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Saturday, July 28, 2012

NYS Leashed Tracking Dog License Guide now available online

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation released a study guide, which will help future handlers prepare for the exam needed to obtain a license in our state. The guide is now posted online at

This is a very positive move in a right direction. Hopefully more New York hunters become interested in obtaining a license required to recover wounded big game with assistance of leashed dogs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

NY Leashed Tracking Dog License: DEC schedules exam for August 24

If you would like to use a tracking dog to recover a wounded big game in New York State, you have to get a license issued by New York Department of Environmental Conservation. To get a license  you must pass an exam. This year DEC scheduled the exam for August 24. You need to register for the exam by August 17.

From press release:

The examination for individuals interested in obtaining a license to use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals is scheduled for Friday, August 24, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. until noon at designated New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regional offices across the state, the agency announced today. The list of Regional Offices can be found on the DEC's website.

The deadline for registering to take the exam is August 17. A score of 80 percent or higher on the written exam and a valid New York State Big Game hunting license are mandatory requirements for receiving a license. There is a $50 license fee, and a $25 non-refundable processing fee associated with the license, which expires five years from the date of issuance.

More information regarding the leashed tracking dog license can be found on the DEC's website.

To apply for the leashed tracking dog exam, contact DEC's Special Licenses Unit by calling 518-402-8985 or by writing to:

Special Licenses Unit
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4752
Email: or
Visit the DEC website

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Action shots with Sony SLT A57: dachshund jumping into the pond

I have a lot of material waiting for posting but first I am going to post some action shots taken with the new camera. It was overcast, with not the best lighting conditions. The camera has an object tracking ability, and for this sequence I used the setup resulting in 12 frames per second. I am posting only first seven.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dog portraits taken with my new Sony camera

My new Sony camera has a lot of various filters that can be turned on when needed. The selection is mind blowing. The below pics show the outcome for various black and white filters. The first picture was taken with "rich tone mono", the next one with  "high contrast mono" filters. The last picture was taken with "Partial color: red".

This is a picture of Billy, who is now 8.5 years old. I really like this picture.
I remember very well when Billy was as a little pup. I used to call him "blue boy" as he had a blue puppy collar. His collar is still blue.

Paika while yawning.

A portrait of Mielikki that shows in color only her red collar. Next time we lay a blood line, I'll take a picture with this filter, and we should be able to see everything as black and white except for red blood.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Putting my new camera to use: Sony SLT Alpha 57

I love my camera, Olympus e-620, and I invested quite a bit of money into excellent lenses. However, the camera is not fast enough for action photography. It is hard to get good shots of dogs in movement, especially in poor light. There are so many new cameras being released that to choose a right model for my 2nd (and backup) camera has been difficult. So many factors to consider.  I don't like cameras that are too small, but I don't like very large DSLRs either. I love how my Olympus handles, and have been looking for something of similar size. Luckily, the camera I decided on, Sony SLT Alpha57, was available through Citibank Thank You Rewards. I have collected enough points to get it basically for free.

So this weekend I have been working with this new camera, and I am not completely sure yet whether I like it. There is so much to learn to take full advantage of all the options. Actually some features are pretty amazing, and autofocus and speed that allow up 12 frames per second are really impressive.

Even though I am planning to use the camera for action photography, I took some portraits and was quite pleased with the ones of Sky:

Sky is going to be one year old in two weeks. I LOVE this dog. The combination of his tracking/hunting talent with the depth of character and biddability does not happen too often.

This picture shows Bella (yellow collar) and Sky. Bella likes to torture some males, mainly Sky and Tommy, by pulling their ears and nipping them. She does not do it to older females, but all the young dogs are a fair game for her. She can be very rough.

Another shot of Bella and Sky while they were running at a full speed.

This is another shot of Bella being "mean" to Sky.
It will take some time to get used to the new camera but it has a good potential. More info will be presented in the future.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Billy and Penny's puppies are growing

We reported the arrival of Brigitte Walkey's 9 puppies on June 26. Brigitte sent us a bunch of nice pictures showing pups at three weeks. She says that pups are exploring as if they were a week older! for more information she can be reached at


There should not be a shortage of wirehaired dachshund puppies with potential for blood tracking in Canada. Brigitte lives in Langley, British Columbia, which is far for many trackers, but in the Northeast Laurel Whistance-Smith from Ontario has a litter of seven puppies almost ready to go their new homes. For more information you can contact Laurel at  705 277-9183 or

For the list of available or upcoming puppies click here.  

