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On Track To A TDX By Jeannette Poling for colliesonline.com

Got Glove?

Rory does and he is now . . .

CH Chelsea Here Comes the Sun, BN TDX OAP OJP CGC HIC

January 9, 2019: Rory with Paula Cingota, Jeannette Poling (Top-L-R), Judges and Track Layer.

On January 9, 2019 my Rory, with my friend Paula Cingota on the end of his 40-foot line, earned his TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent title). To put this TDX title in perspective, the Collie Club of America gives the Award of “Top Performance Collie” every year to any Collie who earns a TDX. The CCA invites them as a participant to the “Top Ten Invitational” at the annual National Specialty Show. A TDX is a significant title and deserves this prestigious recognition. Every year only one or two Collies earn this title.

My friend Paula Cingota has been training Rory twice a month for the past year. Rory is always eager to learn new things, loves being on team with a human partner, and showed interest and the ability to track from his first lesson. Paula and Rory make a great team. Team Rory earned its TD (Tracking Dog title) on December 5, 2018. They have been honing their special skills because we all know that “practice makes perfect.” Through the “luck of the draw” Rory got a spot in the Golden Retriever Club of San Diego County TDX Test, held on January 9, 2019 in Jamul, California. In Southern California there are more dogs wanting to enter tracking tests than there are spots available; lotteries are held to enter a test. Rory drew #3 for a test that had 3 spots. There were 13 entries for this test: nine dogs’ owners were disappointed and would hope to have their names pulled another time. We were thrilled to have the opportunity compete.

Rory indicates his glove and Paula raises it.
Paula gives Rory a "well done" and hug.

In all American Kennel Club tracking tests the dog is tracking the scent of a person or “track layer,” which was laid hours earlier, walking a pattern designed by two judges. In the TDX test the “track layer” will also drop articles along the way for the dog to find.

To earn his TDX, Rory must find the start of the track (it can go in any direction from the start flag) and then he must follow the track, finding two dropped articles, and the final glove at the end. The track would be at least one-half mile long, with 5 to 7 turns, and aged 3 to 5 hours. Along the way Team Rory could expect to encounter changes of vegetation, wildlife and wildlife homes (gopher holes, foxes, rabbits, coyotes) and whatever else is out there in the wild lands. There would also be human cross tracks on his track, in two places, there to try and fool him.

A beautiful winter day at Hollenbeck Nature Preserve, Jamul California.

That morning the TDX tests began at 10:15. Team Rory drew Track #2, and we walked out to the start flag. It was about a one-half mile walk. It was a beautiful California winter day, chilly in the morning, but by the start of his test at 11:00 the sun was out, and sky was so blue. It was by any standard a beautiful day and the conditions seemed wonderful too.

Team Rory walked out into a blowing sea of grass towards the start flag! I followed behind with his wonderful track layer Shelly Hancock, and two friends who wanted to watch, Bobbie Sevier and Connie Kaplan. Rory’s judges were Sally Nesbitt and Stuart Lease (a "Collie man," owning a Collie Tracking Champion . . . his Electra). Stuart told me later Rory looked so beautiful in the field with the sun shining on his red-gold coat, and the wind blowing his hair. My heart almost exploded with happiness.

As Team Rory approached the "start flag" Rory immediately started off with confidence, moving at an efficient herding dog pace, demonstrating endurance and stamina. He found the lost hat after the first left turn, and the dropped sock after the fourth turn -- there were changes of cover and vegetation and he crossed a dry creek bed. He did not get fooled by the “cross tracks” that he passed over before the third turn and then once again before the fourth turn (you can see them in the picture on his map as broken dotted lines). Then it was another left turn and down the slope and “woo hoo” there was the glove! We were all so happy: Paula, me, the judges, our track layer, and Bobbie and Connie, who walked “in the gallery” to watch. What a wonderful 14 minutes! Yes, Rory covered 865 yards (a half mile) in 14 minutes! He of course still had bounce in his step and was still ready to rock and roll! What a good boy!

Rory's TDX Track.

Thank you to Paula Cingota for all the wonderful adventures she has given Rory teaching him to track. And you should look at his glove and see the sweet message she wrote to Rory. Tom and I now live with four TDX stars -- we will never be lost! Thank you to Gayle Kaye for my precious boy, Rory, my “Sun King” who is just 2 years old. His fancy name is now: CH Chelsea Here Comes the Sun, BN, TDX, OAP, OJP, CGC, HIC. And this is where joy lives!

Rory's Glove with a message from his great friend and trainer, Paula Cingota.

Rory was bred by and is co-owned with Gayle Kaye. He is sired by CH Larkspur Shake Down the Stars II and his dam is CH Chelsea Blonde Bombshell. Rory has a half-brother, through his dam, who also has his TDX. He is our Josh, formally known as Chelsea Special Request, CD, TDX, ACT1, HIC.

Paula Cintoga and Rory.

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