Yesterday we heard from Kevin Armstrong that his Karma passed Deer Search certification test. Our congratulations to Kevin and his blood tracking dachshund Karma who got Prize II and 65 points. Karma is one of those dogs who are very good natural trackers but are not that turned on on artificial lines. The line was 21 hours old, 1000 yards long. Karma did it in 70 minutes. The judges were Bob Hageman, Ronald Hausfelder and Gary Neal.
Kevin wrote: "Winter kill carcasses all over the place (there were remains of at least 4 or 5 dead deer scattered all around the 3rd turn. At one point Karma picked up a hoof attached to a leg bone and hip bone and looked back at me as if to say - is this what you want?). The carcasses gave us quite a bit of trouble at the third turn but the thermal was carrying scent from the reward in our direction. Once we made it through the carcass area and made the third turn she had it down as solid as on the first leg of the track.
The advice the judges gave me is to "trust your dog". Karma was on the trail 90% of the time. Though she often tracked 10 to 20 yards down wind of the trail, she was steady the entire way except at one point where she was slightly distracted by a flock of turkey and live deer that crossed the trail during the day and when she was in the area where the carcasses were.
I interrupted her several times because I was trying to verify the track with blood or a track. The errors were handler errors. The dog was a solid, steady tracker. They told me to watch her body language. When she lost the trail she would stop, lift her head and look back at me. When she was at her best her tail was straight back. When she was very hot on the scent her straight tail wagged. When she was not on the trail her tail drooped. I found the advice VERY helpful. I'll use it a great deal in the future."