Tracking Test Report

The Redwood Belgian Tervuren Fanciers, Inc, held our 4th annual combined TD/TDX test on February 2nd, 2014 at Mather Regional Park in the Sacramento, CA area. This combination
2 TDX/4 TD test gave preference to Belgian Tervuren, but was open to other AKC breeds. I was pleased to judge this event with Bob Rollins.

The field tracking conditions have been dismal this year with the drought we’re experiencing in California. While we normally have at least ankle high green grass in the fields, this year there is barely any green underneath the brown dead grass and weeds from last year’s growth. Worse yet, the star thistle of last year has not been softened by any rain, and remains prickly and tall, providing additional challenges for both dogs and humans. At least Mather does offer some grassy cover, even though brown instead of green, and some people said this was “lush” compared to the areas where they have been able to practice.

The drought also offered opportunities to use the land in ways that are not normally available. The large ditch that separates some sections of the property that is usually impassible was useable as an obstacle for the TDX dogs, and all three tracks utilized the challenges it provided at some point in their tracks. Oddly enough, despite no rain for weeks, there was unexpected water in some areas of the ditch on Saturday and even more strangely, MORE water on test day, though there was no overnight rain and no obvious source for any type of run-off.

As always, it takes a village to host a tracking test, and I want to thank club members and members of the greater tracking community for helping us make this test a success. Lisa Kretner was once again our Secretary/Chair and helped with hospitality. Without her early volunteering spirit, this test may have never happened. Pam Edgcombe was our Chief Tracklayer, stepping up to the plate to learn the job for the first time (and as you know, a combined test is not the easiest place to start), and doing a bang-up job! Pam and Alice Webber provided transportation for judges and tracklayers, and Kathleen Yee was our wonderful hospitality chair, providing delicious food for all.

Thank you to Sacramento Dog Training Club members Meg Azevedo and Sue Green for laying the first two TDX tracks of the day, and club member Anita Aborn for laying the alternate TDX which was used for judging. Club member Cheryl Bavister was primary cross track layer for all three TDX tracks, and member Janet Waters joined her for the task on Sunday.

Thanks to Kerri Shandro for laying the first two TD tracks, this was mutually beneficial for our club and for Kerri as she fulfills her requirements for her judging application. Club member Darlene Hernandez came out to the fields once again to lay track three and member Jan Murphy was tracklayer for track four. Meg Azevedo had offered to mentor a club member new to tracking on track 5, but an emergency prevented the member from attending so Meg put in the last track for us. Thanks Meg!

Plotting day was sunny and rather warm – (t shirt weather in February), but thankfully Sunday was overcast and cool – even perhaps a little “cold” in comparison to the 70 degree weather we’ve been having all winter. Despite the poor field conditions we had a 100% pass rate for the TD tracks!

The first TD track was ready to go at 7:45 and first time tracker Lizanne Kaiser with her German Shepherd Dog OTCH Dante’s vita Nuoava UDX5 OM8 GN GO TD CGC, set the tone by passing their track handily. First TD for handler. Congratulations!

The second TD track went to our only Belgian Tervuren entry. Usually LInda Knowles is playing a key role in hosting the test, but this year it was her turn to get to participate, with her not quite eight month old pup Incyta Safari Adventure For Me, TD. The cover on track two was probably the most varied, and in an area that’s sometimes not used much due to standing water. No standing water this day, but interesting stuff for a puppy to contemplate, and she gave us a little worry at her first turn, stopping in the area of the corner, but bouncing around and not finding the new leg for a little bit of time. Once she got that sorted out, there were just a few little puppy moments at the next turns, but then commitment you can’t deny and a quick trip all the way to the glove. Congratulations to RBTF member Linda Knowles and Kenya!

The third track went to a Mudi bitch, Irhaberki Gloria, TD and her person Mary Mytych. The tracklayer reported that the 30 yard flag was gone. When laying the track she thought it might just have fallen down, but no, it was just GONE. Fortunately the tracklaying went off without a hitch and the judges pointed the handler to where the 2nd flag would have been. Even if we hadn’t, there’s no question that’s where this determined little girl would have taken her handler. She was all about the tracking, with just the smallest of circles on first and second turns and “turned on a rail” on the third and final turn. Happy dog and handler to be the FIRST Mudi to earn a tracking title. Congratulations!

(And tracklayer Darlene still has a perfect record of all her dogs passing on her tracks!)

Track four went to Irish Terrier bitch CH OTCH Brennan’s Bonnie Begorra UDX2 OM5 RE GN GO VER TD with Barbara Henry. This Terrier also knew what she was about and was very clear in her tracking behavior. They had an especially difficult second turn, where the grass suddenly gave way to dirt rocks and star thistle, but this little dog worked the turn in the same way she worked the others and her person trusted her to make the right decision. A lovely job all the way to the end, and a new TD. Congratulations!

The alternate track, having been plotted the day before was available for titling, and our one alternate TD entry was happy to make short work of the track for a new title. Carole Shlaes with Gordon Setter bitch Timbaray It’s Princess Zelda MX MXJ MXB MXF NAP OJP OFP TD had to deal with a little more wind than the others, working a cross wind on the first leg, and into the wind on the second, causing a little more head up behavior, but still clearly working the track. She powered down the legs, quick checks at the turns and off they went to the glove at the end and a new TD! Congratulations!

We were able to take a quick break, get judge’s maps done and distributed, and photos taken before starting on the TDX portion of the test.

Unfortunately, we had no passes on the TDX. The Basset Hound on track #1 made the first turn easily, passed the first set of cross tracks with no problems, and crossed the ditch. Unfortunately she came up out of the ditch at a different angle than the track, and insisted on looking to the left instead of to the right, went out further into the field, did turn to the right but just got too far away from the track to be able to recover. We had hoped the nearby article might pull them back to the track, but it was not to be.
The smooth collies on tracks #2 and #3 experienced difficulties early on in their tracks.

Everyone enjoyed the delicious lunch provided by hospitality chair Kathleen Yee, and then the event was over. A short time later, the RAIN started!

I hope I’ve not overlooked anyone in my list of thank yous. If I have, I apologize. I should include a thank you to all RBTF club members who offer their unwavering support for our tracking program.

Kyla Smay
co-judge for this event
RBTF Inc Tracking Chair and Club Historian

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