Ginger and I were introduced to tracking in 2016, with the help of some very nice friends. In the beginning, Ginger and I practiced anywhere we could squeeze in a track... under power lines, alongside roadways, in school yards. As we progressed, we would more often drive the hour to the "valley" where there are many more fields.
In 2017, Ginger certified for an AKC TD test. We drove the seven hours past Fairbanks to North Pole for the annual tracking tests in Alaska. We drew a track which had less vegetation than what we had been practicing on, and we didn't pass. After I got over the disappointment, I realized how much more knowledge I had from failing. I had just learned volumes! We went home and practiced a lot more, in various conditions.
We certified again the following year. So, in August of 2018, we drove back up to the annual Alaska tracking tests. Ginger ran it like she was on rails! She was super confident the whole track, with only one corner questioned... but we took our time, and she made the correct turn to finish strong--we passed! Yay, Ginger! What a supportive group of tracking enthusiasts we have here in Alaska... can't say enough about how helpful and supportive everyone is.
In September of 2018, we went to the ASCA Nationals in Colorado. I had no idea how Ginger would do, given that the conditions were so different from our practices at home in Alaska. With no expectations, we walked to the start flag, I clipped her in her harness, and off we went... Again, she ran it like she was on rails, pulling hard in her usual fashion. We had one slight bobble at a turn near a tree. But, we took our time--a sniff here and a sniff there--and off she went with confidence in the right direction to the find the glove. What a happy day for both of us!
Tracking has lead us into Search and Rescue (SAR) work, which is very time consuming and most rewarding. It is my hope that we can be successful in doing both tracking and SAR at the same time. Tracking is finding articles, while SAR is finding people. Similar, yet very different. And Ginger loves both!