Tracking: A description of the levels of Canadian Kennel Club Competition
Tracking is a sport that any dog can do, but Tollers – and indeed most Sporting breeds – excel at this sport due to their ability to find downed birds in all kinds of cover, usually by using their noses.
Puppies as young as four months easily catch on to “find it” and it’s a great confidence builder for both dog and handler as the dog learns to do something on its own and the handler truly learns the meaning of the words “trust your dog.”
There is no one-on-one competition involved so there is little to no pressure during a tracking test (other than the pressure you put on yourself). The tracking fraternity is a small one, and all the other competitors are out there rooting for you and your dog. For everyone there is only a pass or fail, not a competitive score.
If you’re at a loss as to what to do with your retired show dog, take a look at tracking – he’ll love you for it. Your puppy will gain confidence daily as you progress in your training and even if you never compete, the teamwork you develop through tracking with your dog will last you a lifetime!
A CKC Tracking Dog Test (TD) tests dog and handler over a 400-500 metre track which has been laid by a stranger to the dog. This track has a minimum of two turns and one glove laid at the end of the track. The track is no less than one half hour old and no older than two hours.
The CKC Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) is more complicated than the TD but demonstrates the advanced training done by the team and natural ability of the dog.
The TDX test is over a 900-1000 metre track which is at least three hours old, has a minimum of five turns and three articles. To make things even more difficult the track is crossed in two places by a second person. The dog is not to take these “cross-tracks.” In case you were wondering, neither dog or handler is allowed to watch the track being laid…talk about “flying blind!”
The CKC Urban Tracking Dog (UTD) test is a situation which includes mixed surfaces typically found in populated areas.
The UTD test is over a 300-400 metre track which is no more than two hours old, has a minimum of three turns and two articles. Approximately two-thirds of the track will be laid on a vegetative surface and the remainder will be laid on non-vegetative surfaces including gravel and concrete. Urban tracks can go through underpasses and under bridges, adding to the variety of surfaces.
The CKC Urban Tracking Dog Excellent (UTDX) test is more difficult than the UTD by having more turns, obstacles and distance on non-vegetative surfaces.
The UTDX test is over a 600-750 metre track which is at least three hours old, has a minimum of five turns and three articles. One-third to one-half of the track will be on a non-vegetative surface such as gravel or concrete and may include stairs and open buildings. No intentional cross tracks are added, but it is understood that naturally occurring cross tracks will happen.
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