Yesterday, on April 6, 2013, six dogs were entered in the Annual Deer Search Blood Tracking Competition. As we mentioned in our Friday post the judges were Roger Humeston, Mark Long and Bill Siegrist. The lines were 800 meters long, and there was a time limit of 1.5 hour to complete a line. According to the rules the dog has to work exclusively on a leash. The judges have to observe how the dog behaves at the beginning of the blood trail, how he works the trail, and how he occasionally corrects himself. A dog is allowed to lose the track twice. If a dog has lost the track he has to be given sufficient time to correct himself. For this reason the judges should call him back only if the dog goes 75 meters beyond the track.
The evaluation of the dogs is accomplished with an index and score numbers. The categories of performance are: steadiness and concentration, tracking accuracy and willingness to track.
Of the six dogs entered, three passed, all wirehaired dachshunds: Eibe, Theo and Tommy. A winner of the competition with a perfect score 100 points, Prize I performance was Eibe von Merreche, owned and handled by Andy Bensing. Eibe is a six -year-old wirehaired dachshund, and she was bred by Hans Josef Broich, Germany. She is a very experienced blood tracker, and this was her second win. Congratulations to Andy and Eibe!
|From left to right: Mark Long (judge), Andy Bensing with Eibe, Bill Siegrist (judge). The third judge Roger Humeston is not in the picture.|
|Some of the competition participants and judges.|
|Darren Doran from New Jersey with Theo at the end of successful track.|
|One-year-old Theo with his certification diploma.|
One of the eligibility criteria for the competition is that a participating dog has to have passed a pretest, which is conducted on a 500 meter long 20-24 hour old line. This ensures that only trained dogs are entered in a competition, and judges and track layers do not waste their time on dogs that have not had sufficient training. With such a long winter, very few training opportunities and no chance for pretest, our Sky (Theo's older brother) was not entered in the official competition. But John took him along with the understanding that he could be run on a spare line at the end of competition (there is always an extra line) and would have a chance to get certified.
So Sky tracked a line #7 at the end of the day, and he passed with 67 points and Prize III. The picture above shows him and John at the end of the line. Sky is now Deer Search certified.
Congratulations to all who participated! Conditions were tough, but tough dogs and tough handlers prevailed! At the end of the winter it is not easy to prepare dogs and have them sharp for the competition. Handlers whose dogs did not pass should not be discouraged. Milder seasons will off better conditions to succeed.