WHAT IS TRACKING?

Tracking demonstrates a dog’s ability to recognize and follow human scent, a skill that is useful in the service of mankind.   

Overview of American Kennel Club Tracking Tests

The fundamental features of a Tracking Test are the dogs’ ability to follow a track laid by a person under a variety of conditions and to find an article(s) dropped by that person.

Tracking Dog (TD)  The track will be between 440 to 500 yards, aged between 30 minutes and 2 hours.  There will be a starting flag with an article and another flag 30 yards away, there will be 3 to 5 right angle turns (right and left) with each leg of the turn being at least 50 yards long.  Tracks will be plotted and laid in open fields with at least two of the turns being made in the open. The tracklayer must be a stranger to the dog.  The article will be a glove or wallet. The dog must be in harness with the handler following at a distance of at least 20 feet.  While the handler can give verbal encouragement, he/she may not guide or give directional commands.  The handler may carry water but not food or toys.  There is no time limit as long as the dog is working.  The test is pass/fail.  (A dog must be certified ready by an AKC Tracking Judge before entering a TD test)

Tracking Dog Urban (TDU)  This is an optional titling event. The track will be between 400 to 500 yards, aged between 30 minutes and 2 hours.  The track will have a minimum of two different surfaces - vegetated and non-vegetated. There are a total of 3 to 5 right angle turns. Tracks may be in the vicinity of buildings and other structures but there are no physical barriers. There are three articles similar to a glove or wallet: at the start, approximately in the middle, and at the end. The test is pass/fail.  (A dog who has not previously passed a TD test must be certified ready by an AKC Tracking Judge before entering a TDU test)

Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX)  Dog must have first earned a TD. Purpose of this test is to show unquestionably that the dog has the ability to discriminate scent and possesses the stamina, perseverance and courage to do so under a wide variety of conditions.  Judges are to plot tracks as challenging and realistic as the terrain will permit, while maintaining proper concern for the safety of the dogs and handlers.  The track will be between 800 to 1000 yards, aged between 3 to 5 hours.  There will be a starting flag, 5 to 7 turns ( of which at least three will be right angle turns). There will be cross-tracks at two widely separated places on the track.  There will be at least two obstacles to challenge the dog and handler (i.e. plowed land, gullies, roads, bridges, fences).  There will be four personal, dissimilar articles on the track, one of these at the start flag, two on the track and one at the end.  Dog must indicate the last three articles. The test is pass/fail.

Variable Surface Tracking (VST)  Dog must have first earned a TD or TDX title.  This is a test of credibility, verifying the dog’s ability to recognize and follow human scent while adapting to changing scenting conditions.   The track will be 600 to 800 yards long and the track shall have a minimum of three different surfaces, which shall include vegetation and two areas devoid of vegetation, such as concrete, asphalt, gravel, sand, hard pan or mulch.  Areas devoid of vegetation shall comprise at least one-third to one-half of the total length of the track.  There will be no physical obstacles as in the TDX track.  Track will be 3 to 5 hours old, with 4 to 8 turns, with at least one turn in an area devoid of vegetation. There will be four dissimilar articles (one each of leather, plastic, metal & fabric); one at the start (the start will be in vegetation), two on the track and one at the end.  One article must be dropped in an area devoid of vegetation. The test is pass/fail.

Recommended Reading:

 

Lenape's Favorite Links

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The internet is filled with hundreds of interesting sites concerning the world of tracking.  Below we have listed some of our favorite sites. 

                   

Other local clubs holding tracking tests

(and not-so-local clubs where members have tracked)

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AKC

CKC

ASCA

  • Garden State Australian Shepherd Association (NJ)


 

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