About Tracking...

Tracking is an outdoor, non-competitive team sport - and the team members are you and your dog.

Training a dog to achieve a Tracking title requires a significant commitment of time and effort, especially for the first time tracker. It may take 1 to 2 years to achieve, depending on the skill and commitment of the dog and handler. To earn a Tracking title requires putting in miles and miles of walking in all terrains and in all weather. Tracking is not for the faint of heart - tracking is a labor of love.

Map makingAt the first level of an AKC Tracking test, the dog and handler must follow an unknown track, designed by two AKC judges, and walked by an assigned tracklayer 30 minutes to two hours prior to the dog and handler starting. The track will be a minimum of 440 yards ( mile) in length. At this test the dog will need to wear a non restrictive tracking harness and will be attached to a 20 - 40 ft tracking line. The handler usually has an approved means of carrying water, as well as articles that have been dropped for the dog to find. In addition, the handler will need to dress for the occasion (i.e. weather, footing, ground cover).

ShadowAKC Tracking tests are outdoor activities that may be held in all types of weather, including rain, sleet, and even snow. The dog and handler must be able to deal with many environments, including heavy brush, tree lines, uneven ground, etc. At the first level, tests are usually held in open fields and usually in the early morning hours. Additional levels may include woods, ditches, and other more physically challenging environments. Because tests may be held in these conditions and environments, it is important for handlers and their dogs to train in them. Both training and competing can be very physically demanding for handler and dog.