Today I’m once again handing over the blog to Bailie so she can report on her tracking certification test. Take it away, Bailie! Thanks, Emma! I’m so excited to do this post. Mom scheduled my tracking certification test for January 24 at 11 am. I wasn’t the least bit worried as I can track in my sleep, Mom was pretty confident too, until…we pulled into the Washington County Fairgrounds and she saw the tracking judge waiting for us. She told me she felt like she was going to be sick. I crossed my paws she would not be sick as it would be so embarrassing for me to have my own mom get sick from nerves. She did not get sick, in case you were wondering.
I’m thrilled to tell you all, we ran the track, and I passed with flying fur! Yep, I’m certified and can now enter a TD test to get my first tracking title. Mom and I can’t wait! The top photo is me with the end article, a leather glove, and behind me is the area my track was in. My certification form is four parts as I have four chances to pass my TD test. The hard part is getting into a test. Most tests only have six to eight track spots because of the space needed to lay a track and there could be many more dogs wanting to test. Spots are drawn in a lottery system, so we are hoping we are lucky and can get a spot in March. The judge said I did a wonderful job, but I may want to slow down a bit. I don’t have to slow down, but it might be a bit nicer for Mom.
Our track was 480 yards long with four turns. It must be laid following the same rules as a TD test track. Each leg has to be at least fifty yards long, there must be three to five turns, it must be aged for at least thirty minutes but not more than two hours, as well as many other stipulations. You may think it would be easy on a snow covered field, but it is not. For one thing, I don’t go by sight at all. Mom has tested this out with me and I go way off track even when there is only one set of footprints to follow and then I sniff my way back. I use my nose only. This particular field was also covered in footprints from people walking around on it making it impossible for even Mom to know which prints were from our track.
Finally, I wanted to bark a bit about my tracking line. Many people use cords or ropes, but we use a Biothane line which is a synthetic material that is superior to leather in strength and durability. Mom loves it because it can be dragged behind us through mud, dirt, snow, water, whatever and simply wiped off when we are done. It is immediately supple, doesn’t need to be worked in, and needs no special care like oiling. It is also super lightweight and doesn’t get knotted. My line is forty feet long, has no handle (see arrow) and has a brass rivet at twenty feet (see arrow). All tests for tracking except for one require the handler to be at least twenty feet behind the dog at all times. The rivet is something Mom feels slide through her hands so she knows we are at twenty feet. The lines aren’t cheap, but are great to work with. These lines can be ordered with handles to be used as a leash but for tracking a handle is only a distraction. Emma and I both use a shorter version of these lines for our nose work.
Emma wanted me to mention her guest post. You all may know my sisters and I love to run with Mom. Katie has retired now, Emma runs occasionally, but I run with Mom all the time. Mom says running with a dog is the best way to run in the world! Emma wrote a guest post for 4 The Love of Animals titled “10 Reasons To Run With Your Dog“. Stop by and take a look, I think you will like it and perhaps be more motivated to run with your dog. I know I sure love our morning runs!
I’m co hosting the FitDog Friday Blog Hop with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!