by Martha Windisch


My youngest Golden, Ghetty, earned his TD at Lenape’s test on November 6. Because he is just over 1 year old and is sometimes a goofy male, I was not sure he would manage to pass.

I had both Ghetty and his Aunt Spring entered (she’s really his Aunt, since Ghetty is her sister Lola’s puppy). Spring is 7 years old and definitely knows how to track. However, she is very difficult to track – she thinks it’s a timed event, her tracking and crittering body language look very similar, and she has the highest prey drive of any Golden I’ve owned. Because she tracks so fast with a minimal number of body parts touching the ground at any one time, I call her style, “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”! She has flunked many certification tracks due to her terrible style. This year she finally passed certification in record time – she zoomed through the track lightning fast and lay down at the glove just as fast. I also lay down at the end to try to catch my breath.

Ghetty, even though he is closely related to Spring, does not have her crazy tracking style. His style is quite reasonable. He follows the track and will patiently work through scenting problems. So for the draw on the morning of November 6th, I drew Track 3 for Spring. Then I prayed that I wouldn’t draw Track 4 or 5 for Ghetty since I was pretty sure I would not be recovered from Spring’s tracking yet. Luckily, Ghetty got Track 6.

That morning there was dew/frost covering the ground when I started Spring. Unfortunately, the dogs on Tracks 1 and 2 did not pass, and at least one of those got involved in crittering. As soon as I started Spring, I knew that the frost was holding in too much critter scent and she was not going to pass. Her brain was chanting track-critter- trackcritter- trackcritter- crittertrack- crittercritter- trackcritter- crittercritter- crittercritter… and we got the whistle at the second turn. After that the dog on Track 4 passed and the dog on Track 5 did not. I was a bit worried about young Ghetty’s ability to handle the track since Spring did not have an easy time following it. Peg reminded me that Ghetty’s tracking style is much more reasonable than Spring’s. I realized that this was a good thing, but still was not sure. I was hoping for a change in conditions and got my wish when the wind picked up and dried out the grass. I normally would not be wishing for this, but I figured that since only one dog had passed thus far, that any change in scenting conditions might be good – or at least if I imagined it to be better, then it would help my confidence. I took Ghetty to the start flag and told him to track and he did. He only stopped the forward progress at one turn (the ground dipped past it) and he searched in a concentrated manner for what seemed an eternity to me. I figured that the low area was holding the scent and had backed up a little, but was not sure how far I needed to back up. Usually Ghetty does not miss turns by much – so I figured backing up a little was adequate. And it was, and he started pulling to the left – I believe he took at least one more turn before he started running. At first as I about lost my footing, I thought, oh no, he’s after a deer! But he had just scented, then spotted, the glove and made a dash for it. So, that ends Ghetty’s TD story!

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