When the sun decided to peek from the horizon, it was a stunning clear day. Could not have asked for a better day to attempt Blake's track 3! A dog must pass tracks 1, 2 and 3 to be deemed a Tracking Dog (TD), then tracks 4, 5 and 6 to be a Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX), and finally the enormous track 7 to receive their championship. As you get further on, the tracks become more challenging.
For my track today, there was three corners and two articles (socks that the track layer had delibrately dropped). A track layer (unknown to Blake) walked the predetermined circuit and hid about 45min before we set off looking for her.
My Judge giving me a quick chat about the track, Blake is raring to go!
He started well and headed off in the right direction, then he dithered a little and didn't commit to the scent straight away. However, we were soon heading up the first leg - which was huge! A T3 is 800 metres long and I'm sure that most of that was on the first leg. We then came to the first corner and he mucked about. He overshot the corner, he told me that he'd lost the scent and then started arcing around trying to find the scent again. Unfortunately, this section was a bit scrubby and Blake did a great job of tangling me up in dead branches, grass trees and tree trunks.
He found the scent again and decided he didn't want to commit, so arced back towards me, in doing so he spotted the Judge, the steward and Jason. Of course that meant they needed a big bull terrier bum wag and wide grin. However, he indicated the track again and off we went.
Blake circling back so his adoring public can admire him.
He found the first sock and told me it was there very nicely, so he got a little game of tug with it. We continued down the track towards a fallen tree, which he jumped over, then told me the track wasn't there. Of course, in doing so he tangled the lead in the tree trunk. Once untangled, I cast him around me and he picked up that the 'lost' person headed down to the right. The next article (sock) was not too far from that corner, which he indicated beautifully again. When you are on an unflagged track, those socks are such a welcome sight!
The third corner he went right around to the left with no concerns - perfect! By this stage I could see that he was getting a little foamy around the gums and he'd need a drink soon, I chose not to stop him as he was really powering, he knew he was close to the end.
By this stage, I had forgotten how many corners we'd done, I thought we needed to go a little further and there was a fence right in front of us - either a left or a right hand turn. But wait! Blake's hips and tail are going, he'd found the tracklayer! She was tucked in behind a bush on the right. What a good boy!
Tracking gradings go as follows: fail, pass, good, very good and excellent. Blake was graded 'very good' for this track. He has now completed 1, 2 and 3, and the paperwork for his title is ready to be posted,
Blake TD - I like the sound of that!