Ever since Julie was invited to a tracking test in the mid-1980's, she has wanted to participate in tracking events. It was not easy finding anyone actively training in tracking where she lived in northeastern Indiana, where she lived at the time. However, when she eventually moved to the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area she found a great number of interested people with their dogs. She attended a tracking seminar given by AKC tracking judges Orrin and Susan Eldred and has since helped many people begin their tracking careers using their method.
Contact the Eldreds for information about their tracking book, "Fascinating Scent". This is the method I use and recommend. The Eldreds also hold tracking camps in northern Michigan, so please contact them if you are interested in attending. I have not yet been able to attend a camp, but hope to in the future.
Another good book is "Making Scents of the Urban Jungle", a guide to variable surface tracking by Steve Ripley.
Here is a link to the AKC's beginner's guide to tracking.
The Queen City Dog Training Club has several members who have helped their dogs earn tracking titles. Click on the club name to see their photos.
There are two tracking e-mail lists in our area. The main one is Tri-State Trackers. Julie has also created a group for the people who usually track with her so they can arrange times and places to track, called Julie's Tracking Friends.
Claire (Clarisse Dusoleil, CD, RA, HT, CGC), age 12 weeks, learns to discriminate scent by finding treats inside a scent circle (left). She then progressed to a very short straight line track with Julie helping her to look down and "find it!" by pointing to the ground (right) near where the track and treats are located when Claire looked up.
Claire finds the glove (below)! This was her third time tracking. She did scent circles 2 different days within the week before having a very short (5'), straight track with a glove at the end. Her next track will be a serpentine to help her learn to search for the scent.
Cyrus (BISS Ch. Taradobe's King Of The Road, WAC, CGC) is a Doberman. He & Micky have been tracking since the summer of 2004.
Aggie (Ch Agness Du Soleil, CD, RN, NA, NAJ, OAP, OJP, CGC) searches for the scent (left) and then pulls Julie towards the glove.
Al and Xtra (Winjammers Headlines, AX, AXJ) began tracking in 2004. Al puts the tracking harness on (left), then lets Xtra scent the glove at the start flag (right).
Xtra pulls Al along the track. The turns are marked with a pink flag so Al knows where to begin watching Xtra's body language and learn how Xtra signals that she is at a turn. It is common for dogs to lift their head up for a very brief moment while tracking.
Below we see Lynn tracking with 5-month-old German Shepherd Dog "Maya" (Hallmark's Creative Inspiration). Julie and Mike follow so Maya gets used to people following her as the judges would do in a test.
Maya finds the glove at in high cover at the end of the track.
Cindy with "Melanie" the Border Collie (below) at the start flag. Once Melanie entered the field, all we could see was Cindy and then Mike.
Cindy's Norwegian Elkhound puppy, "Gimli" (Vindarne's Lord Of The Rings), showing great tracking form below.
Julie makes sure Bechelle's (Bechelle Dusoleil, CD, RN, TD, HT, PT, JHDs, HSAds, CGC) adjustable, nylon, non-restrictive tracking harness fits correctly (left). Bechelle begins the track (right).
Bechelle lifts her head to check for scent near a turn (left) and eventually finds the glove (right). A dog must indicate to the handler that they have located the article. Bechelle usually does this by nibbling or pawing at the article.
Bechelle earned her AKC TD on 27 February 2005 in Shelbyville, Kentucky on a track that was 465-yards long with 3 turns and had aged 56 minutes in brisk wind in medium dry cover on a cold, sunny day. Her track included going downhill, uphill, and over a small stream.
Here is a sample of a practice track we did in November 2006:
Ness (Blak Jak's Finesse Du Soleil, CD, TD, HT, NJP, CGC) earned her AKC TD on 13 April 2003 (3 months before turning age 10!) in Trotwood, Ohio on a track that was 455-yards long with 3 turns and had aged 35 minutes in medium to high cover on a sunny, cool, damp day with a slight wind. The conditions were perfect!
Ness' tracking trophy has a map of her actual track: