Max's Whirlwind "TD"

by George Calverley


Before I begin to tell you about Max's successful "TD" test, let me first tell you how I failed him on his very first test at Lenape. As you may remember, Max took off with a strong gait right from the very first flag. He literally pulled me all around the track. On the leg just before his last turn, he pulled very strongly towards the road on what appeared to be a beaten track in that direction. Knowing full well the tracklayer would not lay a track across a road, I started to restrain Max as I remembered Ronn telling me to "back-up". And back up I did, but unfortunately it wasn't far enough to pick up that last turn. Before I knew it, he had picked up the back trail, and away we went and so did the judges' whistle. I was then told we were just 50 feet from the drop. I had failed my dog by not handling him properly, but I had learned a very valuable lesson that I would not repeat again.

Our next test was the following week, 10 November 1991, at Indiantown Gap and was hosted by the Dauphin DTC. The day was windy, cold and slightly damp with the wind coming off the lake. Once again, Max drew the first track, and we started high up on a hill. I was nervous being the first one again, but I breathed a silent prayer as I strapped on his harness. Max was ready to go, and before we even approached the first flag, he leaned into his harness and away he went. This time I restrained him a little, as I was beginning to feel like the tail on a comet. Our track started out with a right turn then 125 yards later a left turn. Max was still pulling strong, and beyond the second turn I had no idea where we were going. I just had to put all my faith in him.

After a few more turns Max started pulling towards a cut in the woods, and again I reasoned that the tracklayer was not going to lay one through the woods. Remembering this time to "back up", I started backtracking. Before I had gone 10 feet, I gazed down in front of me, and, lo and behold, there was the glove. We were dead on track!

Backing up some more, it gave Max the opportunity to scent it as he cast across the track. He picked it up immediately - then dropped it. I remember telling Max to "get it" as he usually does, but then the judge interrupted me by saying, "Max has done his job, now you do yours and pick up the glove for the tracklayer, and congratulations on your 'TD'".

Max and I got a rousing cheer as we approached the onlookers, and I was on Cloud 9. From that point on, it didn't matter to me how cold and wet it was becoming. We had accomplished what we had set out to do at the tracking seminar on 27 April 1991. As a closing note, we wish to express our thanks to the wonderful club members at Lenape whose friendship and guidance has made this all possible.

Now on to the TDX!!!

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