Dog days of summer

This picture of Tommy sums up well our summer. Even though it was a "cooler" day when we let him run rabbits this morning, he cooled himself by stepping into a bowl of water while drinking at the same time.

Starting them early

The picture comes from Teddy, who provided the caption:
Pup is two and a half weeks, rabbit is about the same. Pup was easier to pose.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tracking Dogs and the Heat Wave

by John Jeanneney

A passionate tracker is a man who does not quit. Even through this scorching summer he wants to go on training his dog no matter what. Whoa! Whoa! Let’s bring some thought, as well as passion, to this situation.

Let’s not assume that dogs are just like humans, and that they can take the heat like a tough Midwesterner. A dog does not sweat like we do. The dog sweats through his paws whereas we sweat all over and are cooled by evaporation. Also a dog pants, but this can’t compare with the human cooling system. Then there is the matter of insulation: T-shirts vs. fur coats.

When we ask our dogs to work training lines in very hot weather, as one southern Ohio friend has been doing, the dog may survive with his life, but it will be a very unpleasant canine experience. The memories of this are not going to promote enthusiasm about tracking in the future. Any value of the training experience is going to be vastly outweighed by the negative feelings associated.

 It is not a disaster if our dogs take a summer vacation like our kids. They are not going to forget their skills. On the contrary, they are going to be fresher and sharper when cool weather comes back. We ask our dogs to track the real thing in hunting season when the temperatures are more suited to their physical construction. Agricultural damage shooting is an exception.

For puppies in their first six months a short, 50-100 yard track once a week is adequate in summer. Put the blood down in the evening and run it at dawn. The same thing can be done with tracking shoes.

For a dog over a year old, who has tracked a few natural lines, there is really no good reason for running training lines at all if the temperature is over 75 degrees.

Over the summer they won’t forget what they have already learned.  When cooler weather comes they will have the drive and enthusiasm to try hard and learn more about the finer points of tracking.

 Some of the background for these opinions comes my experience running small training workshops one summer. Usually there were five or six dogs at each session. When the temperature rose above 80 degrees there was a dramatic fall-off in enthusiasm and performance in most dogs. The Labs and the wirehaired dachshunds had to be urged to track. There was only one dog that didn’t care about the heat. That was Cleo, my southern black mouth cur,. Cleo’s tough ancestors were developed in East Texas and Louisiana, where they had lived on corn meal and road-killed armadillos. They were expected to work cattle and hawgs no matter how hot the weather.

If you want to train your tracking dog in the heat of global warming, get a southern black mouth cur!

A walk with Mielikki at sunrise resulted in one "hot dog"!

Monday, July 16, 2012

When They'll Swim...

A big thank you to Teddy Moritz for this story about her mini dachshund Fitz.

My smallest dachshund, Fitz, is a good and willing swimmer, like her dam, Gavia was. And Fitz purely loves to chase Canada Geese. I once did some control work on a private lake and was allowed to shoot the geese. I let Fitz try to retrieve them to the canoe but she usually ended up using them as a life raft while I paddled to her. Once she was in the canoe with the dead goose she'd pluck as many feathers out of it as she could.

Where I live now the geese are often in the peach orchard or in the soybeans, both of which are bordered by a lake with heavy vegetation around the shores. It's a fairly big lake. Today when I was driving one of the dirt roads I noticed there were about fifty geese in the soybeans. I let Fitz out and she could see them even though the soybeans are almost taller than she is, which isn't very tall. She immediately ran through the field chasing the geese, who acted confused about this tiny predator but they took to the air anyway. The guys picking tomatoes in the next field cheered Fitz on. She came back tongue lolling and eyes bright.

