Tracking Dog TD and TDX Test 2015


Peninsula Australian Shepherd Association put on its tenth annual ASCA sanctioned TD and TDX tests over Presidents' Weekend at Fort Ord Public Lands, an enormous parkland developed from a decommissioned military base, just inland from Monterey, California.  Sadly, this area is being turned into a National Monument.  that means it will be closed to off -trail events like ours.  So this will be our last tracking test here.

Two TD tests and five TDX tests were plotted on Saturday and run on Sunday.  Sue Rush of Monterey, CA and Donna Highstreet of San Jose, CA were the  judges.  Donna and Sue are both PASA members. 

The Fort Ord site is hilly but gorgeous.   PASA has obtained special permission from the BLM to use a portion of the park that is closed to motor vehicles, so the space is quiet and pristine.    In spite of the massive drought we are having in California there was quite a bit of cover resulting from the recent rain.           
The big news of the weekend was that Jean Danver's Australian Shepherd dog, Chaps, passed his second ASCA TDX  Saturday which earned Chaps an ASCA Master Tracking Dog Title (2 TDXs and 3 TDs).  He is the third dog in ASCA history to earn this title.  All the Master Tracking dogs are owned by PASA members.  

Judge Donna Highstreet wrote up the Results.

Greetings from Peninsula Australian Shepherd Association.  Sunday, Feb 15 was PASA's Tracking Test at Fort Ord National Monument.  The day dawned clear and very chilly, but quickly warmed up to the upper 70's by midday.  The cover this year was spectacular!  Plentiful green grass, blue skies, and clear views made for a memorable event.

  I had the pleasure of judging with Sue Rush.  We got lots of exercise and burned lots of calories hiking up and down the hilly terrain to plot the 2 TD's and 5 TDX's.  We were rewarded with passes on both TD's and 2 TDX's.

  TD1 was run by Australian Shepherd dog Lorac's Trail Blazer, "Scout", owned by Lora Cox.  Scout completed his 4 turn, 475 yard track in 9 minutes.  Scout searched back and forth at the first 3 corners, then made a perfect last turn to earn his ASCA TD.  Congratulations to Lora and Scout!

Judge Sue Rush, Lora Cox & Scout, Judge Donna Highstreet, Tracklayer Susan Roberts

  TD2 was run by Belgian Tervuren bitch Incyta Safari Adventure for Me "Kenya", owned by Linda Knowles.  Kenya's only blip on this 5 turn track was before the second corner when she broke off to go check out this large cement block.  She then found the corner, but came back and explored briefly around the block again before continuing onto the next leg.  By the last leg, Kenya had picked up speed, and poor Linda took a dive in the grass, but popped right back up immediately, and they finished the 485 yard track in 6 minutes.

Judge Sue Rush, Linda Knowles & Kenya, Judge Donna Highstreet

  TDX 1 belonged to Jole' Cajun Chaps, "Chaps", an Australian Shepherd dog, owned by Jean Danver.  Chaps got off to a good uphill start in the lush grass.  Not far before the first corner, he broke off diagonally down the hill to the left and gave us a scare.  But suddenly, he turned and trotted back to the track and continued to the nearby corner.  Chaps actually penciled every corner on this track, but of course, Jean didn't know that.  On the 3rd leg, he found the checkbook, and then went thru the brush/tree obstacle.  On the 4th leg, Chaps diverted to searching around and through a very large pile of dead brush/branches.  After a few tense minutes, he made his way back to the track.  From then on, he was perfect.  Chaps is a very methodical tracker.  He paid no attention to either set of crosstracks, and was soon rewarded by finding the sock article.  He negotiated the log crossing, found the last 2 corners, and, tracking steadily, finished his 835, 7 turn track in 25 minutes.  Hugs all around!!  So proud of Jean and Chaps on their 2nd ASCA TDX pass.  Along with his 3 TD passes, these 2 TDX passes complete the requirements for Chaps' ASCA Master Tracker title!   He is the third dog in ASCA history to earn this title.  All three of those dogs are owned by PASA members. 

