Spring's TD Story

by Martha Windisch


Here’s an excerpt from the last time I reported on Spring at Lenape’s TD: 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!” … This year she finally passed certification in record time – she zoomed through the track lightning fast. (At Lenape’s TD test) there was dew/frost covering the ground when I started Spring. 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- track-critter- track-critter-critter- track-critter-critter-track-critter-critter-critter-critter-critter… and we got the whistle at the second turn.

This time Spring’s TD story has a better ending!!! She earned a pretty light and dark green TD rosette. I entered the Gloucester County Kennel Club Tracking Test on Sunday, April 8, (Easter Sunday) because I did not want to enter Spring in an out-of-state test, since her tracking style makes passing unpredictable.

We stopped at Estelle Manor County Park early in the morning before the test and laid a short track to get the shenanigans out of her system. She tracked that short un-aged track in normal Spring fashion – getting to the end but also crittering along the way as she tracked. I just hoped we would get to the glove at the test.

We arrived at the test site for the draw. There were three plastic Easter eggs in a basket – green, orange and purple. I was first to draw. Spring wears a blue collar and tracking harness, but there was no blue egg. I figured purple was the closest and drew it. Inside the egg was a number 1 – so I got the first track.

Upon arriving at the field I noticed that the cover was relatively high. It was also very windy. This looked to be good conditions for Spring – unless a field mouse happened to run out of the cover – then all bets would be off. The judges had also warned us that these fields had ruts in them and that using an easy command was recommended. I laughed at this, and the judge asked me if I had taught an easy command, and I said, “Yes – but it does not work so well with Spring!” At the start I prayed that I could stay on my feet and not twist an ankle.

Spring started at the first flag, ran to the second flag and about five feet past the second flag took a sharp left onto an obvious deer (or other critter) path. She messed around for a short time (it seemed like an eternity to me) and after telling her to get back to work and track, she did – and did so very quickly. The rest of the track is a big blur – she basically was off and running.

Looking at the map it was five turns (six legs) and she took eight minutes from start to finish (take away around one or two for the crittering at the second flag and she ran the 455 yards in six or seven minutes. She zig-zagged quite a bit, and I was quite confused at which places the turns were. When she reached the glove she lay down as if the ground went out from under her - and that ends Spring’s TD story! (She got an extra good dinner that night!)

Use your back button to sniff out a new story