We continued around the bend to the peach orchard, the lake on our left. I saw a big flock of geese on the ground amongst the peach trees. Being flushed with victory, I let Fitz out to chase them. She willingly participated and raced after the geese. Many of the geese were flightless goslings and molting adults, so this group. also about fifty or sixty birds, ran for the lake. They have one trail down through the greenbriar and trees so there was a bit of a bottle neck at the opening. Fitz thought that was great but the birds got through to the water with Fitz after them. I figured she'd bark from the edge of the lake, as she often does when she sees swimming geese. I waited a bit for her, then called her. No Fitz, and she's very voice obedient. After about five minutes I began to be worried about her. I didn't hear any thrashing and squawking in the bushes so I knew she hadn't caught a gosling. I made my way down the path and called and called. The geese were half way across the lake, in a big group, still gabbling about the chase. I kept calling but Fitz didn't come. This was not good. I saw an old dock further down the lake, behind a house.  I went out on the dock so I could see the entire lake. Well, I finally saw Fitz. She had swum after the geese and they had her surrounded, or she had them on the run, one or the other. She was still swimming after the geese and they just paddled out of her way, which made her more determined to catch one. Remember this dachshund weighs six pounds on a fat day, and she just turned nine years old.

I called and called and I guess Fitz finally got tired because she turned and swam back to me. All I could see was her tiny head above water and an entire flock of geese following her, presumably to make sure she was truly leaving. When she got to the dock I hauled her out and she immediately turned around and began barking at the geese. As they came closer she was ready to jump in again but I picked her up. She squirmed and cried to get back at the birds but I held onto her. I wish I had my camera when I saw her out in the middle of the lake surrounded by geese.

When they'll swim, dachshunds can hardly be stopped.

Teddy Moritz

I found this picture in my archives. It shows Fitz retrieving from water.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Max in the Cowlitz River: German wirehaired dachshund and his love of swimming and retrieving

So far this summer has been like no other. It is very dry here. So even though it is only mid-July, yellow leaves has been falling and grass is turning crispy brown. Days are hot and sunny, with temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s. Luckily nights are refreshingly cool. The water in our pond is very low, at the lowest level I have ever seen. The weather forecast does not predict any short term changes. Other parts of the United States suffer from even drier and warmer conditions.

Considering all this pictures of German wirehaired dachshund Max (Max von Bispingdorpe), who loves to swim and retrieve from the water, might serve us well. Max's owner, Uta Fehlhaber-Smith sent these pics with a note:

Just before Max got in a strong whirl in the pursuit of a large stick that had floated into that whirl. He made it out off it, an enormous physical challenge! The Cowlitz River is deep and fast and it curved a the place we were. The photos were shot by Laura Stutts.

Also I love the below video of Max, which Uta sent last fall. She said in her caption: The barking noise is from Luna, the hovawart, who is an excellent water retriever herself and wants to go too. ( The tiny dummy is not her thing...) She goes for the big branches and wood pieces - but I can't do both at the same time and video tape too...

BTW, congratulations are in order as Max was Best of Winners at an AKC show in Chehalis, WA on July 8. Several FCI teckels were entered at the show with the intention to educate the American judges.
Uta says: The other judge the day before preferred typical American Dachshund, but we had great time afterwards at the Pacific ocean were this little daredevil decided to swim voicing all the way through the heavy turf in pursuit of teasing seagulls. He scared me to death, since I did not know the undertow. And then when he finally returned he decided to chase the large kites people let fly at the beach, again furiously opening and running circles and figure eights with his head in the air. A kite crushed down, drilling in the sand just a few inches beside him.
Max has sired his first litter this year. For more information about his stud service contact Uta directly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

NY deer and bear hunting season dates are published by DEC

It looks like our tracking season got extended by two weeks as in 2012 archery season in the Southern zone will open on October 1 (instead of mid-October). It is hard to believe that it is almost middle of July already and only 2.5 months are left before tracking starts.

