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Tracking Resources by Geoff Stern

His biography:

Geoff Stern has been involved with obedience training for about 20 years with Golden Retrievers, an Australian Shepherd, and Belgian Tervuren. He's been a teacher (middle school, high school, and university), artillery officer, store clerk, nightwatchman, and technical writer.

Currently, he and his Best of Opposite biped live near Boston, Massachusetts, and are owned and operated by two Goldens and two Belgians who are active in bench, agility, tracking, field, and counter-surfing.

Tracking programs and regulations

The American Kennel Club has the best known and most extensive tracking program in the U.S. The AKC Tracking Regulations are available online: You can search the online AKC judges’ directory to find a tracking judge near you for certification. Also, in this part of the country, the AKC Web site may be the best list of upcoming tracking tests, clinics, and seminars

The Australian Shepherd Club of America’s tracking program is similar to AKC’s. The ASCA Tracking Rules are available online

The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) has a tracking program, also similar to AKC’s and including a new Urban Tracking program. The CKC Web site has an event calendar, but doesn’t have rule books or other information online — you’ll have to call or write for hardcopy.

U.S. Police Canine Assn has a tracking program as part of its police dog certification:
T You can earn Schutzhund (or VPG) tracking titles through various organizations without doing the protection phase of Schutzhund:
You'll need to pass a Begleithunde (BH) test — obedience and temperament — and you’ll need a scorebook from DVG, USA, or other organization.

It is one of those extraordinary mornings that tell us fall is coming. The air is crisp; the trees now striped with reds and yellows in an otherwise summer colored world. On the thick, grassy mat, lies a dog, breathing calmly with eyes expectant. The handler picks up the old, worn leather line and speaks to the animal. It stands, stares, and then lowers its dark muzzle to the cover, moving slowly, steadily along a line no human can know. Its warm breath turns to steam and spreads, for only an instant, across the forward path in burst, like an engine.

As it moves, the power increases so it is driven by only one desire, the fusion of scent and animal. When it reaches the first corner, it senses the change and shifts to another direction, confident of its skill and purpose. As the dog moves towards the distant hills, the trainer — only walking behind — has a solitary wonder of what voice from nature this child of the wolf is hearing. — Gary Patterson, Tracking: From the Beginning

North America's Tracking clubs websites

Big Sky Tracking Dog Club (MT)
Croix Valley Tracking Club (WI, MN)
Cross Country Tracking Club (ON)
Dog Tracking Club of Maine and Tracking Club of Massachusetts
Gateway Tracking Club (MO)
Greater Kansas City Dog Training Club (MO) /id10.htm
Greater Lafayette Kennel Club (IN)
Houston Obedience Training Club (TX)
Lenape Tracking Club of Central New Jersey
Moraine Tracking Club (IL)
Nashville Dog Training Club (TN)
Oriole Dog Training Club (MD)
Palo Alto Foothills Tracking Assn (CA)
Pecatonica Tracking Club (IL)
Queen City Dog Training Club (OH)
Sacramento Dog Training Club (CA)
Southwest Tracking Assn (Houston TX)
Texas Gulf Coast Vizsla Club
Tracking Assn of North Alabama
Tracking Club of Vermont
Tracking Club of Wisconsin
Twin Cities Obedience Training Club (MN)
Western Carolinas Tracking Club (NC)
Yankee Golden Retriever Club (MA, NH)

The TDX handler’s prayer,
from Practical Tracking for Practically Anyone:

Please let me start.
Oh, little dog make a choice.
Go. Go somewhere and
Look like you know where.
And if you must fail,
Please put me in the woods
Where no one can see me.
Online training methods and hints
Articles and advice

Craig Green's Tracking Articles
See also “Small Successful Steps: A Tracking Dog Philosophy

Dennis Helm:

“Article Indication in Tracking the Schutzhund Dog”

“Teaching Turns in Tracking”

“Handling the Tracking Line”

“Tracking Through Drive” and other articles by Gary D. Murray

Allison Platt:
Take Your Westie Tracking

“Serpentine Tracks: A New Method of Introducing Dogs to Tracking”

Essential Skills and Common Problems with Beginner Trackers

“Tracking with Your Berner”

TDX Pointers

Dan Tratnack

Tracking with Your Beagle"What's the fun in tracking?", "When and how do I get started?", "What do I need?" and "How do I prepare myself and the dog for actual exercises?"

