May 6th was another tracking disaster for my sister Bailie. She has been so good about applying herself in her sports since last fall, but for her TDX test, the old Bailie was back.
It was a beautiful morning for tracking. The tracks were damp from the rain on the previous night, it wasn’t too warm, but Bailie had other ideas. Mom was worried she would start in the wrong direction as that is the biggest issue she has in practice. In a TDX test, the track direction is unknown to the handler, meaning the dog needs to sniff it out. Bailie started great, did the first leg like a champ, took the first turn, but then made a U-turn back to the first leg, flopped down and proceeded to roll in something disgusting.
There was no stopping her. Mom said Bailie was just having a blast being so naughty, and decided not to track anymore. After she went off in the wrong direction looking for more stinky stuff, the whistle blew and the test was failed. Mom was so mad, she did not even let Bailie run the track with the track layer.
What does one do at this point? I’m sure everyone is different, but my mom was really angry and didn’t want to take it out on my sister, and she did not want to be around other people. They hopped into the car, and drove to the parking lot where there was a trail down to the river. Walking and photography always relax my mom.
The two of them spent about half an hour wandering down to the river, and through the woods. Bailie was super happy. Mom had some time to process what happened, and clear her head. It was good practice for Bailie to do some modeling, and balancing out in nature.
Being fairly early in the morning, there was no one else around which is just what my mom was hoping for. It was so quiet, they didn’t even see a squirrel!
You may remember, Bailie failed her first two TD tests, pretty much for doing similar nonsense. Mom has realized that Bailie is a girl who puts priority on enjoying life over a good work ethic. You can’t really fault her for that, but it is hard when Mom wants a good work ethic. Thankfully Madison and I have that.
After walking and taking photos, the stress of it all had dissipated, and the two of the headed back home. There will be more tracking practice in the future, and more tests. In the end, the goal is to have fun training and testing with your dog. It’s more than just earning a title, but an honest mistake is easier to forgive than rolling in something disgusting. The question at any test for Mom will always be, which Bailie will show up…the fun one, or the working one?