Bailie here posting today about my quest for a tracking title. Emma figured it was best for me to cover this topic since I was there and she was not. I was hoping to have a nice title to howl about today, but instead of any titles I have some yellow paperwork marked failed, my draw keepsake, and the list of competitors.
Mom and I learned a lot from our first quest at an AKC Tracking Dog Title. The hosts in Iowa were all so very nice to us and quite helpful too. The first lesson we learned is if a competition is four hours or less driving time, we will sleep at home and leave real early to make a 7am start time. The hotels are often not the best which means, neither of us slept well. We are both used to hotels, but this hotel was not conducive to sleep. Then there was the wabbit issue. The entire place was surrounded by wabbits. I wouldn’t do my business because I was too busy trying to get to the wabbits. It was not a good scene.
The test was held at this conservation center. It was a nice place and awesome for tracking. We were there really early as Mom was nervous and didn’t want to be late if we happened to get lost. I was the third dog of six to draw a track and I got track five.
The above photo is a view of the start flag for my track, track five. The first leg went straight to the left parallel to the roadway. My track was also the only track completely visible from the building, so everyone could watch from indoors.
What happened? Where did we go wrong? It started with Mom being nervous, putting my harness on inside out, upside down, backwards, and finally correctly. Her fear was I would mess up my start as I had been doing that a lot lately. She vowed to trust me which is hard to do. She had me lie down, sniff the start article and then it came…”track”. I took off like a rocket. Mom ran behind me. We ran, and ran, and ran, and then I started playing around, sniffin’ here and there, no more speed – Mom knew, we were off, and then the whistle blew. Title forgotten.
Above is my track map. We never thought to ask what to do if we got the whistle, so we just stopped. Finally someone came and told us to go back to the judges who were at the turn I missed. The judges and track layer all said to Mom NEVER run behind your dog, let them pull you. We restarted at the missed turn and I finished my track and found the article no problem.
Afterwards, Mom was kicking herself because it was her fault for running behind me. People had told her she might want to slow me down, but no one ever said never run. It was also my fault for losing the track and then moving on to other scents. Mom will never run behind me again which is a huge lesson to learn. Tracking is really a solitary sport, so we don’t get critique from others often and we now know what can happen. Once consolation to it all was only two of the six dogs passed, so it may have also been the conditions which made things a bit more difficult.
The worst part is not the failing, it’s that we don’t know when we will get a test spot again, and we will have to drive probably 6-8 hours if we get a spot. There are no tests in June, July, or August, so if I don’t do it soon, it will be a long wait. We have two tests we will try for and hope to get in.
If getting a title was easy, every dog would be doing it. We will keep tracking and I will get my title, just not as quickly as I had hoped. We didn’t take many photos since I didn’t title and we didn’t bring a photographer. Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes on Sunday, Mom and I really appreciated them all!
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!