TRACS held its annual Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) test on Jan 31 at Mather in Rancho Cordova. I’ll start out with the sad news that we had no passes, in the 4 dogs who ran, although the excellent performances and amazing dry green spring-like weather had us all exhilarated to be there. The test was both an amazing return to normalcy as well as a showcase of odd new behaviors that we are all becoming habituated to. Tracking is inherently a solitary sport, involving a single handler out in the field alone with their dog. The isolated connectedness is one of the major attractions of the sport. What was the same at this test? Judges in the background at a discreet distance, and the tracklayer at a further discreet distance from the judges. A small quiet dispersed gallery watching with baited breath from even further away. Handler and dog working fervently in their own little bubble. What was different? Not much since it’s all about the dog, although we missed the usual socialization and carpooling and feasting afterwards. Test Headquarters wasn’t a gathering point, with all of us working out of our own cars. I think the biggest impact that covid is having on tracking tests, is on our local judging corp. No one is comfortable these days with traveling and hoteling, so the only way tests can go on is if our local judges basically sacrifice their own tracking goals for the season, and judge at every blessed test that every blessed club is having in our area. That is what our sainted judges are doing, despite having puppies and older dogs whose tracking careers are on the clock, not to mention their hopes and dreams. So, this write-up is mainly a huge shout-out to our local judges and test volunteers! Thanks to our sainted judges Meg Azevedo and Kaye Hall, and to our tireless chief tracklayer Colton Meyer, and to our tracklayers Cathy Beam (who scheming on how she can bring her FAMOUS blueberry muffins and brownies to future tests), Lizanne Kaiser (future local tracking judge!), Jim Aitken (he is EVERYWHERE, isn’t he!), Sharon Prassa (your March TRACS TD test chair!). Also huge thanks to cross tracklayers Erin Shaw and Debi Best (I love people who say “I love tracklaying!”).
Next on the TRACS calendar is the Feb 21 TD test, where 7 dogs will be trying for their TD title. Sue Larson is the chief track layer – if you want to come watch from front row seats, contact her about volunteering!
Contact TRACS if you’re interested in working this test!
Thanks to TRACS photog-for-life Colton Meyer for taking pictures!