Index of write ups from past trackig events:

2016 2014 2013


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Beautiful weather welcomed this year’s NVDTC Variable Tracking Test held at the Veteran’s Home in Yountville on March 12, 2017. Tracklayers were up at the crack of dawn to lay tracks for five teams, each track very nicely laid. The lovely weather and the nicely laid tracks were no match for what had to be spring fever in the air for the Belgian Sheepdog, Shiba Inu, Keeshond, German Shepherd Dog, and Portuguese Water dog as none of them passed. Just the same it was a beautiful day to get together with friends old and new and to watch the dogs enjoy their search for articles followed by lunch at the Lakeside Grill at Vintner's Golf Club wherein tracking tales were shared.

This year’s committee members, all very dedicated NVDTC members, were Debbie Crain as Chief Tracklayer, Linda Kennard, Linda Wargo, Gerry Glantz, and myself serving as committee chair. A big thank you goes out to each member for taking care of so much. Kyla Smay, another very dedicated lady, was this year’s test secretary. Kyla passed at our test last year and after passing she decided to “pay back” the tracking community by being our test secretary. Kyla also stepped up to be our official photographer.

Linda Kennard not only brought her motor home for us to call headquarters on Saturday, she also was the driver to taxi the tracklayers and judges all over the Veteran’s Home grounds as tracks were plotted on Saturday and then, on Sunday, to taxi the judges, tracklayers and the participants where they needed to be at specific times. Donna Golemon was driver number two on Sunday and was on the ready to deliver each team to the start of their track when needed. Spectators also joined in the fun to watch the teams perform.

Many thanks go to Mitzi Young and Anne Hershey, our judges for this year. Their ability to remember all the details for the laying of and then mapping five tracks was indeed impressive!

And there are the important tracklayers to thank, also very much appreciated! Linda Wargo, Diane Cosgrove, Barbara Henry, Laura Waldbaum, and Debbie Crain spent both Saturday and Sunday on the tracks for the test. On Saturday, each tracklayer showed up to plot tracks with the judges and the chief tracklayer. Each tracklayer then returned on Sunday and walked the track assigned to them to lay down the scent for the team selected to run their track through a draw that took place at 9:45 on Sunday morning.

Teams for this year’s test were Kaye Hall and her Belgian Sheep Dog, Kamrin MacKnight and her Shiba Inu, Tawn Sinclair and her Keeshond, Lizanne Kaiser and her German Shepherd Dog, and Barbara Niemann and her Portuguese Water Dog.

Another important part of this event was the availability of the Lakeside Grill for us to set up our headquarters for the test on Sunday. A big thank you goes to Jason Boldt, General Manager for letting us use two of their tables on their patio (with a fabulous view no less) to serve as a rendezvous point, be a place to serve breakfast to the tracking crowd, and to hold the draw for those teams participating in this year’s test.

Sue Osborn, 2017 VST Test Committee Chair



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Napa Valley Dog Training Club VST test 3/13/16

Well. there are 2 dog/handler teams who can no longer say 13 is an unlucky number. Our 5-dog VST test had 4 exhibitors this year. One team had to withdraw at the last minute.

Dog #1 was also pass #1. Congratulations to Kyla Smay and Rhys, now CT Jamaica Certain Something RN, BN, CGC. Rhys had a lovely start and then ran into some difficulty at his 1st turn. It was a left MOT turn onto an asphalt road that he strongly indicated, but then he seemed to change his mind. Kyla did a great job of letting him work it out and in due course the team proceeded along the grass fringe paralleling the road. The track soon made a right turn that we hoped they wouldn’t miss. Rhys did a great job of working himself over to the right side of the road, tracked to the corner, made the corner, and boy they were off. He did a super job after that. His 1st intermediate article was on this 3rd leg and he quickly found it. His 2nd intermediate article was missing; however, the Judges could see that Rhys gave it a good search. When Rhys got to the final article nothing happened! (Kyla though it was their 3rd article.) As we all waited with bated breath Kyla watered her dog, and then finally lifted the article over her head. The gallery erupted in cheers. Kyla later admitted that she hadn’t noticed the #4 until she raised the article and heard the cheering. She was surprised to realize that they had just passed their VST!

