Thursday, December 10, 2009

Track Laying

Last weekend I had a blast laying track for the tracking trial our club hosts every December. I know some people may not be very familiar with the sport of tracking so I thought I'd do a little post about the tracklaying process. Each dog in the trial gets their own track so it takes MANY people to pull off a tracking trial. And the laying the tracks is a two-day process so volunteers need to be plentiful and committed.
Day 1
Step 1. Put on your orange vest-safety first!
Step 2. Review procedure with your judges.
Step 3. Follow behind the judges making a map as you go along. You will need to be able to find this path without flags to help you so note any landmarks and how many paces/yards each leg is. This is my map from Saturday, you can see the landmarks I used such as trees, a distant flagpole, a silo, tire tracks in the ground and plant matter on the track.

Step 4. When the plotting is done, the judges will move on to the next track and tracklayer but you can walk your track as many times as you want on day 1. Walk it again and go over your map, noting anything you may have missed. I made a cleaned-up version of my map to use the next day since the one you make while walking is generally messy.

Day 2
Step 1. Put on your orange vest-safety first!
Step 2. Check watch and note time
Step 3. Walk straight to first flag.
Step 4. Pause and drop start article (sock, pot holder, fabric swatch, etc.)
Step 5. Leave first and second flags in place
Step 6. Walk normally and pause slightly at each turn to find your landmarks
Step 7. Pick up each flag including last flag
Step 8. At last flag, drop glove, pick up flag and walk straight out of field.

After the dog has run the track, hopefully they made it to the end on their own and found the glove! But if they didn't, you will need to help them get back on track and make it to the end. Their chances for a title that day are done, but as a courtesy (and because they paid to run the WHOLE track, not just the part they got done before the whistle blew) the tracklayer helps the dog have a successful experience finding the glove. How you do this depends on how much assistance the handler wants. They may ask for the general shape of the track, how long each leg is, or just for you to yell at them if they get terribly off track. The team running my track did not earn a title on Sunday, but she and her Bullmastiff were in great spirits and we did eventually make it to the glove! Those darn deer tracks were just better smelling than mine.


  1. wow! that's very interesting! thanks for sharing!

  2. Cute pup you have and a very nice blog!


  3. how cool is that love the pic's dog is gorgeous

    thanks for the tutorial