Tracking Dog Urban (TDU)

First All American Dog To Earn AKC Tracking Title

Optional Titling Tracking Test
Tracking Dog Urban
(effective January 1, 2014)

The fundamental features of the Tracking Dog Urban (TDU) test are the dog’s ability to follow a track laid by a person under a variety of scenting conditions in an urban environment and to find the articles dropped by that person.  This is an optional titling event.  Clubs are not required to offer this test and dogs are not required to earn the title to enter a TD, TDX or VST tracking test.

Section 1. Eligibility. The TDU is for dogs not less than six (6) months of age that are eligible for entry and that meet the requirements of the following Section 2.

A dog may continue to participate in this test after it has earned the titles TD, TDU, TDX or VST.  Dogs not holding any tracking title will be given priority for entry in the test by the tracking test secretary. A statement to this effect will appear in the premium list.

Section 2. Certification. A written statement must accompany each entry for a licensed or member tracking test for any dog that has not previously passed an AKC TD or TDU test. This statement must be dated within one year of the date the test is to be held, signed by a person approved to judge tracking tests, and must certify that the dog has satisfactorily performed a certification test.

The certification test will be of a complexity equivalent to the TDU test and will take place under conditions similar to such a test. A dog that does not satisfactorily complete the certification test in its entirety will not be certified.

A dog that fails a TDU test may not be re-certified by one of the judges based on its performance at that test, regardless of how close the dog came to passing.

It is permissible for a dog to be entered under the certifying judge.

Judges who wish to enter a TDU test are subject to the same requirements as other entrants. Judges will not provide certification to any dogs they own wholly or in part.

The certification statement signed by a provisional or approved tracking judge should be worded similarly to the following:

“I have observed the tracking performance of (registered name, AKC registration number, and breed) on a track of equivalent complexity and under conditions similar to a regulation AKC Tracking Dog Urban (TDU). I hereby certify that the dog performed the certification test in its entirety and is ready to participate in an AKC licensed or member TDU tracking test.”

1. Date of certification test;
2. Original signature of judge;
3. Judge’s typed or printed name;
4. Judge’s number.

The judge will provide four (4) certification statements based on the dog’s completion of one certification test. Should the dog fail at four (4) successive licensed or member tracking tests within the twelve (12)-month period, the dog must be recertified in order to be eligible to enter additional licensed or member club tracking tests.

The statements certifying the dog’s ability to follow a track must be originals. They cannot be used again, and they must be retained by the test-giving club with the entry forms.

In unusual circumstances, the AKC, through its Companion Events department, may issue tracking certifications based on statements provided by the handler concerning the dog’s tracking ability.

Section 3.  Tracking Dog Urban Title.  The AKC will issue a Tracking Dog Urban certificate and will permit use of the letters TDU after the name of each dog certified by two judges to have passed a licensed or member club TDU test or any combined test that offers the TDU test.

As soon as a dog has been certified by the judges as passing a licensed or member TDU test, it may be entered in any licensed or member TDX or VST test for which the entries have not closed.

Section 4.  Track Requirements.   The following are the restrictions and minimum requirements for a TDU track:

  1. The track must be at least 400 yards and not more than 500 yards in length.
  2. The first turn must be at least 30 yards from the second flag.
  3. The length of each of the legs thereafter must be at least 50 yards.
  4. The track will have a minimum of two (2) different surfaces, vegetated and non-vegetated. At least 10% but not more than 30% of the total length of the track will be plotted on non-vegetated surfaces. A track may be plotted on paved sidewalks, lightly traveled roads, baseball diamonds, parking lots and other non-vegetated surfaces. The track may cross areas devoid of vegetation as many times as necessary to fulfill the non-vegetated requirements. The start, and first turn must be plotted on a vegetated surface.
  5. The scent on the track must be not less than thirty (30) minutes or more than two (2) hours old.
  6. A total of three (3) to five (5) turns must be used and will include both left and right 90-degree angle turns.
  7. At least two (2) of the turns must be 90-degree turns, and preferably more than two (2) such turns. Tracks having a total of three (3) turns are required to have three (3) 90-degree turns.  No acute angle turns are to be used.
  8. At least two (2) of the 90-degree turns will be well out in the open.
  9. No turns will be plotted on non-vegetated surfaces.
  10. No part of the track may be within 50 yards of any other part of the same track or any other track.
  11. A track will not cross a body of water that would be considered an obstacle in TDX. No cross-tracks will be used. There will be no physical obstacles, barriers, or obstructions such as those used on a TDX track. Stair steps are not considered to be an obstacle.
  12. Tracks may be laid in the vicinity of buildings and other structures such as fences, breezeways, ramps, stairs, bridges, shelters, roofed parking garages, courtyards, and buildings with two or more openings.  Tracks will be as equal in complexity as possible in this regard. 

Section 5. Start. The start will have a flag at the beginning and a second flag 30 yards from the first flag indicating the direction of the first leg.

The tracklayer will begin at least ten (10) yards from the starting flag, lining up with the starting flag and the second flag. The tracklayer will proceed along this line ensuring there is no turn at the starting flag. While walking this line, the tracklayer will pause momentarily at the first flag, drop the start article, then continue walking the track in the manner specified in Chapter 2, Section 10.

The start article will be fabric or leather and must be the approximate size of a glove or wallet. The handler may pick up the article at the starting flag and use it to give scent to the dog while on the track.

The test begins when the dog leaves the first flag. The initial 30 yards between the flags is part of the track; all requirements for the track apply. In this portion of the track, the handler may restrain the dog, but any leading or guiding of the dog constitutes grounds for calling the handler off the track and failing the dog. Provided the dog has not passed the second flag, the handler may request permission from the judges for a restart. If approved by the judges, the handler may restart the dog, either from their present location or after returning to the starting flag. Only one restart is permitted.

The handler may work no closer than 10 feet from the dog.

Section 6. Articles for a Tracking Dog Urban Test.  The criteria for articles as contained in Chapter 2, Section 6, apply.  The TDU test articles will consist of three (3) personal, dissimilar fabric or leather articles and will be the size of a glove or wallet. The second article will be dropped at least 30 yards from a turn approximately midway of the total length of the track as designated by the judges. The third article will be a glove or wallet and will be dropped at the end of the track.

Provided the dog has worked continuously and intently along the actual track, if an article is not found and cannot be located by the judges or tracklayer, the dog will be given credit for the article.

Section 7.  General Requirements.

  1. A TDU site totally or partially covered in snow does not meet the criteria of two (2) different surfaces and can not be used.
  2. A TDU site must allow tracks to be plotted in such a manner as to be unpredictable from track to track and test to test.
  3. Plotting an alternate track is not required.
  4. The same tracklayer may not be used on contiguous tracks.
  5. A tracklayer may cross an adjacent track in order to exit the area on test day provided the track being crossed was not laid by the track layer or a member of the track layer’s household.