What’s in a Title – Tracking

| March 22, 2014 | 0 Comments
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ikey complete a Tracking Test

Mikey completing a Tracking Test

What’s In A Title: Barn Hunt
What’s In A Title: Canine Good Citizen 
What’s In A Title: Conformation
What’s In A Title: Agility
What’s In A Title: Hunt
What’s In A Title: Obedience

Introduction

This is  part of a series explaining various types of competition and how to obtain various titles in conformation, hunt, obedience, agility, tracking, etc. This article focuses on tracking titles awarded by the American Kennel Club. The tracking test evaluates a dog’s ability to recognize and follow human scent – a skill valued in the service of mankind. This article is by no means comprehensive, just enough to wet your appetite and encourage you to get out with your dog and compete.

In order to compete, the dog must be six months or older. Bitches in season may be able to participate depending on the hosting club; they will run the last track of the day.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes three types of tracking titles:

  • Tracking Dog (TD). Dogs must successfully complete a licensed or member club Tracking Dog test certified by two judges. This test shows the dog’s ability to follow a track laid by another person under various conditions over moderate terrain to find an article dropped by that person at the end of the track.
  • Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX). To be eligible to compete, the dog must have already earned a TD title. Dogs must successfully complete a licensed or member club Tracking Dog Excellent test certified by two judges. This test shows unquestionably that the do can discriminate scent and possesses the stamina, perseverance, and courage under various conditions.
  • Variable Surface Tracking Dog (VST). To be eligible to compete, the dog must have already earned a TD or TDX title. Dogs must successfully complete a licensed or member club Variable Surface Tracking test certified by two judges. This test shows the dog’s ability to recognize and follow human scent while adapting to changing scenting conditions.
  • Champion Tracker (CT). Dogs must successfully earn all three tracking titles: TD, TDX, and VST.
  • Optional Title. Tracking Dog Urban (TDU). Dogs must successfully complete a licensed or member club Tracking Dog Urban test certified by a judge. This test shows the dog’s ability to follow a track laid by a person under a variety of scenting conditions in an urban environment and to find the articles dropped by that person. This is an optional titling event. Clubs are not required to offer this test and dogs are not required to earn the title to enter a TD, TDX, or VST tracking test.

Each tracking test (TD, TDX, VST, and TDU) differs in total length, length of each leg, length of scent laid, scent article(s), path angles, cross tracks, obstacles, and surfaces. For example, here are some of the track requirements for the TD track; as you can imagine, the restrictions and minimum requirements are more challenging with the next titles.

  • Track must be between 440 and 500 yards
  • Length of each leg must be at least 50 yards
  • Scent must be between 30 minutes to 2 hours old
  • A total of 3 to 5 turns must be used (both left and right turns, 2 turns must be 90-degree turns well out in the open)
  • No part of the track will follow any fence or boundary within 15 yards
  • No part of the track may be within 50 yards of any other pat of the same track
  • Consecutive parallel tracks may not be used
  • A track will not cross a body of water or a paved road

Get Ready

If you think your dog has a nose for finding things, this may be the sport for you. Look for a Tracking Test event and go watch or volunteer to help out – you will learn a lot this way! Then find out if local clubs or groups of folks train and ask to bring your dog out to see they do. The tracking fraternity is known for its friendliness, hospitality, and support of all participants. You and your dog will be in good company. Happy tracking!

Category : Tracking, What's In A Title

Lorraine

About the Author ()

Lorraine has owned Labradors for over 20 years and has bred them about half that time. A good day for Lorraine is experiencing the unbridled joy of her labs greeting her (in the morning, after work, or even after a short trip to the store), witnessing the pure happiness of her labs in the field retrieving or exploring on a hike, and snuggling with (or under) them on the couch at night. A great day is a good day (just described) plus having a litter of puppies around!

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