CH Rockin' B The Joker O' Foxfire|
BECOMES A CERTIFIED MANTRAILER
By Bob Urban
Upon leaving Memphis, Tory and his owner/handler Bob Urban were off to Fairview, TN for the fall seminar of Canine Search & Recovery. We were to spend a week working on & honing our mantrailing skills. For those of you who don't know, Tory is my full-time partner and sworn, commissioned member of the Lake Metroparks Ranger Dept. We have been training as a mantrailing team since he was about 4 mo. old and he has been on the job since July of 1998. Tory trails entirely bloodhound fashion, is non-aggressive and is what is known as a specialist or single purpose K-9, meaning he does not work narcotics, area or article search or other areas of traditional police K-9 work. He has been called out on roughly 10-12 actual searches either through our own dept. or on assists to neighboring agencies. All but one alzheimers walk away patient involved criminal apprehensions. All but two resulted in on scene apprehensions.
Our work with C.S.A.R. involved a full week of mantrailing work with other, more "orthodox" bloodhound teams. Our instructor/trainer was a 30 yr. veteran of the Winston-Salem, N.C. P.D. and a 20 yr. National Police Bloodhound Assn. instructor. We concentrated our hounds on in town and urban trailing during the bulk of the week and at week's end had earned the respect of the bloodhound teams and I believe surprised one rather skeptical veteran lawman! Our toughest track of the week involved a trail put down at 9:00am, covering 6 city blocks and allowed to age till 3:30pm.
Starting from our gauze scent pad secured in a ziploc bag, Tory was off with no hesitation. He negotiated 3 turns incl. one intersection w/o a problem then crossed he street to find his "quarry" hiding behind an old grain elevator.
Once our work was done in TN. we were off to Camp Atterbury, IN for the Indiana Police Workdog Assn. workshop where we were hoping to get certified. There we were even more of a curiosity, as we surrounded by german shepherds, belgian malinois & a couple labs. Not a hound in sight! I was relieved to learn that our trainers and evaluators were experienced bloodhound handlers and trainers from the Indiana Dept. of Corrections. Our first day started off with a curveball thrown by one of the D.O.C. instructors to "see what that B&T could do." After a less than impressive start and a slightly peeved handler we got down to business where the instructors spent more time working on the handler than the dog! Upon day two we agreed that we would go for the Expert Mantrailing test and certification. My trainers had confidence in Tory's ability, if not so much in his handler's. In order to certify at the Expert level the following criteria would have to be met as called for by the North American Police Work Dog Assn's. requirements. Track must be at least two hours old, cover 3 changes of terrain or groundcover incl. min. 500' of pavement or blacktop. The track must be at least 1.5 mi. in length and K-9 must ID his quarry at the end. The track was put down in late am and we were scheduled to go out on it after lunch. Lunch was pretty "light" that day.... Finally at/around 1:15 we were told to "saddle up" and were shown where our scent article was and where the track led. The rest was up to us. To make a long story short, after a difficult search in dry, windy conditions Tory made his find approx. 20min. after starting the track. We made our certification as a team, which is good for two years after which we must re-certify. This I believe is a first in the history of our breed. The support and interest shown by other members of the law enforcement K-9 fraternity was extremely gratifying and somewhat surprising in light of my unusual breed choice.
Now that we've got our paperwork in order does this mean we're on easy street? Not on your life! We continue to train on a weekly basis both within our Dept. and with the Ohio chapter of Great Lakes Search and Rescue. In our "down" time Tory and I do programs for the public, school groups, day camps in the summer and are present at many park sponsored programs and functions. We look forward to several happy years together as a functional team.
P.S. - In between all that Tory managed to get his Canine Good Citizen certificate while in TN.! As if I'd expect anything less from a genuine Clarence grandson!