For a dog lover, there’s nothing better than seeing a dog working happily using their instincts and abilities. Such are the dogs who are trained to use their noses to track the disturbances on the trail where a person has walked, using the scent of that person on an object as a clue.
It was a clear day in November 2017 and there were several dogs entered in the Southwest Tracking Association’s Variable Surface Tracking Test on the University of Houston campus. This tracking test (VST) is one of credibility, verifying the dog’s ability to recognize and follow human scent while adapting to changing scenting conditions. The dog must be able to work on vegetated and non vegetated surfaces. Observers of the test were allowed to follow the trail and were back far enough as to not interfere with the dog’s tracking.
The first dog started the test with her handler holding a long leash, twenty feet behind the dog. At the start of the track, the dog was given ample time to take the scent and to begin tracking. This dog found the track and followed it through a space between two buildings where she turned left and continued to the next open space. It was just before the open space that the wind wrapped around the corner of the building on the left. There was an L extension to the building and in the corner of the L, the wind became a vortex. In that vortex was a plastic bag.
The gallery could see the tracking dog stopping, tilting her head, moving it up and down rhythmically. It was plain to see she was mesmerized with something. A minute seemed forever as the tracking stopped. The dog was transfixed. Only when her handler urged her to find the track did she go back to the task at hand. As the dog moved forward so did the gallery. Then they were able to see a simple plastic bag caught in a never ending dance within a vortex. The people stared, just as the dog had, unwilling to leave the performance of plastic bag and wind.
If you are interested in learning more about dog sports such as tracking, agility and obedience please contact us at Fondren 5 Star Pet Resort. We’ll be happy to offer guidance.