Bob Wiseman with champion tracking dog Rocket.
Bob Wiseman with champion tracking dog Rocket. Renee Pilcher

Tracker dogs always on the nose

IF YOU were lost in the bush, you’d be hoping one of Bob Wiseman’s English labradors were on your trail.

Mr Wiseman, from Coles Creek, has three of the “shorter and stockier” breeds and each one of them boasts an Australian Tracking Champion title.

Three-year-old Rocket (pictured) won this year’s title, while half brother five-year-old Aussie took out the honours in 2008.

Four-year-old kennel mate Sarge claimed the title in 2010.

Aussie also won the Australian Confirmation title, meaning not only can he track well but he looks pretty darned good while doing it.

“It’s all about looks,” Mr Wiseman said of the confirmation title. “Judges either like them or they don’t.

“Rocket’s mother and father were imported from England but all three dogs were bred by a Mrs Riley from Tansy.”

He said the breed was easy to train and did much the same work as a police dog. The tracking training takes place in a paddock at Tansy with the dogs on 10-metre leads as “part of the rules and regulations”.

“Articles are dropped on the track and the dog sniffs until he finds the body.”

Mr Wiseman has been training dogs for about 40 years, starting out teaching dog obedience to Samoyeds. He’s been teaching tracking for 10 years now and is head instructor for the Gympie Dog Obedience Club.

“I’m not worried so much about obedience these days – I do more tracking which is different altogether. A lot of people don’t get into tracking because they don’t like to get out of bed that early, especially in the cold.”

The avid dog trainer is also proof if you remain calm under duress, chances of making it are higher.

He had been out at Tansy in March this year, cleaning up the training paddocks after the much-needed rains.

“I was mowing along the edge of the creek when I must have hit a root and fell 15 feet into the water,” he said. “The mower went over the top of me. I was pretty lucky there was only about two feet of water.”

Mr Wiseman then had to drive himself 84 kilometres to the Gympie Hospital.

A month after the accident, one of Mr Wiseman’s dogs won the Australian Tracking Championship title.

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