Kalti on the trail of a grand master scent
TRACEY Knox and her champion 10-and-a-half-year-old Hungarian vizsla Kalti are so close to the top of the Track and Search they can almost smell it.
In fact if the Track and Search grand master title gave off any scent at all, Kati would no doubt be able to track it down and find it.
Three weeks ago Tracey, from Southgate, and Kalti passed level eight in track and search, making him a master in the discipline and leaving only the grand master title to go.
"There's 10 levels in track and search, when he passes levels nine and 10, then he becomes a grand master," Tracey said.
She said his age might become an issue, but at the moment he was fit and raring to go.
"If he's healthy and happy when the season starts again next year, then we'll do it."
Last Friday Tracey demonstrated Kalti's skills to The Daily Examiner.
Tracey walked a course around the block from the Grafton Post office, past the police station, along the boulevard, a change of direction through Memorial Park across Prince St and then to a tree opposite the council chambers.
There she left a t-shirt with her scent on it, plus a tub of his favourite treats - chopped up sausage - which he only gets when tracking.
For the next 30 minutes Tracey told how she had taken over training Kalti when he was two years old, and taking him through the eight levels of tracking.
"Since then he's graduated to track and search and gone through eight levels of that," she said. "He's a pretty special dog."
After leaving the trail to "cook" for half an hour Tracey and Kalti took to the streets to track where Tracey had left that tub of sausage.
After a good sniff of a shirt with Tracey's scent she gave him the command to start tracking and off he went.
It was hard to trick the experienced tracker, who in competition would have to wait more than four hours to get on the scent.
Being a male dog there were scents that interested him and he stopped occasionally to check them out.
"I let him do that," Tracey said. "It wouldn't be good to tell him to stop. He wouldn't know whether I wanted him to stop tracking or stop sniffing poles. You have to stay positive."
At this level of competition Tracey and Kalti don't get many chances to hone his skills on the tracking course, so he has to keep his fitness and skills up by training.