Bailie is in training for a TDX Test right now. She is our super tracking hound and is hoping to get a test spot this year. Her TD title took three tries, but when she got it back in October 2015. It was well deserved. The next step is the TDX, Tracking Dog Excellent, which is a lot more challenging than the TD.
Bailie rarely has trouble following a track, but there are some new challenges when one does a TDX track, and these need to be practiced. The biggest problem Bailie has is starts. In a TD test, you know the direction the track starts, but in a TDX, the dog has to figure it out. Bailie is often so excited to get going, she takes off without thinking. Because of this, Mom is practicing real short tracks with her that start in different directions so she learns to take a moment to figure out the right direction.
One new challenge in a TDX track is a cross track. This is where someone walks across the track when it is laid. The dog needs to ignore that scent and stay on track. We practice in a field that has cross tracks in it, so that helps us out since we don’t always have someone along to make a cross track for us. The cross tracks are mowed, and kids are always running around on them.
Another challenge is the change of terrain. Tracks might pass from mowed grass to fields, go through a wooded area, cross over a small stream, things like that. Each type of terrain holds scent differently making it more challenging for the dog to stay on track.
So far in training, Bailie has had no trouble staying on track with different obstacles. The above photo is what Mom usually sees – a flying hound behind! Mom has to slow her down all the time as she is far too fast to keep up with!
The TDX tracks are 800 to 1000 yard long which is twice the distance of a TD track. The tracks are also aged from three to five hours, they have a minimum of three turns, and there are four articles that must be found. Treats are not allowed during tests, so the dog needs to stop at each article and then keep tracking until the end article. For Bailie it is usually not a problem because she just loves to track. Test spots are hard to come by, but hopefully Bailie will have some luck and get a chance to try for a TDX Title soon!