidelines and barked constant orders at us, ensuring that both of us knew what we needed to do at what time. I am looking forward to working alongside Hayley in this rewarding work.
Since then, the 3 of us have not had much of a gap in life between work, cycling and training. It feels like we are spinning with how busy we are. Then, to add to our manic lives, I got a call recently from Happy Tails magazine asking if they can feature Hayley for their MuttMix section!! Apparently MuttMix had referred them to us because of Hayley's odd variety of breeds. So no pressure but I had to write a 300 word article (have I ever managed to write so short???) on Hayley and her MuttMix experience whilst trying to fit in how awesome both my dogs were.
Just as I recovered from writing just over 300 words plus and additional 300 - 600 odd word cover letter, Happy Tails informed me that iPhone pics are not suitable for magazine use so we had to do a photo shoot. The timing? The afternoon after my first mountain bike race in years!! I raced, got nearly lost but finished, had a drink, shot through to FODs to say hi, then raced home to shower, change and grab the dogs for the photoshoot!
The photoshoot was stressful but fun and Dee from Strike a Pose photography did such a great job! She knew what she was doing from the word go and when Hayley had her looney moments, Dee let her relax and get ready for the next round of pics. She even captured the perfect shot with my dogs and I and kindly sent it to me. If you want family pics, I highly recommend her! Basically: call her already!!
If you want a great magazine and to read Hayley's story, buy the May/June copy of Happy Tails. It is a brilliant magazine. And: Hayley is offering free pawtigraphs to her fans!
Inspired by all this photographic fun and greatness, I was motivated to take my camera out not long after the shoot and I got some fairly nice shots.
Nature with a few power lines...
For now, that is all the main adventuring. Lots more on the horizon (and some cool things in the pipeline) but until then, have fun and we will see you out on our adventures.