Cindy Pischke on tracking: Aging Your Track

Cindy Pischke on tracking: Turns

Introducing Articles for Tracking

Cindy Pischke on tracking: Article indication

E-mail discussion lists

CKC Tracking


TinyTrackers — for dogs under 20 LB

Tracking Dog

The Tracking List



An extraordinary number of failures at [tracking tests] happen when the handler pulls the dog away from the trail, which may be one of the reasons the bigger, stronger dogs do so well at tracking. — Vicki Hearne, Adam’s Task








Introductions and overviews

Beginning a New Tracking Dog” by Anne Copeland & Ruth Rechtoris

Pam Green’s Tracking Overview

Puppies and Tracking” by Joe Hamzy

Getting Started in Tracking” by Lynda McKee

Why Tracking…” by Susan Stanley

Tracking with Eli” by Trish Wright

Tracking with Your Newf”(Newfoundland Club of Seattle)


Canadian tracking

Heather MacLeod’s Tracking Canadian-Style
[Including CKC Urban Tracking Dog program]

Tracking in Canada

Variable surface tracking

Getting Started Tracking Variable
” by Carol Pernicka

An Introduction to VST” by Ed Presnall

Getting Started In VST” by Ed Presnall

Special techniques and problem-solving

“Read Any Trailing or Tracking Dog by Understanding Negative Indications” by Kevin Kocher & Robin Monroe Dog.PDF ID draft.doc

Deborah Palman on police tracking:
“Police Tracking in Rural Areas”

Tracking Handling Handling.htm

“The Article Game” by Ed Presnall

Julia Priest on FH or Schutzhund-style tracking:
“Track du Jour —Cross Tracks and Notched Corner Tracks” du Jour 1.htm,
track_cross-track.htm, AND track_notched-corners.htm

Teaching the Down and Article Indication

Teaching a Puppy Articles Off the Track

“Only the Nose Really Knows: A Tracking Perspective” by Armin Winkler

Steve White and “scent-in-a-bottle:
Scent in a Bottle — An Operant Approach to Tracking

Tracking with SIAB — A Modular Approach”

Scent in a Bottle: The Logical Approach to Tracking” by Jona Decker


Guidelines for Tracking Test Secretaries

Articles of a Personal Nature” by Deb Coates
[A short story dealing with tracking]

Oh, What a Fine Tracking Morning!” by Pam Green
[To tune of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”]

Getting Ready for the Grand Parade” by Pat Norris
[Preparing for an AKC tracking test]

Imagine This: Preparing for a Tracking Event
by Elizabeth Reynolds

A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know watching her, that you know almost nothing.
Mary Oliver, “Her Grave”

European tracking

André Brun’s “blood tracking” in Norway

Hans van der Stroom’s tracking in the Netherlands

Tracking trials in Finland

Training for the FCI Fährtenhund (FH) World Cup

[The FH track is similar to a TDX]
Fundamentals of Tracking (Martin Lerchbaumer)

Schutzhund tracking OR .html OR /Trackingdiagram.htm OR /tracks.htm

Spring is coming. The air is crisp, the trees, recently barren, are sprouting new buds and the grass, covered by snow or dormant for months is turning a lush green. Gazing across the landscape, a handler watches his dog intently sniffing the frosty breeze as its long recessed instincts arouse.

Snapping on the harness, the handler attaches the long lead and watches his partner drop its muzzle towards the ground and start slowly moving along an unseen line. They are following a scent so faint that no human could recognize it, yet the dog leads on. With both amazement and admiration of his working friend, the handler follows along behind; assisting as a part of the team, sometimes questioning, but always assuring his partner.

Later, perhaps after only a few yards in the beginning, or over 500 yards as their team progresses towards their goal, the dog indicates a special treasure it has found on their journey. An old glove, a sock, or a wallet. The handler congratulates his dog, accepts the treasure, and with a tear in his eye and joy in his heart leads his partner on an enjoyable walk through the field, back to their vehicle and awaiting friends.

