AKC Tracking Newsletter

Spring 2012

Dear Tracking Judges,

We are changing the approval and application process to ensure our judges have the best opportunity to gain experience and expertise at each test level. The following changes are effective immediately.

To be approved as a Regular Status Tracking Dog Judge or Tracking Dog Excellent Judge, Provisional judges are required to submit the necessary completed request form after having judged a minimum of six (6) TD or TDX tests with at least three (3) different co-judges, only one of which may be a spouse. In addition, a satisfactory observation completed by the AKC Field Representative must have been conducted within the last two years of the request for Regular Status.

Once a Tracking Dog Judge has been granted Regular Status, an application may be submitted for the next level of which they meet the requirements.

Forms to request Regular Status:
TD http://www.akc.org/pdfs/Regular_Tracking_Dog.pdf
TDX http://www.akc.org/pdfs/Regular_Tracking_Dog_Excellent.pdf
VST http://www.akc.org/pdfs/Regular_Variable_Surface_Tracking.pdf

The form to request Regular Status for VST has been updated even though the procedure remains the same.

Additionally, in an effort to assist Provisional judges with their educational needs, we will send an electronic evaluation questionnaire to each Regular Status Judge after they have judged with a Provisional Judge. AKC will review the evaluation form and review the details with the Provisional judge should it be necessary.

Tracking Judging Requirements and Approval Process updated information:
Judges requesting an observation, please send requests to cejdgobs@akc.org

The Regulations are quite specific regarding visible tracks. This is addressed in Judges Guidelines, page 23. In summary:

When the path of the tracklayer is visible judges must consider whether awarding a title to a dog under the circumstances would render a disservice to all previous title holders who have truly earned their titles. If the judges decide to proceed where the track is visible, they must be alert to any attempts by handlers to lead their dogs. Any indication of guidance by the handler will cause the dog to fail.

Guiding is defined as behavior by the handler that influences or determines the dog’s direction. Guiding is prohibited and will cause the dog to be failed.

Repeated restraint that influences the dog’s direction is not permitted and will result in the dog being failed.

Guiding is most frequently seen when tracks or cross tracks are visible. However that is not the only time guiding takes place.

As judges, you have a responsibility to the sport to ensure titles are earned by the dog following the track unaided.

Remember, judges are to watch the teams the entire time they are on the track. Not watching a team, not being in position to watch the team, not following a team IS NOT good judging protocol.

A dog that is lame may not compete. Lameness is defined as any irregularity of locomotion. The dog is to be excused and the judge’s book marked “Excused – Lame.”

There is no such thing as a letter from a veterinarian exempting the dog for any irregularity in movement or locomotion.

With the judge’s permission and before the dog passes the 30 yard flag at the TD level a handler may restart their dog, once. They may start from the present location or return to the start flag. At no other time is a restart allowed at any test level.

Rescent is defined as allowing the dog to take scent from the start or other articles in such a way that it does not indicate the direction of the track or a point on the ground where the dog should begin to search.

Restart is defined as a behavior by the exhibitor that would indicate to the dog that he should begin searching a specific area or track in a given direction.

Once a handler has left the area of the start flag, returning to the start flag and then rescenting could be considered a restart.

RESPECTING THE SPORT, AKC & EACH OTHER – Or disagree respectfully!
Some things you just have to see with your own eyes to properly evaluate and render judgment. Lively discussion, in particular with varying opinions is good and creates an opportunity to widen our perspectives. Even in the best of relationships there will be times of disagreement – the key to maintaining stability is to do it respectfully.

A passing performance requires the agreement of both judges. If both judges do not agree, the dog does not pass. Both judges are required to make a written report to AKC explaining the circumstances and why they made their decision. While not agreeing would be an unusual situation, judges, be they Regular or Provisional status, should never feel pressured to pass a team they believe has not earned a pass.

Tracking Regulations Chapter 2, Section 19. “The only items permitted on the tracking field are those items considered by the judges to be essential to the conduct of the test, and permitted by these Regulations. Judges will not allow motivational items for a dog including but not limited to food, balls, or toys to be used or carried within 75 yards of any track.”

No video cameras or GPS devices may be attached to the dog or person during a test on the tracking fields.

Three AKC Tracking Seminars will be offered in 2012:
June 2, 2012 - Delevan, Wisconsin
June 30, 2012 - Kansas City, Kansas
November 3, 2012 - Los Angeles, CA

Tentative seminar locations for 2013 are for: IL, TX and Northern CA.

Until next time…

Pam Manaton, Director
Obedience, Rally & Tracking
Diane Schultz, Field Representative
Obedience, Rally & Tracking

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