Dog #2 was a Golden Retriever Dog who will soon be passing their VST, just not today. He did a good tracking job, but Mom was really worried about his interest in the squirrels. It had been raining all morning but had let up at the start of track 2. The squirrels all came out to find food before it started raining again and the Golden definitely noticed that they were there. They did not prevent him from tracking well on the first 3 legs, but he had difficult with corner 3 and went off track.

Dog #3 was our 2nd pass of the day. Congratulations to Kaye Hall and CT Julot Le Flair Giaia Kuymal SAR-W.  It was such a lovely sight to see. Julot is a 12-year old Belgian who earned his VST in 2010. Kaye thought we might not be able to fill this year’s test and thought it would nice to go tracking again with Julot. He is no longer the wild and crazy boy he used to be, but more of a staid elder gentleman- who still knows what tracking is all about. It was especially poignant because Kaye and Julot are members of our Napa Valley Club. Julot had trouble at the beginning of the track. He wasn’t really confident on his first 2 corners. He went quite a way in the wrong direction on corner 2 and then worked his way back and made the corner correctly.  He leaned in and was tracking strongly on this 3rd leg, found the 1st intermediate article, and the gallery felt that he really had a chance now. Near the end of the 3rd leg they stopped. Kaye turned around, and called to the judges. Oh no! Those of us in the gallery thought she had run into trouble and was calling it quits just when he was tracking well. Turns out there was someone on a patio, which we in the gallery couldn’t see, who was calling out. Kaye thought it was the judges calling to her. After clearing that up they tracked nicely to the 3rd corner, which was the MOT, that Julot had no trouble with. The last 2 legs and articles were no problem at all and cheering soon erupted. I was especially tearful since I had helped Kaye work with Julot when he was a puppy and adolescent dog.

Dog #4 was another Belgian, this time a bitch. She had trouble with her first turn that was the MOT. She indicated that the track moved out into the parking lot, but didn’t go far enough to find the corner. She then worked back and found a corner that wasn’t there. She will definitely be getting her VST in a short time.

It was great to have 2 passes especially after the judges and tracklayers had so much weather to contend with. I especially want to thank our wonderful judges: Marge Schultz and Mitzi Young. Our great tracklayers were Diane Cosgrove, Sue Osborn, Donna Goleman, and Lizanne Kaiser. Talk about dedicated tracklayers. Every time they came in on Saturday they looked like drowned rats and yet they were cheerful and looking forward to track laying again on Sunday (in more rain!). 2 of our tracklayers were from the local club, 1 was a volunteer (who called me offering her services unsolicited) from the East Bay, and 1 was a former club member who drove down from Oregon. What dedication to the sport, especially under such wet conditions. Our Test Secretary, Barb Niemann always does a wonderful job but this year went above and beyond. I had to have unexpected surgery 2 weeks before the test so Barb volunteered to take on my job on Saturday under those ugly, rainy conditions. She was also our official photographer on Sunday. Thanks Barb! Our tracking chairperson, Linda Wargo, did a great job keeping us all on track and driving Marge to and from the airport. Committee member Linda Kennard  was our driver both Saturday and Sunday. Gerry Glantz did a good job holding down the fort, like she always does.

Ask anyone who’s been out here for a test: the grounds are wonderful, the people are great, and the pass rate is impressive: 4 passes in 5 years. Maybe next year your dog will get a chance to pass here.

-Debbie Crain, Chief  Tracklayer


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Under ideal conditions and with an enthusiastic gallery applauding their achievements, two teams earned Champion Tracker titles at the 3rd Annual Napa Valley Dog Training VST Test held at the Veterans Home in Yountville, CA on Sunday, March 9, 2014.

Congratulations to Lora Cox with her Australian Shepherd dog, now CT Lorac's Texas Ranger VCD1 UDX OM1 RE HSAs HXAs OAJ and Meg Azevedo with her Beagle dog, now CT Daf-I-Dale's Filthy Rich RN OA NAJ NF.

Other entrants included an Australian Cattle Dog, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a Shiba Inu.

Thank you to our judging panel, Marge Schultz, Little Canada MN and Kaye Hall, Napa CA. Thanks also to club members and volunteers: test chair Linda Kennard; chief tracklayer Debbie Crain; tracklayers Diane Cosgrove, Debbie Crain, Linda Kennard, Donna Seaman, Linda Wargo; drivers Patty Galvin, Karen Jackson; and club officer Gerry Glantz—all of whom helped make this test a success.

