Sunday, May 3, 2015


Over the last year Aspen and I have gotten into tracking.  We started last spring then I got lymes disease and that put me out of commission, but this year I'm back at it with deet in hand to battle those pesky ticks!!! 

I'm still new in tracking, but let me give those of you that don't have any idea a description of what it is. Here is a link from the AKC with more specific information- 

Basically dogs have great sense of smell and they were all born with it.  Big to little and old to young dogs can all use their nose to track.   

What do you need: a dog ;-), harness, a 20-40ft long line, and a few flags to mark your track, some sent articles and a place to track.  I use the various state parks in MN . 

Extras you should have is vest or some sort of thing to carry articles, bug spray, sun screen, water for the dog.  You will also want to have gear for all types of weather and terrain.  

Here is the dog(Aspen) and the harness. 

 The AKC offers a test to demonstrate your team's abilities. 

1. Tracking Dog (TD) - This test can be entered after getting certified by an instructor.   There are limited spaces open in a test and they want to make sure the dog is able to complete a track.  It also only takes one successful track passed to get the title. TD track is from 440-to-500 yards long with 3-to-5 turns (or change in direc- tion) and aged from a half-hour to two hours.A dog must indicate a glove or wal- let placed at the end of the track.Tracks are plotted in an open field with uniform cover.There are no obstacles such as roads, ditches or woods.The start of the track will be marked with a flag.A second flag is placed 30 yards from the start flag to indicate the direction of the first leg of the track.There are no other flags in the field. This info and be found on the site I gave above. 
2. Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX)-  Requires a pass in the TD test. The TDX track is 800-to-1000 yards long, with 5-to-7 turns and aged from 3-to-5 hours.The track also has two sets of cross (diversionary) tracks and has some of the aforementioned obstacles.The start is marked with a single flag and the dog must determine the direction of the first leg.There are four dissimilar articles for each track, one at the start and three more on the track. This info and be found on the site I gave above. 

3. Variable Surface Tracker (VST)-A VST track is from 600-to-800 yards long, with 4-to-8 turns, and aged from 3-to-5 hours.The articles must be one each of leather, cloth, plastic and metal. The VST track must also contain three different sur- faces with one turn on a non-vegetated surface such as concrete.This test demon- strates the utility of the tracking dog to work in an urban environment. This info and be found on the site I gave above. 

If you earn all of these titles you get the title of Champion Tracker (difficult task!!). 

There is also a TDU(optional title)-which is a track more based in urban tracking.  It's comparable to the TD I believe.  More info can be found here

Aspen and I are working on preparing for a TD test.  We took a class last fall and then we are currently taking a class now in hopes to be more prepared for our test hopefully this fall. There are only limited number of tracks and when there are more entries then tracks they draw so fingers crossed we get to run one and we pass :-)  

Here is Aspen and I out tracking 

I love it because I get to participate in an activity that my dog loves, I like exploring new area in nature, and I'm building a level of trust and team work with my dog that I couldn't any other way. It's truly amazing and pretty fun despite getting sun burned from time to time, finding some ticks, and we won't talk about snakes haha!! I just pretend they aren't there ;-)  

I just volunteered to be a track layer for a TDX test this weekend.  I will post about that experience this week, but until then take care readers!!! 


  1. HI Aspen
    Looks like you and your human are having great fun tracking together :) Milo & Jet

  2. Your dogs are beautiful! I was wondering if you are still feeding raw? Is so where do you buy it? I live in South Central MN. Im looking for a place to buy raw dog food. Thanks!!

  3. I am sad to see that your blog has come to an end.

    Having said that, Max, my BMD, has his own daily blog. So far, I haven't missed a day.