Kuiper has his nose down in the grass.

Tracking for Fun and Profit

“If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.” Joseph Campbell, “The Power of Myth”, 1988

You don’t have to have a bloodhound or a beagle to learn to track for fun; any dog with a nose and a love of food can do it. Yes, even #whippets! #donttellmewhaticantdo This is only Kuiper’s second time out, but he is ON THE CASE. He isn’t about to let those hot dogs get away! #AKC TD title here we come!

Have you ever wondered what a dog is actually sniffing for when they’re tracking someone? It turns out that the answer is….drumroll please….”a combination of things.” Depending on how old the track is, and what type of terrain it’s on, the dog may be sniffing for squished grass or dirt, or microscopic particles from your shoes, but mostly they’re looking for something called “skin rafts.” Um, ew?

We shed about 40,000 skin cells per minute, along with bacteria, sweat, hormones, skin oil and tiny traces of soap/shampoo and laundry detergent. These combine together to form a unique scent “signature” which is different for every person (including identical twins.) As bacteria nom on these little chunks of…us…they release even more scent. In the wild, scent functions a lot like smoke or fog. When it’s cold, dark, and damp out, skin rafts will tend to settle and stay close to the ground. When it’s sunny, hot and dry, scent will tend to rise (which can also dry out the skin flakes and make them harder for a dog to find.) Thus, tracking is somewhat a winter sport.

Skin rafts sound a little gross to me. I would much rather track chocolate rafts, personally. Or maybe cheese rafts. What about you? What kind of rafts would you track?

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BcUECOOAtQg/

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