The dates are available at the DEC website.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Claudia and Razen: a future blood tracking team from Ashkum, Illinois

Some owners of tracking dogs never seem to be able to find time for dog training. And there are some handlers like Ray Holohan and his wife Claudia from Ashkum, Il, who are very serious about it and make it their priority. When a puppy with right genetics is given a proper training, the sky is a limit. Read this short report from Ray:
Hi Jolanta, hope all is well with you and John. Just thought I would give you a update on our new pup, Razen Kane, Rosco's daughter. I have been working with her since she was 10 weeks old, trying to lay a track once a week . She is about 7 months old now and shows great promise as a tracker. She has been successful on about every track that I have laid for her. My wife Claudia is her main handler but she will also track for me. We have done nighttime tracks, woodland tracks, prairie grass tracks, wetland tracks, and tracks in the rain. Most tracks are at least 24 hrs old, and range from a 1/2 to 3/4 mile long, using minimal blood, 2 to 3 oz. on most tracks. Her longest track has been 51 hours old, and she had no problem with it. She is a great little tracker.
I'm sending a picture of Razen and Claudia after their first blind track, which was a 1/2 mile long and only 6 hours old. I laid it and told them where the beginning was and to go and bring me the hide. It was a great training exercise for the both of them. They had to truly work as a team to pull it off. We have also ran both dogs on the same track at the same time letting Razen lead the way so that we can try it this season. Claudia will do daytime tracks alone but night time, I will have to go with her. We are both looking forward to a great tracking season this fall.
Best wishes and good luck,
Ray, Claudia, Rosco, and Razen Kane

Claudia Holohan with Razen after a successful completion of a training line.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blood tracking puppy training: an overnight blood line for a three-month-old dachshund Theo

Another report from Darren Doran from New Jersey who is working with his new puppy Theo. Theo is a son of Moose (FC Nurmi von Moosbach-Zuzelek) and Paika (FC Paika von Moosbach-Zuzelek SW). He turned three months old yesterday.
Rich Stolery called and wanted to do some training this Saturday and meet Theo for the first time. Rich is on the New Jersey tracking permit and owns November, a three and a half year old smooth dachshund our of wirehaired parents. Ember for short, is a sister to my other dog Karl. The heat has been unbearable and Saturday was going to be nasty. We put out two lines by Rich's house at 7:30 pm Friday and we were going to meet at 6 am to try to beat the heat.

Theo's line was very similar to the last one. It was somewhat longer at about 125 yds with two left 90-degree turns. It was made with tracking shoes with doe feet. I scuffed up the dirt at the turns the best I could and added extra blood.The line would end at a deer skin. The area was a ridge top with mature oak and cedar. The soil is what's called red shale around here, and it was dry and baked as hard as cement. There were a few small cedar dead falls, not much underbrush or leaves, and the weeds were burned brown and brittle. I didn't know if the shoes would leave much scent in these conditions. This area also has a high number of deer, and we pushed out a couple sets of does and fawns while putting out the lines.

I'm still trying to learn Theo's working style and ability level with these early training lines. It's important for a young dog to be successful on the training line. Because of the conditions I decided that I would squirt more blood on the ground and bloody the hoofs more while putting out the line. I used 4 oz of blood on this training line. I also had the small pieces of raw deer meat with me that I could toss over his head to re-focus him if needed.
The goal of this exercise was to expand on our last exercise and add a new variable. We were going to drive to a new place, walk in on a lead, track with the collar and tracking leash, go through our starting routine and add the new variable, Rich. Rich was going to be the hunter and accompany us on the line. I also wanted to see if Theo would be affected by meeting a new dog or if the hunter tagging along would impact his focus on the line.

Theo was going first, and it was already 75 degrees. The line was 11 hours old. We walked out Rich's backyard to the training line. Ember was whimpering in the yard by the fence, and Theo left with us and didn't pay any attention to her. We got to the hit site and I tied up Theo. Rich and I pretended to looked over the site. I put out some water for Theo and got out his tracking gear and hooked him up. I picked up Theo and put him down at the hit site.

Theo sniffed around a little and took the line immediately. He tracked to the first turn and right before he got there, I tossed a piece of meat ahead of him. Theo found the meat, but tracked past the turn anyway. He went about 8 feet and turned around, lifted his head and looked at me. I said ''where did he go?'' He started tracking back to the turn, past it and back the way we came. He went about 6 feet backwards, turned around and went to the turn and took the right direction. This was the only time he picked up his head and those were the only words I spoke to him on this line. Theo tracked to the second turn and I tossed the meat. He missed the meat but took the turn perfectly. He tracked the home stretch great and corrected himself a couple of times along the line. I was working hard behind him to keep his leash from snagging. It did get hung up briefly a couple of times, but it wasn't enough to  affect Theo. When Theo got to the skin, he was concentrating on the line so hard it surprised him. I started to praise him, and he got hold of the skin and started chewing it up. He got the rest of the meat for a well deserved reward.