Judge Sue Rush, Tracklayer Doug Nichols, Jean Danver & Chaps, Judge Donna Highstreet

  TDX 5 was DD's Serengeti's Surfin' Safari, "Safari" owned by Michelle Pressell.  We started this track at 12:09, and it was really hot by then!  Thankfully, Michelle was armed with 3 bottles of water!  Safari got off to a great start up a hill, then turned onto the second leg toward the dreaded cross tracks.  She briefly looked to the right at the first set, then continued on and made her corner.  After 50 yards, she came to the second set of cross-tracks, and lo and behold, she passed right by them with nary a glance!  She was soon rewarded by finding the checkbook article.  30 yards later, there was an obstacle of low tree branches to pass under.  She searched back and forth through a low depression before the obstacle, then just went on under the tree.  The 4th leg had a 30 yard steep, uphill eroded ridge obstacle which Safari went right up very easily.  Not so easy for poor Michelle!  The next corner was the most difficult spot on the track  for this team.  Safari searched all directions and wanted several times to turn left.  Michelle later said she thought the track continued uphill.  But, Safari finally prevailed, they turned left, and happily found the sock article on the next leg.  The 6th corner was an open turn in shorter grass on a ridge top.  Safari was hot and tired.  Michelle gave her water, squirted her, and gave her encouragement.  Safari committed, and soon got into longer, lush grass.  She found the 7th corner and passed through a large patch of very tall ground cover, and soon indicated the final glove article.  She finished the 950 yard, 7 turn track in 30 minutes.  Despite the heat and rugged terrain, they persevered.  Michelle was patient, and very supportive with frequent water breaks.  Congratulations on a very impressive TDX pass Michelle and Safari!!  By the way, this was Safari's ASCA TDX 2!

Judge Sue Rush, Tracklayer Susan Roberts, Michelle Pressel & Safari, Judge Donna Highstreet

  Of course, we all know how much work a tracking test involves.  PASA is totally indebted to our wonderful workers.  This test just would not happen without their dedication! 

  Linda Stamper did a super job as test secretary, preparing the premium and catalog, managing the draws, and keeping all of the entrants informed.  She also arranged for our popular REI gift certificates for all of the tracklayers and hospitality folks.

  Saturday hospitality for tracklayers was provided by Warene Waters.  She was going to make soup, but due to hot weather, changed it to chicken salad.  She also made the yummiest lemon bars!  Warene also helped drive tracklayers to and from tracks Saturday.

  Sunday hospitality was provided by Mona Nichols who brought her popular hot baked potatoes.  She had every topping you could imagine or want for the potatoes.  She brought cookies for dessert and a nice tossed salad.  No one can say we don't eat well at our tracking test!

  Ken Highstreet was there with our RV to put the directional signs out along the roads, welcome people in out of the cold, and helped get the food ready for mealtime.  He also helped clean everything up afterward.

  We could never do this test without our faithful, experienced, responsible tracklayers.  They have all been laying tracks for years.  Most of them aren't even involved in the sport of tracking with their dogs.  Doug Nichols laid TDX 1(Chaps) and 3.  Joan Carpenter laid TDX 2 and 4.  Susan Roberts was our "stinkiest" tracklayer this year.  She laid TD 1(Scout) and TDX 5(Safari).
Diane Aven laid TD 2(Kenya).  Jenny Hutchinson and Lori McCammon laid all of the crosstracks this year.  Sorry to say, all of these fine people had to wait around for a long time on plotting day.  No matter how organized you want to be, plotting is, well....plotting!  Anyway, we thank them all for giving up pretty much 2 whole days of their time! 

  Lastly, we would like to thank the BLM for allowing us to use the gorgeous back country of Fort Ord for our sport all of these past 9 years.  It fits our requirements exactly, and we just love that place!!  Open grasslands for the TDs and more challenging hills, trees, obstacles for the TDXs.  Even if I worried about the goats and sheep being in the wrong places when we were there, I realize they are playing their part in preserving those coastal grasslands without things like star thistle, and controlling the coyote bush which wants to invade the grasslands.  We have so many fond memories of fun, comraderie, communing with nature, and watching some amazing performances from many dogs, through cold, hot, wind, and rain!   We will really miss our times at Fort Ord, but we will always greatly treasure them!

  Happy Tracking to all,
      Donna Highstreet