Ben’s 4.5 hour old 2 km track

Some days, I feel like pushing it and today was one of those days. Ben and I have not practiced for awhile, and he won’t be in a test until next spring. Snow is coming so I wanted to take advantage of a relatively warm afternoon. At noon I laid a LONG meandering track for Ben. Jet and Ted walked with me as I laid it. I did some things I would never do if a test was close at hand. My goal was to allow Ben a loose line and see how he did.

The track starts at the left and goes counter-clockwise around the college. X marks articles which were leather, plastic, sock, cloth glove, leather, wood, sock, sock, glove. The last two were in our ‘article play area’ because I knew it would make Ben happy to end there

I forgot how early it gets dark, and I ran it at shortly after 4 pm. We ended up finishing with college lights shining down on us, under a starry sky. Ben did an amazing job! These are long videos and I do most of my filming for ME as I like to rewatch them and study his body language. For those interested, please enjoy!

Jet and Ted (Ben’s sire and dam) walked with me as I laid the track at noon. Jet is now 11 and is a Tracking Champion (in 2012). Ted is 11.5 and considers himself more of a stockdog 🙂 but I’ve decided to try for his TD next spring as he is very healthy and agile.

Below are video links and photos. In the bullets I describe some of the interesting things he did along the track. On the videos I also narrate as I follow. Enjoy!


Video One – part one – up to the bridge crossing and sock

13 minutes (longest video)

  • a rabbit popped up under his nose at the start (yes Peggy… eeek!)
  • a jogger passed by at our first turn and I worked on letting Ben know I have his back
  • at 3 min 30 seconds you can see Ben overshoot a turn, and the reason you know is that he always circles back to ME when he hits a negative (I teach this) – it is always nice to see this on video
  • lovely turn off the path into scrub and a serpentine around dirt and mulch piles to find a light switch – dead on! (that footstep foundation always pays off). Photos below of his turn off the trail and his serpentine around a dirt pile (also on video)
  • a turn at the curb, even though a truck was parked in our way – Ben went around it
  • a very neat LOOP, where I crossed a footbridge, put down a sock…

Video Two – looping my track, to passing the college main entrance

7 minutes roughly

  • … (continued from part one…) and then Ben looped back to cross my own track in front of the bridge – this portion crosses video one and two and I was so impressed with how Ben handled it – dogs’ amazing computer noses can detect scent age and he sorted it out nonchalantly
  • dead on along the front of the main entrance to go exactly where I went with Jet and Ted – right down to which concrete or brick pillars I walked between – stunning
  • a wide turn into a parking lot to end up on the wrong side of a median – and he sorts that out
  • and a very strong ‘pot’ smell in that parking lot… didn’t seem to affect Ben – or was that why he veered? LOL

Video Three – back to veg and road crossing to the soccer field bleachers

3 minutes roughly

  • interestingly, he has trouble finding his leather glove under bleachers – Ben has a superstition around these bleachers and it is his least favourite area of the college because of busy soccer games and crowds, and I wonder if he just wanted to scoot on by – so I had to encourage him. I used leather on purpose hoping it would be easy.

Video Four – from the bleachers to a wood ramp (and my iPhone cut out!)

Last video – just too dark – the ramp and building

two videos are 2 and 3 minutes respectively

  • a lovely turn UP a wood ramp and through an open building
Sock in the open wooden building
  • in the pitch black, heads for the pathway behind the college to end in his favourite “article game” area where I let him go to find a sock and a glove – happy boy!

And when it got too dark to videotape, I took some very grainy photos!

Along the lit pathway behind the college along a coulee

Below, Ben find a hidden sock, then popped up over the concrete because he could smell the leather glove, which he came around and grabbed! He just loves hidden article games!

And of course at the end

WE PLAYED! Good boy Ben! That’ll do!


Thanks for checking out the blog!


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