Trooper's TD

by Nancy Grove


On Sunday 12 Dec 2010, Farm Fresh Semper Fi (Trooper) earned his AKC Tracking Dog title. York County Dog Training Club in Gettysburg, PA, hosted the test. Judges were Stephanie Crawford and Alan Strauss. Conditions: Rain, overcast/foggy, winds 5-10 mph, temperature low/mid-40’s, ground cover 4-6 inches with some taller patches. Oh goody, a soggy cold damp day to be out tracking – Trooper’s kind of weather.

When we arrived at the test site all I could think of was ‘oh the weather outside was frightful’.

At the handlers' meeting, the last thing the judge said to the handlers was to remember to breathe when we are on the track (yeah, right). I drew Track 5 out of eight tracks plus an alternate track. The first leg of our track ran parallel to a creek that Trooper spotted on his way to the start flag. Fortunately, he did not pay attention to that – maybe because he was already wet. At the start flag, he checked out the article that the tracklayer tied to the flag so it would not blow away. No problem, Trooper tugged until the article came free. Off we go. Halfway to the second flag, Trooper made a small circle, checked out the gallery and went on his merry way to the second flag, which he indicated. Then we were off down the leg. Along the way, a heron took off from the creek and flew a few feet along the creek bed. Trooper paid no attention – what a good man! At the end of a long first leg, Trooper paused to check out which direction the turn went. After careful deliberation – tug, tug to the right! Off we go. No whistle – yeah we at least made the first turn! A short leg to the second turn and again investigates the direction – tug, tug to the right. Off we go again. A shorter leg to the third turn, investigate the direction and this time a tug, tug to the left. Off we go to the fourth turn. After checking the direction and with a tug, tug to the right we were off again. Still no whistle - whew! Then we had a long leg that was heading towards the road. Trooper paused slightly to check something in a tuft of grass, but before I could check it out, he was off again. Another 10 feet and Trooper stood and locked onto a tuft of grass – the glove! – followed by a well deserved victory roll. Wahoo Trooper!

Oh, the weather outside was frightful, but the TD test was so delightful! Down the track Trooper did go, oh did he go, did he go, did he go!

Thanks to:

• Lenape club members for their enthusiasm at the TED we attended where we got bitten by the tracking bug.

• Joan Luckhardt and Diane Thompson, the instructors at Lenape’s Beginners Tracking class who firmly implanted the tracking bug – thanks “Teach”.

• ‘Coach’ Teryl for your patience in working with us especially through new situations.

• Our tracking buddies, Judy, Sandy, Joyce, Pat and John – thanks for all your help and encouragement along the way.

• Trooper’s biggest fan and supporter – Jim Bunderla. Huge thanks – we could not have done it without you by our side – Hugs!

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