I've had a lot of people comment on my uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time when tracking or photographing wildlife....especially elk, which have a reputation for being rather elusive. It's not that I am all that great at tracking, but that I have a secret weapon......and her name is Cricket.
Cricket usually goes with me when I'm hiking or looking for wildlife to photograph because she is so well behaved. She sticks close to me on the trail, and is always checking to make sure I am in eyesight. Sometimes, I play hide and seek with her, by hiding behind the trunk of a big tree - And she gets so excited when she finally finds me.
She loves to explore, and normally finds the highest spot from which to survey her territory. I am so thankful that she is a little afraid of larger animals, like deer, elk, and bears, etc, and won't chase them when she sees one (unlike her mother) - she usually runs back to me for comfort and reassurance. She is also good about not barking and scaring the game away or alerting them to our presence.
I have learned to take my ques from her when I am looking for elk, because she is really good at letting me know what direction they are in, when we are hiking in difficult or hilly terrain. Another behavior which she picked up all by herself is hiding low behind a log, tree, or rock when we do spot wildlife. She seems to know that we don't want to spook them. She is a wonderful trail dog and companion.
The following video was taken when we were tracking elk in the White Mountains of Arizona. I can hear the distant bellowing of elk but am not sure in what direction they are located, so I watch Cricket's reactions.
Just after this picture was taken, I walked up the hill a ways, and spotted a big bull elk just disappearing over the top of the ridge.
The following isn't really that good of a video, but this is a herd of elk, I would never had found if Cricket hadn't alerted me to their location, which was in a secluded little valley in the White Mountains of AZ. I had to climb over and down a steep ridge before I was in a position to see them.