Sunday, April 11, 2010

Toe's Track

I don't want to keep anyone in suspense. We did not get our TD title. (did I just hear a collective sigh of empathy?)

It was a complete and total BLAST! Toe did an excellent, excellent job and I was a good handler, staying out of Toe's way and I really did "just follow my dog"! Joelyn said both Toe and I did a stellar job.

Below is the judges map. The solid line is the track left by the track layer, the dotted line is Toe's progression of the track. It's pretty cool to see it after the fact since all you know is you were out in a wide open field....

There is a driver who takes you to the field, you get out and the judge points you to the starting flag. There is a second flag 30 yards further up the track to show which direction the track goes. After that you are alone with your dog in a wide open field.

The judge stays far behind and as long as your dog is working, sniffing and figuring out the track, they let you continue. When your dog obviously quits or takes a wrong path and doesn't back track or come back to find the true track, they blow a whistle to let you know it's over and you went off course.

The judges leave you to find the next dog in line, but the person who left your track stays with you so your dog can continue on and find his article - in this case, a glove.

The area marked where Toe went off track was a jogging path which people had recently used. We think the stronger scent got 'im and lured him off the track.
He hasn't experienced "cross tracks" (fresh tracks left by other people) before and it is an open space park. You gotta work what you have... no matter if a herd of deer wander across or a jogger cuts across your track leaving a fresher scent.
They use cross tracks in the TDX tests but not the TD tests.
The judges told me he was a really strong tracking dog, they thought I had it for sure. Both said I did nothing to fail my dog. It was simply his inexperience since he just started tracking this past Oct./Nov.
I gave him LOTS and LOTS of praise when we were back on course and he found his glove. I was very happy with my Little Toe! 9 dogs were entered and 2 dogs passed.... it was a fun day with beautiful weather!

The tracking committee goes out the day before to plot the course and they give each exhibitor a copy of the plotted map above.

This is Toe just as I sat down to the computer, the little fella is flat out now after having chewed his nylabone for a bit. He is plum tuckered out!


RuckusButt said...

Awww, I know that look! Sounds like he was a very good boy. I have a Plott Hound and have thought many times about looking for some tracking training for her but haven't done it. I did teach her some tracking myself - scratch that, she knows how to track, I just put words to it!

Cheryl said...

Awwww! Good doggie!!!

Next time, right?!!!

hezfiedler said...

Congrats on a beautiful track, if not a Q. I looked at the map. You guys were so close and he was so on the track the whole time. I'm so proud of you and the little bugger. You'll get it next time. He's going to be VST dog if you're not careful.

DebH said...

Gad, does that ever sound like fun!! I wish we had something like that here. You are making that sweet doggies life in giving him such a fun task and job! What an absolute sweet face and such a good boy. Gosh I hope the people you got him from follow your do him Proud!!

Kelley said...

Sorry to hear it, but I'm glad you had a great day anyway. Sounds like you are well on your way to getting Toe's TD!!!

Shanster said...

Ruckus Butt - I know isn't it so cool? All dogs are tracking all the time... we just put it to word and shape it to follow a particular thing. It's so interesting to me!! What lucky dogs you have!

Cheryl = I hope next time! He did a good job and I was really proud of the little fella!

Hez - we're gonna start some VST work this summer! FUN! Thanks - he did a good job. Durn footpath! grin.

DebH - yeah it was a ton of fun and he is a really great dog. His breeder reads the blog from time to time so she knows how much fun we are having and how happy we are to have him!

Kelley - yup - in October - he'll get his TD... it's all good. It woulda been nice to get it but I love my pup so it's fine we didn't!