AKC tracking events are competiion form of
canine search and rescue.
Put your dog's nose to work!
Herding, Tracking & Versatility Awards
What is "Herding?"
Herding is the ability of a dog and handler to smoothly, and without undue stress to livestock, move them from one place to the next. The American Kennel Club, the American Herding Breed Association, The Austrailian Shepherd Club of America and different Border Collie associations sponsor herding trials each year to test different levels of training and to earn titles. Mainly dogs from the Herding Group are eligible, although AHBA does allow more breeds and mixes of those breeds to compete and earn titles.
One of our instructors, Dorothy Schmidt, is involved in herding with her Border Collie and Rough Collie. She travels to Genoa City (south of Lake Geneva) to the Dead Oak Trial Grounds for herding lessons each week and also is Trial Secretary for herding events held there.
A fun herding event is the very popular Herding Instinct Day, which is held twice a year at the Grounds. People can watch as a tester takes their dog in with 3 sheep to see if their dog has the instinct to herd. No training is required, video taping is offered and a Herding Instinct Certification is presented to those dogs showing very basic herding interest and ability. A number of MDTC members have taken advantage of and thoroughly enjoyed this event coming home with their HIC.
What is "Tracking?"
All you need to track is a dog, a harness, a 30' line and a glove,... and food, water, flags, pencil and paper, surveyor's tape, colored clotshespins, boots, a watch, a partner (if possible!), rain gear, mosquito repellent, and time, time, time!
Three titles can be earned in the AKC tracking program: TD (Tracking Dog), TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent) and VST (Variable Surface Tracker). When all three are earned, your dog has a CT (Champion Tracker). Before a dog is eligible to enter for a TD, a judge must "certify" that the dog has passed a regulation track and is qualified to enter a sanctioned test. The TD has a 52% passing rate, TDX about 17% and the VST has about a 5% passing rate.
The MDTC offers a small tracking class starting each spring in order to train and be able to enter an AKC TD test. Mixed breeds can earn a title through our Club. The instructor, Dorothy Schmidt, only works with a small number of members and their dogs, because it takes a lot of land and real dedication of time to succeed.
A Collie, two Flat Coated Retrievers, two Golden Retrievers, a Siberian Husky, two German Shepherd Dogs, two Poodles and a Vizsla have earned a TD through the Club. Also. a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a Collie, and a Miniature poodle have earned a TDX and a Border Collie, Mint, has earned the VST and CT (Champion Tracker).
Since 2003, the AKC has held a National Tracking Invitational. It is held every couple of years, with the first 3 held in Asheville, NC and the last one in Chicago, IL. This is for all dogs that have earned their CT...with a limit of a 10-dog entry with 5 running on Saturday and 5 on Sunday.
The tracks will comply with the TDX requirements, with the following modifications:
- Turns: 5-8
- Age of Track: 3-5 hours
- Length of Track: 800-1000 yards
- Articles: 4 (metal, leather, cloth, plastic)
- Cross-tracks: 1
- Surfaces: Terrain and surfaces as available
Ellen Mack and Spotlight Kitt's Wild Party, CD,TDX, earning her tdx on October 17th, 2010 in Hudson, Wi.
What are "Versatility Awards?"
Different breed parent clubs and the American Kennel Club offer versatility programs. Dogs must earn certain titles at increasingly difficult levels leading up to a Versatility Championship. This allows people who like to participate in more than one venue to receive acknowledgement for their dog's accomplishments.
AKC requires titles in obedience, tracking and agility (both standard and jumpers). The Border Collie Society of America requires herding titles and includes conformation. The American Working Collie Association has many areas in which to earn points from agility, carting, backpacking, service work, and other areas.
Karen Felle and her Poodle, Toots, have earned the AKC VCD-1. Dorothy Schmidt and her Border Collie, Mint, have a VX from the BCSA, and her Collie, Chelsea, has her VCH from the AWCA. Each organization has different requirements, but all acknowledge a versatile dog. Check with your dog's breed parent club to find out if a versatility program is offered. Variety is the spice of life, and dogs love variety!
For more info, contact Dorothy Schmidt
TRACKING AND HERDING LINKS:
For more information on Tracking check out the following websites: AKC Tracking : AKC Herding : American Herding Breed Association : Austrailian Shepherd Club of America : Border Collie Society of America : American Working Collie Association : My Tracking Dog