It took 10 minutes to do this line and the goals of the exercise were met. Theo was unaffected by the ''hunter'' with us or the other dog he met earlier. Every time I train with this dog, he impresses me. He has excellent line sense. His methodical and matter of fact working working style doesn't waste any energy or heat him up in this weather. This will be a benefit on a long early season track later. His ability to quickly recognize and correct himself when wrong at this age, I think is excellent. I'm satisfied with his ability to handle different variables and stimuli associated with the training line but not directly related to the line itself.

The last three training lines have been kept similar for a reason. Although called training lines I didn't conduct any real training on the lines themselves. They were simply for observation and they have provided me a road map to move forward with Theo's training. In the future I'll add more variables to the training line itself. Each line will have a specific goal and be evaluated. Theo is still a pup and I don't want to push him to hard. I want to challenge him, but I don't want to make it to hard that he fails.

Rich, the "Hunter" and Theo at the end of his line

Rich and Ember at the end of their line

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kevin and Quenotte: a suburban year-around blood tracking team

Last night  I got a picture from Kevin Wilson showing Quenotte with a deer, which means that they must have tracked in this oppressive heat. Kevin is a year-round bowhunter and District leader for Suburban Whitetail Management of Norther Virginia. In certain northern Virginia suburbs there is year-round controlled bowhunting of nuisance deer on special depredation permits.  So Quenotte has year-round opportunities to track wounded deer. She is a lucky dog!

Several weeks ago Kevin sent some pictures with this message:

The suburban kill permit deer season continues year-round here in Northern VA. Quenotte and I were able to go out on a practice track a couple weeks ago and I thought that I would share. The picture is very blurry because we took it with a phone at night in the rain. The hunter could have found the deer without us but this particular fellow calls often to give Quenotte some practice. He knows not to walk on the scent trail and I hope someday we will help him with a difficult track. The young buck ran in a long, uphill loop and then returned downhill to expire. The total track was less than 200 yds but it certainly disproves the theory that "they always run downhill" or to water or to wherever.

 Quenotte and I also recently participated in a special hunt at the county dump last week but there were no shots that day. She was able to meet 13 of the suburban hunters who gathered after the hunt. She is a big hit with the guys.
I am most proud of our participation in the Fairfax County Virginia Park Hunts last fall. We tracked 3 deer and found 2. One of the finds was an easy practice run. The other find was a doe that was shot on a quartering away angle with a complete pass through. Unfortunately, the shot entered just in front of the nearside back leg and exited behind the far side rib cage. The doe expired after traveling a long distance through honey suckle thickets.

Everything else is going well. We are still working on recall but we love her to pieces. 


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Best wishes for Very Happy 4th of July from John, Jolanta and the Teckels!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blood tracking training of a young puppy - Theo at 12 weeks

A week ago we posted Darren Doran's report from working a first blood line with his puppy Theo. This report was on our puppy blog. I decided to post his second report here as it shows so well how a seasoned tracker and trainer approaches blood tracking training with a young puppy. Theo will be three months old on July 6.

What I love about Darren's approach is that he has a plan and objectives for his training. It is obvious that a lot of thought based on his knowledge and experience have gone into this. His analysis and detailed written step-by-step description of Theo's tracking are first class. I think his reports can be of real help to novice trackers and handlers.
In Darren's own words:

I wanted to train with Theo, but it's been so hot that the only good time to train is first light. I decided to put out a line on Saturday night about 7:30 pm.

I picked a spot that was heavily timbered with a full canopy of leaves. The sun hardly hits the ground in this area. The line was about 75yds with a left turn and a right turn, and it would finish at a half of deer skin with the tail. I used tracking shoes with doe feet. The line was similar to the first one except I didn't use any hair at the hit site. I marched with bloody hoofs close together and added blood to the line and blooded the hoofs frequently along the way. At the turns I scuffed the leaves and added blood.

