Monday, February 7, 2011
Echo's New TD
This past weekend Echo was in her first tracking test. Since the draw for the TD portion of the test was so early 7:45 AM we arrived the night before and spent the night in a hotel. Bryn and Marie came down for a quick lesson on clicker training sits,downs and recalls. Bryn and Echo also played a bit afterwards.
It is always a good idea to arrive early at the tracking headquarters. The draw started at 7:45 AM and any dog/handler team not present forfeits their spot to an alternate team.
Getting into a tracking test is unlike any other AKC events, it is not first come quaranteed entered. Once entries have closed, a draw is done about 10 days before the trial. However many tracks are available-in Echo's case there were 4 tracks-the first 4 names pulled out a hat are entered. In Echo's test there were 18 dogs entered, only 4 tracks were offered so 14 dogs didn't get in and were on the alternate list. It pays to be early to the draw and not lose your spot by being late. Once that everyone has checked in, the draw happens to determine which track each team will run. The first dog/handler team in catalogue order then pulls a slip of paper with the track they will run. In Echo's case she was third dog picked for the test and we drew 3rd track. What a coincidence.
Then the waiting begins for the tracks to age. California is going through another dry spell and the tracking conditions this year were less than ideal,no moisture and little green vegetation. Once the track has aged sufficiently the dog and handler are taken out to the beginning of the track and allowed to start when ready. Nothing is more humbling than to be at the start flags and know it is just you and your dog-well mostly your dog to navigate the 450-500 yards out in the field, multiple turns and find the glove. Echo started off gangbusters-she loves to track-and completed the track in my fastest time to date 470 yds in 6 1/2 minutes. There really was very little for me to do except hold on and follow her. She got distracted once by some old horse straw but with a little verbal cue went back to tracking. Turns were no problems and I was told she rarely came off the track. Six and one half minutes later she lead me straight to the glove and she eaned her TD! There is a special feeling when you pick up the glove at the end of the track and you and the dog are a proven team.
Ch Aragon Black Ice RN TD