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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Well, it was all girls plus Steve ;) We took Sadie, Lucy and Freyja to the big ranch down the road this morning. We set out on foot right after sunrise. Pretty early on Sadie took a track on her own and bayed up solo. It was her first strike all on her own (*) But after about seven barks a coyote started howling right next to her. Several more joined in all around us, from the right and left and even behind. It was so eerie. I'm not sure who freaked out, Sadie or the hog or both, but the coyote chorus put an end to that bay. We made a decent loop through the property and the dogs perked up a few times but we came home empty handed. It is just so dry right now, which makes it tough for the dogs, plus there is no substantial water on the place for pigs. But I sure do wish we had caught Sadie's first solo strike. I could tell from her bark it was about 350 with 4" cutters with a pretty piebald paint job :))

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- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

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More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:13 pm 
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Dry heat makes tracking really tough, and I'm always amazed at what a dog can do here in 'zona at 100+ and under 20% humidity. A track is a combination of bacteria containing skin particles that rain off an animal (into the air and onto the ground), and the scent of crushed vegetation over which they have moved. The first to disappear are the particles from the animal. Those need moisture for the bacteria to survive, or they go away really fast, leaving only the crushed vegetation. If that is all that's left, a dog is much more likely to follow cross-trails. Although, if a fresher hog trail crosses her track, I guess you'd want your dog to follow it. But in SAR work, well, you want the dog on the original track.

One of the reasons a track is often easier to follow the next morning, even when it is older, is that night time moisture revitalizes the skin cell bacteria, freshening that component of the track. Spritzing your dogs nose and mouth with a fine water spray also helps in dry/hot conditions, as moisture is also a necessary part of getting the scent into the dog's system.

Scent science is pretty tough, because nobody has yet devised a machine that can smell, and nobody has yet trained a dog to explain it all to us. :-? But even though scientists aren't sure how smell even works, enough real world experimentation has been done (with dogs) to confirm the basics I just related.

Let me know if you want me to 'geek out' even more!

Oh, and congratulations to Sadie. Can't wait until she has a real first strike notch in that pink cut collar! \:d/ ^:)^

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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:38 pm 
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Boy, there are some smart people on this forum!!

When we first moved out here, I woke up one night to a coyote howling. One would howl and another would how. Man, they are eerie sounding! I've never heard any out here since and I dont consider that a bad thing!

Congrads on Sadies strike!!

Betty

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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:45 pm 
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Now Julie you know you're being modest..it was at least #415 with 5" cutters... ;)
Sure wish the Yotes had minded their own business!! :(

Jim you geek out any time the urge hits ya!! love reading your posts. :-BD

~Mis

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 Post Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:28 am 
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Jim, that is an interesting take on scent being left. A human scent I can agree with you with it being left that way but animals also have glands that leave scent where they walk. A deer for instance has what are called interdigital glands, they are on all four feet and leave scent as they deer takes each step, I would guess a hog being a hoved animal also posess these glands as well as a few more. 7 on a deer I believe.
Im not sure about Lacys but when the heat climbs into the high 70s the dogs noses seem to shut down. I wish I could find more info on this as im speaking from experience on cats. Terrain also plays an important role, I know when trailing them through burnt trees the coals will suck up the scent. Tracking is truly an art that is only learned from experience.
I would love to hear more of the science and get Geeked out" lol I found that interesting.
oh yeah and congrats Sadie! :D

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 Post Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:53 pm 
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Jim, another vote for more geekage, that stuff is so interesting. Chad is right about the interdigital glands, experienced blood trailing dogs will rely on that more than blood itself, which is why they can follow a track with no apparent blood present. If deer leave a scent through their glands, a big boar definitely will. But with the heat and no moisture to hold the secretions, it will be hard to pick up even the stinkiest boar, especially if they are moving fast.

I really like that idea of spritzing moisture on the dog's nose and in their mouth. On the ranch yesterday morning, we covered between 400 and 500 acres without a drop of water in sight. Having a little spray bottle we could stick in our pocket for those long walks would be really convenient. I might stop by a beauty supply store to see what I can find.

And Sadie says thanks to all her admirers ;;)

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"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:45 pm 
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Hmmm... yeah, I wasn't thinking about that component of the scent when I posted, 'cuz the tracking I've done and studied is of people. Thanks for pointing that out, Chad. And I haven't found anything that provides data on how quickly directly deposited glandular scent is going to dissipate relative to the other components, but I haven't had much time the last several days because of work. It's likely to be affected similarly to the skin rafts (heat and humidity being the primary factors), but may stick around a bit better than what comes off a human, which is glandular but isn't going to be as heavy, as it comes off in drier skin rafts. I'll research to confirm that scents like that from the interdigital glands has a similar nature; I suspect it is still bacteria that provides it's strength and uniqueness...

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