Tracking with your Weimaraner
Many thanks to Lin & Bern Eversten
for writing the below article on Tracking.
Dual Ch Greydove Uptown Girl ET CCD
What is Tracking?
Tracking is where a dog follows a pre laid scent of a person, finds various articles (e.g. a sock) from that person along the way, and finds the person at the end of the track. All dogs have a natural ability to track, some breeds are better than others. Our task is to
train the dog to track the one scent you direct them to.
The main focus here is to make the activity playful. We are trying to guide the dog to follow one scent, and encourage them to indicate the articles.
Have a known person tuck four or more clean socks up their jumper for at least 30-60 minutes.
Prepare some small pieces of chicken necks, cooked liver or some other treat that your dog likes. Begin in the back yard or park early in the morning (so there are not too many distractions or other peoples’ scents around). Now, with the dog out of sight, have the known
person (the track layer) leave a sock at the starting point, with a small treat under it. The tracklayer walks off in a straight direction and repeats the placement of the article every five to ten meters. Close to the last article, the tracklayer hides themselves in a (green or brown)
waterproof sheet, lies down and keeps very still.
About five or ten minutes later the handler and dog approach the starting peg, with the dog on lead. Approach the article, allow the dog to sniff the article and encourage them to turn over the sock to seek its reward. Give plenty of praise at this stage. Guide your hand in the general
direction and encourage your dog to find the track. Follow your dog to the next article and reward again with plenty of praise and excitement. At the end of the track the dog must find the tracklayer, who gives the dog a much larger portion of his treat.
If you are now considering tracking, you will need to get a harness and a 10 meter lead.
Competition is done on harness and no treats are presented until the end of the track.
For further training, venture out into larger and different surroundings. Gradually increase the distance and introduce some turns, both left hand and right hand. Slowly remove the treats from the articles, but keep the excitement up by giving plenty of praise when the article is
found. The one treat given on the day is the large one given by the tracklayer at the end of the track.
Competition and Titles:
When do you track? Due to snakes and heat concerns, most clubs generally track during thecooler months (i.e. May through to September).
Where do you track? We track in the bush, in farm paddocks and large reserves. Some tracks can be on the flat, underlying or hilly areas.
What time do you track? Generally when you undertake to enter a trial, you need to register just before dawn at the chosen location. This allows the first track to be undertaken as soon as it is light.
A judge may have eight or more tracks to judge and can only observe one at a time, hence your turn to track will vary. It may not be until after lunch in some cases.
Becoming a Champion: Tracking is a recognized and titled event. To gain a tracking title, the dog must achieve passes in seven tracks, all of which have an increased element of difficulty.
The Qualifying Test (TQT): This is set over 300 meters with one 90 degree turn. For this test,the track layer (person laying the scent) can be a known person to the dog. The track must not be less than ten minutes, or more than thirty minutes old. The track layer places a sock at the starting point.
Test-1: This is set over 800 meters with two 90 degree turns. The track layer can be a known person to the dog. The track must not be less than 30 or more than 60 minutes old. The track layer places a sock at the starting point and two additional articles along the track.
Test- 2: This is set over 800 meters with two 90 degree turns. The track layer in this case will be an unknown person to the dog. The track must not be less than 30 or more than 60 minutes old. The track layer places a sock at the starting point and two additional articles along the
After completing Test- 2, a title of Tracking Dog (TD) is awarded.
Test- 3: This is set over 1000 meters with four angle turns and two articles placed on the track. The track layer is to be an unknown person to the dog. The track must not be less than 60 or more than 120 minutes old.
Test- 4: This is the same as Test-3 however; we introduce a second tracklayer known to the dog, who crosses the track once, 30 minutes after the first tracklayer.
Test- 5: This is set over 1200 meters with five angle turns and three articles placed on the track. The track layer is to be an unknown person to the dog. The track must not be less than 60 or more than 180 minutes old. The track is to be crossed twice; either by one unknown tracklayer,
or once, by two unknown tracklayers who cross the track approximately 30 minutes after the first tracklayer.
After completing Test- 5, a title of Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) is awarded.
Test-6: This is set over 1200 meters with six angle turns, two of which are to be acute turns. For this test there is no starting point or flag and three articles are to be placed on the track. The track layer is to be an unknown person to the dog. The track must not be less than 90 or more
than 180 minutes old. The track is to be crossed twice; either by one unknown tracklayer, or once, by two unknown tracklayers who cross the track approximately 30 minutes after the first tracklayer. The start for this test is set between two flags approximately twenty meters apart. There is no
article or defined starting point for this test. When starting this test, the judge will hand a scented article (in a clean bag) to the handler approximately 30 meters from the starting line. The dog is to track from this point onwards.
On successful completion of this test, the title Tracking Dog Champion CH (T) is awarded.
Track layers: As a competitor, after completing your TQT or Test-1 you will be asked to lay a track or two for the other competitors. You need to be prepared and have some small articles (socks etc.) on your person on the day. This helps to pass the time and shares the workload.
Tracklayers are rewarded as the dogs are, at the end of their track (regardless if they pass or fail).
We hope you take up this activity, as you will get out and about the country side and meet friendly people who have a lot in common.
Further information can be gained from the Tracking Club of Victoria’s website at http://www.trackingclubvic.org.au