Monday, February 1, 2010

I can't make this sort of story up...

I met J Saturday at 2pm for some tracking with Toe.

Toe is my little, one year old, English Cocker and I've always been interested in tracking but never been involved until now.
Tracking is an AKC event like obedience or agility. Someone lays a trail and leaves an article at the end - a glove, a sock etc., the tracks are aged and the dog has to follow the scent to find the article.
It's a pass/fail event so if they pass, they earn a title. TD is tracking dog, TDX is tracking dog excellent and VST is variable surface tracking. And now that you know what I'ma talkin' 'bout, on to the story!

I met my tracking teacher J at her house and I noticed the huge, overgrown, 300lb pot-bellied pig wasn't snuffling around J's place. "Where's Harley?" I asked. (famous last words)

J says he must've run off again! We get in her van, driving up and down her road with her window down yelling for the pig (well, she is yelling for the pig, I'm keeping a lookout for him). She's telling me what a bad pig he is to run off like that. That just sounded so funny to me "bad pig - what a bad pig"... in my head I was thinking.... "and THIS is the opposite of 'that'll do pig'"!

We are driving and driving looking for the pig. She decides to stop and lay a track for Toe so it can age - she wants to age it for 30 min this time vs. 15 min. And then we continue looking for the pig.

We find him at this lady's house down the road but J doesn't want to go down the driveway cuz the lady is a not a nice neighbor... only Harley isn't coming so down the driveway we go!
Now I'm hoping I'm not part of some weird altercation with this un-friendly neighbor. J knocks on the door and no one answers - SHEW!

She goes to get Harley, he's not moving very fast and he's sort of going different directions than up the driveway to the road and home. J gets her tracking line out of the van to make a makeshift harness for the pig.

Pig not liking that idea.


Pig very unhappy.

Have you ever heard pigs scream? OMG - it is make your ears bleed loud and high pitched and omg so effing loud and completely continuous. Neighbor horses are all running around and big clouds of dust are rising to the sky.... dogs are barking ... everyone is alerted to the unhappy pig.

Pig finally begins moving but balks at the line around it's belly and somehow gets thru it SCREAMING the entire time.
Tracking line gets hooked on pig's back leg.

Pig really unhappy now.

I get out and I'm trying to help J get the pig back in this makeshift harness... finally it's done...

Pig goes up the driveway. Pig on the road heading home. Pig screaming objections every so often.
I'm following in J's van very slowly behind them....

She tells me to go up ahead and get Toe and once she gets to her property line she'll turn the pig loose and we'll go track. I gather Toe and my tracking stuff from my car. J gets to her property, turns the pig loose and we go to the field where the track was set for Toe... it's now an hour or MORE old.

Hmm what'r ya gonna do?

J let me use her track line vs. my leash... 2 really different things for Toe! He hasn't worked 10-15 feet away from me vs. on my short 6' leash before and he hasn't worked on a track aged that long.
He didn't start very well, seemed confused and was looking to me. (you really couldn't fault him for this at all given the circumstances) We did sort of lead him to the first article and once he found that he was good, the light bulb went on and he worked the track - worked his 90 degree corners beautifully, found his articles and followed the track. YAY TOE!

There is a tracking certification test March 6 we are trying to get him ready for. He has to pass the certification in order to enter a real AKC regulated tracking event which means we'll be tracking each weekend and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed!
( yeah, keeping them crossed that the pig doesn't run away again! That'll do pig. That'll do.)


Kelley said...

HA!HA!HA! Every once in a while I have a friend say they want a pig of some sort, and all I can think of is the screaming you described. Pigs are neat, and intelligent... and LOUD!!!! Anyone that wants one should spend the hour you spent, and THEN decide if they Really want one!! HA!HA! Glad Toe did so well, and how exciting that he figured it out. Probably REALLY good training for him!

DebH said...

Oh man...I would of loved photos on that huntabout. Both on pig and Toe, so next time use the video that sounds crazy. I bet Toe was all worked up anyway, listing to that pig squeal. I know what that sounds like and it definitely could rattle people and dogs. I didn't know they do tracking types of events though..what a good excercise for Dog and humans both! Very exciting to be a part pictures..lots and lots!

Heather said...

Someday soon you will be using Toe to track the runaway pig!!!


Cheryl said...

I think Pig needed a Pig Whisperer. Or some pig herding animal. Guesing though that pigs probably aren't herding animals (hence the term pig headed?).

Toe sounds like a natural in tracking. He doesn't need it but I'll keep my fingers crossed for him passing the certification too!

Shanster said...

Kelley - Yeah, I actually really like pigs - but um - yeah. Won't be getting a pig any time soon...

DebH - I'll try to get pictures. I'm so bad about taking my camera with me places... gots to work on that!

Heather - oh you are fun-ny! But could the pig leave an article for Toe to find? No, no, no - not poop - I'm sure Toe would be happy as a pig in... to find that!