Ed Presnall, “Tracking Fields”

Books and videos on tracking

Most of these books are available from Dogwise, J&J, and other suppliers. You may want to try to get your club to buy copies, or if you have a group of friends with whom you’re tracking, get every to pitch in on a joint purchase.

… Glen Johnson’s Tracking Dog: Theory & Method is a classic of dog training literature. Dogwise also sells a booklet of just Chapter 7 of this book as The Tracking Trainers Handbook. It’s the core part of Johnson’s book, including his lesson plans and how to determine the “hump” factor — handy to keep in your kit bag.

… Sandy Ganz & Susan Boyd’s Tracking from the Ground Up is well-written (notwithstanding a somewhat unrealistically diligent training regimen). The companion video, Tracking Fundamentals, is a good introduction, well produced, and concise.

… Enthusiastic Tracking: The Step-by-Step Training Handbook by Sil Sanders also has a nicely laid-out curriculum. Interestingly, you can buy the field maps for this book separately.

… Try Tracking! (formerly The Puppy Tracking Primer) by Carolyn Krause ( is a terrfic booklet by an accomplished tracker.

… Tracking: A Practical Guide for TD and TDX by the Tracking Club of Massachusetts is a concise introduction — a very nice little book.

… Betty Mueller’s About Track Laying: Guidelines for Dog Tracking Enthusiasts is a very handy, very well produced booklet which is worth carrying in your old kit bag. It may be especially good for the Chief Tracklayer of a test to have a copy for coaching rookie tracklayers.

… Julie Hogan & Donna Thompson’s booklet Practical Tracking for Practically Anyone has good advice for the beginner to TDX and VST.

… Lue Button’s Practical Scent Dog Training is a general introduction to scent work, very readable, but not as comprehensive as other books listed here. Also, Susan Bulanda’s little vest-pocket book Scenting on the Wind: Scentwork for Hunting Dogs has a good explanation of theory and practice.

… John Rice & Suzanne Clothier’s booklet, Following Ghosts: Developing the Tracking Relationship ( is, like all of Clothier’s booklets, interesting reading for a philosophy of training, more than specific methods.

… The Audible Nose: Training Your Newfoundland to Track by Judi Adler is available from her Web site — — or from Pawmark.

… Ed Presnall’s Mastering Variable Surface Tracking: The Component Training Approach supplants his earlier book on VST. There’s a companion workbook (

… There’s an excellent chapter on tracking by Carilee Cole Moran in Sallyann Comstock’s Belgians from Start to Finished.

… Tracking: From the Beginning by Gary Patterson ( is based largely on drive theory and mostly concerns Schutzhund-style footstep tracking; but it has some good hints for AKC-style tracking. Several other Schutzhund books also cover tracking, notably Dog Training with the Touch by Tom Rose & Annetta L. Cheek. You might also look for videos on Schutzhund tracking by Joanne Fleming-Plumb and Gottfried Dildei.

… The Leerburg ( video Training the Competition Tracking Dog by Ed Frawley is also mostly about Schutzhund tracking — with some very old-fashioned, heavy-handed methods — but it has some good hints on track laying and using the track as a training tool.

… Resi Gerritsen & Ruud Haak’s K9 Professional Tracking gives the perspective of veteran SAR trainers from Europe — mainly concerned with scent theory, but has some practical training advice. Likewise Tracking for Search and Rescue Dogs by Boguslaw P. Gorny.

… Some older books that have some good advice:
— Go Find! Training Your Dog to Track by L. Wilson Davis
— Milo Pearsall & Hugh Verbruggen’s Scent: Training to Track, Search, and Rescue
— Tracking chapters in Winifred Strickland’s Expert Obedience Training for Dogs

… A Practical Guide to Training and Working the Trailing Dog by John Lutenberg & Linda Porter is the course book for Canine Training Academy ( in Colorado, which provides training for law enforcement and SAR dogs.

… William Syrotuck’s Scent and the Scenting Dog is a technical discussion of scent by one of the founders of U.S. canine SAR training. See also “Scent: K9s’ Reason for Being” by Steve White & Tim Tieken —

… Roy Hunter’s Fun Nosework for Dogs has some training games that can help motivate a reluctant tracker — and amuse a dedicated one.

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