The goal of this exercise was to expose Theo to different parts of the total tracking experience. Theo had never been to these woods. I had to load him in his crate and drive to the line which was about 8 minutes away. We were going to walk in on a lead, track on a tracking leash and I was going to introduce him to our starting routine.

It was 68 degrees when I parked the truck. There was no wind and it hadn't rained over night. By the time I got the skin placed and back to the truck to get Theo its was almost 6am. The line was 10 1/2 hours old. I wasn't concerned about the age of the line because it was put out right before dark in a shaded woods with no wind or rain overnight. A line put out like this doesn't age at the same rate as one put out in the daylight exposed to the sun or wind.

I got ready and walked Theo in on the lead. He walked out ahead of me on the trail in a confident manner. As we entered the woods he fell in behind and we proceeded to the hit site. Here is where I introduced him to our starting routine. This routine will evolve as our training progresses but for now I simply tie his lead to a tree near the hit site, get out his tracking collar and leash and hook him up. I leave him tied to the tree and walk over to the hit site and bend over and pretend to examine it. After about 10 or 15 seconds I go back to the dog, untie him and pick him up and place him at the hit site.

Theo sniffed around and took the line almost immediately. I'm not used to this kind of start with my other dog Karl and it was a welcomed change. I was going to incorporate a technique that Andy Bensing had showed me. If Theo was loosing focus or needed additional help on the line, I was going to toss a piece of raw deer meat ahead of him while he was tracking. This acts as an incentive and reward at the same time. When you do this you want the dog to be tracking and not be aware that you are throwing it.

Theo tracked to the first turn without incident. He tracked past the turn and started to check after about 8 ft. When I laid this line I tried to pick an area that was relatively brush free but the leash snagged and this broke his concentration. When I went over to unhook it, he came over to me. I coaxed him back to the turn saying ''where did he go, search here'' and let him work. He worked out the turn and when I was sure he was tracking I tossed a piece of meat over his head on the line. He tracked past it but then hit the breaks and started sniffing all around looking for this new scent. The meat was only there for a couple of seconds before he got there but was able to identify it and find it. This worked as planned and he seemed to work with more intensity. Theo came to the second turn and tracked past it as well. He corrected himself and as soon as he was tracking I tossed another piece of meat over his head. We were now on the home stretch and I tossed the meat a couple of more times. As we neared the end of the line Theo spotted the hide and was a little taken back. I started to praise him and he went over and started to chew it up. I gave him the rest of the meat. He does have the indication of being a possessive dog with the hide. He was growling at me when I went to take it away. I unhooked his tracking gear and we played with the hide on the way out of the woods. I would take it from him and throw it and he would run over and start chewing it up.This also allowed me to work on his possessiveness and by the time we got to the trail he was relinquishing the hide in a more civil manner.

At the trail I packed up the hide and hooked him back up to his lead and we walked back to the truck. It took Theo 13 minutes to do this line and I couldn't be happier with his work. I like his speed, his ability to correct himself, and his focus.The age of the line did not pose any problems. The next line will be about the same length. The age will depend on the weather and the temperature.The tracking leash didn't pose a real problem but it did break his concentration a couple of times. I'm going to walk him through the woods with his tracking leash on rather than the trail on our nightly walks. This should get him more familiar with the leash snagging brush. At the turns I'm going to add more blood and as we approach the turn, I'm going to toss a piece of meat over his head right at the turning point. This should focus his concentration at the turn and maybe he'll pick up the new direction easier. When Theo's tracking I don't talk to him at all. The sound of my voice has a tendency to break his concentration at this young age.

All in all a successful exercise and the goals set were achieved.

Theo at the end of his second training line.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mielikki opens on rabbits for the first time

Like most of the United States, we have had a stretch of really hot weather with temperatures above 90F. During the day is too hot to run dogs on rabbits or do blood tracking training. In the morning we try to give dogs some exercise in the pond, and only in the evening we run younger dogs on the cottontails.

Today Mielikki had a very good day. She had some spectacular retrieves from the pond in the morning, and then in the evening she opened on rabbits for the first time. I really liked the pitch and tone of her voice. BTW, she is going to be seven months old on July 10.