It took quite a while for me to train my owner to go tracking, but at long last he has got the message. I have told him so many times to let me sniff my way around and for him to just hold onto the rope. You would think that was easy and straight forward enough, but oh no, humans will be humans.
Earlier this year I was put on two practise tracking tests and quite honestly I could not be bothered, so I decided to have some fun and track wild animals. Clearly I was not supposed to enjoy myself but to do as I was told, and you know how difficult that is for us females!
In May I attended my first Ordinary Blood Tracking competition. I was slightly apprehensive about what I was supposed to do but I did manage not to get car sick. Eventually my turn came to track and I was off like a Ferrari with my owner struggling to keep up. I stayed centre track all the way for the first 300 m just the way I have been told, and then stopped for a break. My owner wanted to continue but I wanted to have a longer break and I could not believe my ears when he stopped the test. I could tell from the look of total disbelief on the face of the judge that he thought my owner was totally without a brain.
Since then I have sniffed my way around tracks following the blood like a good Springer.
I knew when 12 August arrived I had to be on my best behaviour, so I started by being car sick. When the time came, we were allocated a track number and a judge and I was all wound up and ready to go. Because of parking problems the judge took the first three and I was told to hang around for 2 to 3 hours and try to be good. Well blow me down when after about an hour I was told to get in the car and get ready to go tracking. Clearly this was a killer judge who would stand no nonsense, so I decided the best plan would be to make it look like my owner made all the mistakes and not me. On the way to the track I smelt water and took a diversion. The judge thought I was thirsty and needed a drink, but I just wanted to cool down a bit.
Eventually we arrived at the start and I was ready for the off. In the forest it was cool so things were easy peasy, but as we climbed onto the higher ground with little tree cover, the blood smell was very feint. Oh boy was it hot, and not a stream in sight in which to cool down a little. I pretended to loose the track so that my owner could look good and show me to some blood to sniff – it is what the humans call team work. I knew where the track was all the time, so I put my nose down and went on to the end just like the good girl that I am.
Seemingly a number of people knew what grade I had got, but they let my owner suffer and kept him in total ignorance of the result. My judge was the first to start to read out the results, and usually they start with the lowest grade first and finish with the highest grade. You could have heard a pin drop when the judge started to read my performance report first. The organiser who knew my result interrupted the judge who realised the mistake and quickly corrected things.
Eventually it came for my report to be read out. Both my owner and I got a good report from the judge and when the grade was read out we received a loud applause.
I have to say it felt rather good to get a 1st prize, so good in fact I will try and get another one.