About three weeks ago, October 24th, Dave and Winnie, Clifford and I competed in the Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association's AKC Tracking Dog test. The grounds were beautiful and allowed good viewing for spectators, and for videotaping the runs. Both dogs passed their tests! Winnie for her first title - Winroc Winsome Winifred, TD, and Clifford to become -
Ch. Briarbanc Brych Red Dog, TD, RE, AX, OAJ, OF, JH, CGC.
Clifford's video is on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pztay-55xHw
(I was having "issues" getting the video into the blog itself.)
It rained during his track, and you can hear and see it on the video. He did a terrific job - after he got through his first turn. Watch on the video. We overshot the corner by about 15 to 20 yards before he worked back and committed to the turn away from the camera. On the last leg, Clifford is coming toward the camera and gallery. It is a view one seldom gets to see of a tracking dog. Watch how hard Clifford is concentrating on the track. He doesn't even notice the gallery until they start cheering after he finds the glove.
Good dogs, Clifford and Winnie!
PS. For those of you who aren't familiar with AKC tracking tests - the dogs have to follow a course which was plotted by two judges the previous day, then walked by a stranger to the dog 30 minutes to 2 hours prior to the dog attempting to follow the course. The start is marked by a stake with one more stake 30 yards out along the first leg of the course. In the Tracking Dog (entry) level, there are 3 to 5 turns, both left and right, each leg of the course is at least 50 yards long, and the total length is between 440 and 500 yards. There is an article belonging to the tracklayer at the start, and one at the end, typically a glove. The dog must follow the course by scenting, and find the end article. Most dogs take 6 months to a year in training before they're capable of passing the test. They only have to pass once to earn their Tracking Dog title. Tracking tests are in such demand that dogs have to be "certified" as ready by a tracking judge before they can even enter a test!