Toro and his Canadian TDX

by Gina DeAlmeida


On September 9th, Toro and I packed up our truck and headed up to Canada for our next adventure in tracking.  This was going to be our first attempt at a Canadian TDX, and we were a little nervous!  As you may or may not know, the Canadian tracking tests DO NOT have a start article!!  So we had been working on tracking for at least 200 to 400 yards without the help of an item with scent on it:   not very motivational, but necessary.  Also, the Canadians believe that a cross track can be put ANYWHERE on the track (including the first leg).  So with all of this training, we set out for our TDX adventure.

The morning of the trial, September 10, 2010, we arrived ready for just about anything!  The draw gave us track #4.  It was a partly cloudy morning, beautiful fields, breezy and cool.  As the other dogs headed out to each of their fields, the day got warmer.  We wound up in front of our field at high noon - 12:20.  After a cool drink of water, a slight harness adjustment and our little heart-to-heart chat that we always have at the start of each track, WE WERE OFF!

Our track headed out parallel to the road.   Within about 60 feet, Toro slowed to investigate something towards the road.  He moved  only four feet away from the track, but this was not like him at all!  I was immediately worried, but the little voice in my head was screaming, "Trust Your Dog!"  After a very short time he proceeded forward and back to work in his methodical manner.  He never looked back from that point on.  After a right open turn and a right turn, there was a pause. He sits. First article found!!  It was a glove?  He was confused!  Gloves are only at the end?  "Mom, what should I do?"  I responded, "Go find some more!"  So off he went, through a ditch, a left open turn, a right open turn, through a short wooded area, another right turn.  A long walk up a hill proved productive when at the crest, there was a pause.  He sits. Second article found! Another glove?  He had the same confused look, but I had the same response.   He pulled me forward to another right open turn, down a steep hill, through another ditch and forward for over 200 yards to the middle of an enormous field.  And then there was that wonderful Toro pause. He sat and the last glove was his!  We did it in 18 minutes!  WOW!!

Unbeknownst to me, leather gloves are used for all the articles in Canada!  Then we also found out the cross tracks were indeed on the first leg, only 70 yards from the start (remember, no start article) and on the second leg (still no article for reference or rescenting).  I will say that my boy proved to me that he can work out the toughest track put in front of him and I will always trust him to the end!  His ride home that evening was filled with toys, treats and lots of praise from his humble mom. 

I still look at the sport of tracking wide eyed as to how these beloved companions of ours will work so hard to please us for sometimes the smallest amount of praise.  I will always shower my boy with love for whatever his results are.  He deserves it for all his hard work!

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