Barbara Niemann
Test Secretary


































































Sunday, March 10th dawned clear and sunny for Napa Valley Dog Training Club’s 2nd Annual All Breed Variable Surface Tracking (VST) Test at the Veteran’s Home in Yountville, CA.  Actually, work started on Saturday when the tracklayers and judges spent the day plotting the tracks. The judges, Mr. Roy Fair from Noti, OR and the club’s very own Kaye Hall did such a great job of track plotting we were able to get five very nice tracks plotted verses the four planned. Judging a tracking test is a lot of work and we owe both judges big thanks for all the effort they put into helping us have a successful test. A special thank you goes to Mr. Fair, who stepped in at the last minute when our original judge was unable to fulfill her assignment. Thanks also to Debbie Crain, Chief Tracklayer, tracklayers Linda Kennard, Stephanie Meinhardt, Mitzi Young and Linda Wargo and Patty Galvin, the driver. Patty ferried judges, tracklayers and entrants over the two days to make sure none of the tracks were compromised. And a huge thanks to Barbara Niemann who did a fabulous job as the test secretary; even working during her vacation out of the country!  

Sunday’s test started at daylight with the first tracklayer walking the track designated by the judges and placing the four articles (cloth, metal, plastic and leather) each entrant needed to find. Once all the tracks were laid we waited for them to age three hours. By that time, all the entrants had arrived, enjoyed hospitality, were briefed by the judges and test secretary, had drawn their track numbers, and the first dog was on its way. The entrants this year included a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a Standard Schnauzer, a Rottweiler, a Border Collie and a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Although none of the dog’s passed their tracks, everyone enjoyed a lovely day of tracking in the Napa Valley. At a no host luncheon held at the Lakeside Grill everyone commented on how well run the test was and how the Veterans Home was such a nice a VST site. We are already at work planning for our third VST test to be held March 2014, and hoping the third time will be a charm and all of our entrants will pass!

Photos from Jim Spiva:







































By Debbie Crain

Our TDX test went well again this year. The test was the weekend of March 13th and 14th. The weather was wonderful. Friday had lots of rain so everything was moist on Sunday: perfect scenting conditions. Both Saturday and Sunday were clear so we had nice weather for us humans to be outside plotting and laying tracks without the bother of all that rain gear. My test committee did a really great job this year. Thanks so much Gerry Glantz, Linda Wargo, Linda Kennard, Margie Vulk and Nadean Bissiri. I was able to concentrate on my duties as chief tracklayer and didn’t have to think about anything else. The tracking test has a capacity of 4 entrants with the possibility of a 5th if the alternate track is not needed on testing day. Sadly this year we only had 2 entrants.

The 2 weekends before the closing date had some dogs passing at other tests and therefore not entering our test. Some people in the tracking community think that it’s difficult to pass a test in our beautiful forest up at Las Posadas and are afraid to enter. We are considering trying to find a different site for our test. Our judges, Kaye Hall and Ron Simmons, did a great job of plotting some very nice tracks with the assistance of tracklayers Barbara Niemann, Linda Wargo, Linda Kennard, Margie Vulk and a few more members of the tracking community who are not club members. I’d like to thank Kaye Hall for not charging a judges fee. I’d also like to thank Ron Simmons who also decided not to charge a judges fee (even though his contract stated a fee of $100) due to the low number of entries. His only charge to the club was for mileage on Sunday even though he drove up on both Saturday and Sunday.

Our two entrants did a really nice job on their tracks, but each ran into some difficulty and did not pass. The first dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, decided that the first set of crosstracks were more interesting than the track and was failed at that point. After being put back on the track he did a really nice job. Our second entrant, a Border Collie, was tracking very well. He ignored the first crosstrack, found his intermediate article, but then had trouble with one of the obstacles (the road crossing). He was failed at this point, but also did well on the rest of the track. I’m sure that both of these dogs will do well at a test in the near future.

This was the club’s 13th TDX test and my 15th year as chief tracklayer and committee head. I’m planning on retiring my position this year and I hope that someone else will step up to fill my shoes. I’d be glad to offer any help my replacement would need and would like to lay track for future tests.