The track I laid was the longest one yet and went both up and down a fairly steep slope. The tracking from Bella was really good. She started out with her high speed but did slow down about halfway through and worked at a steady pace all the way to the end. I was super proud, especially since she's in heat and has been feeling a little under the weather.
In between Bella sleeping and sleeping more, we are also practicing with a method of marking. It involved buying tennis balls and making a 'scent box' from an unused flower pot and cardboard.
I bought these Kong AirDog balls which were bouncy and squeaky. I have always had better luck using treats to motivate Bella but wanted to try a toy this time. She has already 'killed' one of the balls and she wasn't even trying! It still bounces so we can use it but I had hoped that they would survived more than a dog's bite.
The trick is to put the highly desired ball into a place where it's impossible to reach without help. Inside the box is the smell I want Bella to associate with the ball in time. So what I'm trying to teach her in the long run is that when she finds the smell she will sit down because sitting down when she finds the smell means fun/ball.
'I need monkey fingers.'
I like the theory and believe it can work but I am still on the fence whether I can use a ball to get where I want. I'd rather try not to involve treats if I can help it. I wanted to see Bella be more eager to stick her nose into the box to get the ball but after the second time of trying she knew she couldn't get the ball and just stood there waiting for something to happen. I'm trying to wait for her to get close to the box and stick her nose in before I tell her to sit and wait and then play.