What is dog tracking?
In Australia, most tracking dogs and their owners are involved in tracking as a recreational sport. This sport demonstrates a dog’s natural ability to recognise and follow a scent. The objective is for the dog to find four deliberately “lost” personal items that have been dropped along the track.
In tracking the dog is completely in charge, because only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track.
The dog is usually worked on a 10 metre lead, but the length of lead actually used depends on the terrain. Judges design the track, instruct track layers how to walk the track, prepare charts that accurately depict the track’s design, and approve the items used. The judges also determine the start time for each dog and evaluate.
According to Dogs Victoria, many people who have trained their dogs to compete in obedience or agility trials also train them to track. They then enter tracking trials where they compete for Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) titles.
What dog tracking titles are available?
Tracking Dog (T.D.) Tracking Dog Excellent (T.D.X.) and Tracking Champion (T.Ch.)
Is my dog suitable for dog tracking?
There is no breed restriction to participate in this sport. However, your dog will need to be physically capable to walk the distance required in the competition. All types of dogs complete in these trials from toy breeds such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to larger gun dogs and working breeds like German Shepherd Dogs and Rottweilers.
A dog must be a minimum of six months of age to enter in a Tracking Trial.
No obedience qualifications are necessary. Dogs Victoria recommends that your dog is trained in tracking before you enter a dog trial so that it is likely to pass Test 1, which involves finding the track layer at the end of a trail of 400 metres with two turns.
Want to take dog tracking sport to the next level? Find out about Track and Search.
Where can I do dog tracking?
Several dog clubs around Australia regularly conduct tracking trials. Find a dog club near you by contacting ANKC‘s State member bodies: