Schutzhund Training | Understanding The Tracking Phase

Schutzhund Training | The Tracking Phase

Tracking begins with a terrain suitable for tracking. You want to look around your community for meadow grass,  although a school field, or even a quiet grassy median can be used  if you don’t have meadows where you live.  Plowed fields are terrific, you just have to make certain you are in communication with the farmer so he does not kick you off his field.  Make sure you don’t use metal tracking stakes to mark your starting place – those get stuck in farmer’s tillers.
You can use use plastic stakes.

Also, forest soil is very suitable. Although that will require a bit more planning to lay track among trees.  You might need to really preview the forest area for the track you’ll be laying.  We want to track on all natural terrains. Sight-tracking is to be avoided as much as possible.

The next thing to consider is the tracking articles you’ll choose to use.  Within any one track, you’ll use a variety of different articles.  Each on will be different from the other. Their color may not stand out considerably from that of the terrain, and their size may not exceed that of a billfold wallet.Common materials for articles are pieces of carpet, leather, vinyl, fabric, and wood.

In Schutzhund 2, and 3 the articles are to be given to the track layer far enough in advance so that the track layer can carry the articles on their bodies for at least 30 minutes before laying the tracks. In SchH 1, the handler uses his/her own articles.   Attention should be paid to see that these articles are likewise well-scented by the human scent.

Before laying the Schutzhund 1 track on trial day, the handler must show the articles to the judge. Only the previously described common-use/household articles are to be used. The trial judge is responsible for determining the layout of the tracks, and for giving the instruction of the track layer.

The handlers may not be present during the laying of the tracks for Schutzhund 2, and  3. During the laying of the SchH 1 track the dog must remain out of sight. This adds to the challenge and the integrity of the tracking test.

The starting-place is to be marked with a  a tracking stake with number mark.  It is to be placed in the ground directly to the left of the starting-point, and must remain there throughout the tracking work.The track layer remains for awhile on the starting-place, and light stepping about on it is permitted.

The track layer then proceeds at a normal pace in the direction prescribed by the judge.  Scraping of feet or interruption in pace is not permitted.  After laying the last article, the track layer must proceed a few paces further straight ahead.

The number of track “legs”, or individual straight lines, differs from level to level.  The number of track-legs is prescribed in the Trial Level sections of the Trial Rules. Track layers plan and lay the prescribed number of legs for the appropriate level of test.

The corners are also to be made at a normal pace.  The track layer should pay attention to make sure that it is possible
for the dog to continue tracking directly into the next leg of the track. The continuity of the track is not to be disrupted by the making of the corners. Heavy stomping of the corners is not allowed, either.

The articles are to be laid on the track, while the track layer is in motion. After laying the last article at the end of the track, the track layer must proceed straight ahead a few paces further.

For Schutzhund 1: the first article is laid in the middle of either the first or the second leg (it is handler’s choice as to which leg); the second article is laid at the end of the track.

For Schutzhund 2: the first article is laid in the middle of the second leg; the second article at the end of the track.

For Schutzhund 3: the first article  is laid at least 100 paces out, and possibly on the second leg; the second article
is laid at approximately the middle of second or third leg of track; the third article at end of track.

As with everything involved in Schutzhund training, tracking requires integrity, self-control and excellent planning.

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