Magnum and I are on a high due to passing the Tracking Dog Urban (TDU) test on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015 at the Purina Farm in Missouri. It was during the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association’s Nationals. I am so excited. He did a great job and was totally focused on tracking.
His first corner he overshot and I could tell because he was searching. He went to the left, then the right, and then straight – clearly searching. He is a fast tracker, so he has a tendency to overshoot his corners. He is usually about 20 feet out then indicates by searching that he has lost the scent. So we backtracked and found the corner. Backtracking is a skill to practice. The dog has to lead you, not you leading the dog. I kept telling myself before hand to just follow my dog. The next leg was short, but he turned and on the 3rd leg he found the article left by the tracklayer. It felt so good to find it and to know that we were on the track. One of the judges, Ken Barna, had asked us to wave the article. I almost forgot. Magnum downed at it, I told him good boy, put the article in my apron, then remembered to take it out and wave it. We were totally on grass at that point and I was thinking - where is the hard surface? He started to make an open turn to the right. It went over a road and then to grass, so I thought - I bet this is it. But Magnum then went left, so I said to myself, “Follow your dog” and followed. Good thing because of course he was correct. Then we came to a hard surface road and crossed it, went on grass, then crossed a parking lot, then back on grass and he found the end glove. Boy was I happy. Magnum was happy and clearly had so much fun tracking. Our track was 485 yards with 5 turns.
I needed to pass this for my confidence, which had a downturn. I didn’t have a good day tracking before I left and wondered how we would do. I just tried to stay positive and said my dog can do it. I just need to follow him.
After we finished, one of the judges said that I did an excellent job of handing. He said I was really good at back tracking when we overshot the corner. It was so good to hear it.
It was so great to see that Magnum is really a great enthusiastic tracker and can do what is asked of him.