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Learn About Tracking

SilverDust G-Day for a Rita - 4 months -- Its never too early to start your pup tracking.

People get into tracking for a variety of reasons.  Some are fascinated by a dog's ability to use its nose to get from one place to another.  although there is a visible link between the two locations, the dog's natural ability makes it possible for him to accomplish this.

Other people enjoy spending time out-of-doors with their dogs.  Tracking is an informal activity in which both handler and dog receive the side benefits of physical conditioning and relaxation.

Young dogs that are growing up and not ready to seriously prepare for obedience, field, or breed competition experience tracking as an unpressured activity.  It also helps promote bonding with their owners.

Older retired dogs can remain active in an unstressful atmosphere.

Above all, tracking is fun and enjoyable time spent with a dog.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) offers titles in tracking.  The first title is TD (Tracking Dog) a more advanced title is TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent).  If you think your dog is ready to pass its tracking test, you will need to be certified and enter a test.  The dog needs only to pass one test to obtain its TD.

Poe and Ingrid Rosenquist practicing tracking in sunny Montana

Certification and How to Enter a Test

In order to enter a T.D. test, it is necessary to be certified by an AKC approved tracking judge.  The certification track will be equal to a regulation TD test track.  The purpose of this certification is to officially verify that your dog is prepared to enter a TD test.

You need to contact a judge to arrange a time and place to have your dog certified.  In all likelihood, the judge will arrive at your agreed-upon place before you and have the track ready when you get there.

Upon your successful completion of this track, the judge will give you four(4) original statements of certification that are valid for one (1) year.  You will need to provide the judge with the following information:  Dog's registered name, breed, AKC registration number (or ILP number), and complete owner information.

If you live in an area where there are no AKC approved tracking judges, another option for certification is available.  It is possible to request certification for the AKC.  They require a statement from the handler as to the dog's tracking ability.  in return you will receive four certifications but they will only provide this service one time.

Each time you enter a TD test you must include on of these original signed statements with your entry form and fee.  If you use all 4 certifications with entries and still have not earned a TD, your dog must be recertified.

Note:  Once the dog earns a TD title, you can continue to enter TD tests but a certification does not need to be included with your entry.  That wonderful TD at the end of your dog's name is all you need.

Recommended Reading for new trackers:  Check out for supplies and books!

  • Enthusiastic Tracking by Sil Sanders

  • Tracking from the Ground Up by Sandy Ganz

  • Tracking Fundamentals by Johnson

Think your dog is purebred, not AKC Registered but would like to compete in AKC Obedience?  You need an ILP number.

Get more Information:

ILP Instructions (WORD format)        ILP Instructions PDF (use Adobe Reader)

Mixed breed dogs may now compete in AKC Tracking events

AKC Beginners guide to Tracking - pdf

More About AKC Tracking

Getting Started in AKC Tracking

Trusting Your Dog

Tracking Fields

Tracking E-Lists

Tracking Contacts by Area

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