Top track and search skills

From left to right: Shiralee, Christine, Coral (judge), Renay, Sandra. Shiralee, Coral (Judge) and Annette.

By Rockhampton Dog Obedience Club

A beautiful crisp morning last Saturday was the perfect start to a productive Track and Search trial weekend. Very different from rural tracking in the bush or paddocks, tracking in an urban environment increases the complexity of the track as every type of scent or smell, distraction and unknown is possible.

The tests should be as close as possible to a life-like situation, where the dog is required to find a missing person demonstrating the dog’s willingness and enthusiasm to follow a specific scent. The tests require the dog to work on varied surfaces including gravel, sand, paved surfaces, roads and grass. Tracks may cross small streams or shallow bodies of water, roads (but not major roads) and may be laid in contaminated areas which may include houses, bridges, shelters, stairs and ramps, parking areas or similar structures.

Dog wear a high visibility vest and a harness suitable for tracking that does not restrict their breathing or movement. High visibility vests are worn by the handler and officials as well.

Tracklayers walk as a normal person would on a morning walk or errand and drop articles they may naturally have in their pocket or bag like a glasses case, notebook, child’s toy or glove.

Not far from the start of the track the handler is given an article from the tracklayer in a plastic bag, this could be a cap or scarf the tracklayer has worn that morning before laying the track. This is shown to the dog so they have a fresh scent before starting the track. From there the dog’s job is to follow the scent left by the tracklayer as they walked, finding the articles dropped and finally the tracklayer at the end.

With a good number of entries the trial had to be run over three separate sessions to provide for the environments needed for each test.

Tracks over the weekend had almost every distraction possible. Crowds of morning walkers crossing the track, party left overs from the night before with UDL and beer cans, food wrappers and the like right where the track the needed to go. Even a current child birthday party popup with a marque after the track was laid but before the aging time had elapsed for the dog and handler to go and find the tracklayer. But due to the excellent training each dog received they all passed with flying colours and there was a clean sweep with 6 certificates to be handed out over the weekend.

A big thank you to our Judge Coral Pethers and all of the volunteers for the weekend, Jaime Manning, Cathy and Brielle Robson, Peter and Sebastian Buchanan, Luke Nouwens, Helen Millar and Naomi Shaw.

Certificates for the Weekend

TSD1 – Renay and Archer

TSD1 – Shiralee and Loki

TSD1 – Annette and Flynn

TSD2 – Christine and Mannie

TSD2 – Shiralee and Thor

TSD 6 – Sandra and Alla (and TSDX Title)