Wednesday, April 20, 2011
TDX Part 2
A tracking test takes alot of people and time to put on the event. The San Joaquin Dog Training Club Tracking Trial offered 5 TDX tracks plus 1 alternate track and 7 TD tracks. All in all it took about 25 club members, judges and two days of work to host the event. A big Thank You to the club!
Whisper drew 4th track of the day, the wait seemed for hours and the day started warming up. Warm weather ages the track faster amd makes for harder tracking conditions. All the dogs before her had failed their tracks for one reason or another.
Hers was the only track that we had to drive forever to the start. The drive out seemed like miles of dirt roads and rolling hills. At one point a stream/small river crossed the road and the bottom of the road wasn't visable. Not having 4 wheel drive in my van I held my breathe and crossed the steam imagining what would happen if my van got stuck in water in the middle of no where. We made it and continued driving and driving to the start. We were so far away from base camp only the judges and tracklayer were at the start flag waiting for us to arrive.
At a TDX start the track direction is unknown, the dog has to figure out which way to start. Whisper started off with confidence she knew the direction. Allowing the line to go out 20 feet I followed her. She easily found and made the first turn. On her second leg she stopped and as I sent her on to continue tracking she picked up her first intermediate artcle. Luckily she did as articles are not always visable. If the dog/handler team pass any article without the handler picking it up the team fails. So far so good. The third leg went up a steep steep hill, panting after her I realized I wasn't in as good a shape as I had been in years past. Up the hill then down the hill, turn into a forest and major milk thistle weeds. She didn't want to go through the thistle and came back to ask if I really wanted her to. Yes she needed to go and off she went.
Intense concentration is needed by both the dog and owner during the track. Watching the dogs tracking behavior is important to stay on track. Is the dog crittering(no), going off on cross tracks(no), past a corner and indicating loss of track(no), what is the wind doing to the track scent(?), roads may not be crossed directly but at an angle or paralleled-if the dog can't find the track did she/he search 360 degrees around the handler to figure out what happened to the track? That and a myriad of other concerns are always in the handlers mind tracking.
Whisper made it easy, she did the entire track with no help. Turns were spot on, articles indicated and picked up, roads crossed and track picked up on the opposite side with no help. Except for following along behind her I did very little and was suprised when the track ended, it seemed too short and easy. In fact when she stopped tracking on the 7th leg I didn't think we were done and tried to send her on tracking. She picked up the glove looked at me and tried to toss it at me.
We were done and the first team to pass that day.