Grants make good ‘scents’ for dog club

Remote area first aid kits and defibrillators are among the safety equipment purchased by a local dog sport group, thanks to a Wodonga Council grant.

The North East Tracking and Scent Club was one of two community groups to be awarded a Community Infrastructure and Equipment grant at the October council meeting.

The club, which was established two years ago, is affiliated with Dogs Victoria and hosts three dog sport tracking trials in the Wodonga and North East area each year, as well as other local events.

Club President Jude Lowe said the club’s trials attract competitors from all over Victoria and as far afield as Queensland.

The trials are conducted in various locations of differing terrain, requiring the handler and dog to track a person or scent over a defined and sometimes extended distance and often in remote bushland, farmland or less populated urban areas.

“These first aid kits are well equipped for treating a wide scope of injuries that can occur in remote and isolated areas,” Jude said.

“We are grateful to council for this grant and the application process was pretty straightforward.”

Jude said there was an incident at a tracking event in Sydney a few years ago where a judge suffered a heart attack.

“Having a defibrillator could have potentially saved their life, this type of equipment is so important for our clubs to have on hand,” she said.

Through the safety project, the club will purchase five high-risk remote area first aid kits and four portable defibrillators to improve the safety of participants and spectators.

The club trains at the Barnawartha Reserve and its home base for tracking trial events is at the Bonegilla Hall where the club plans to store the safety equipment between events.

“There’s no point having them locked in our trailer, we might as well have them available to the wider community,” Jude said.

Dog tracking, track and search and scent work is a growing recreational activity across Victoria and all breeds of dog can learn to participate.

In tracking, a trail is laid out and the tracklayer drops articles, such as socks, on the track for your dog to find.

You and your dog will then come to the starting point and follow the trail, finding the articles along the way and getting a reward at the end of the track.

Track and search is a newer component introduced to enable those people whose dog has progressed through all tracking levels to continue to develop their skills.

Track and search is designed to mimic real life situations where a person has wandered off and become lost.

Detection is done in a variety of environments and often during challenging weather or environmental conditions.

Scent work is a positive, challenging activity that allows dogs of all ages the opportunity to use their strongest natural sense in a way that is fun, engaging and strengthens a foundation of trust between the handler and dog.

The club’s next event will be held in May when up to 80 dogs from around the area will be involved.

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