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Tracking: News and Updates

Tracking: News and Updates

February 20, 2019

Tracking Regulation Changes – Effective 04-01-2019

Five Tracking Regulation changes were approved by the AKC Board of Directors at the February 8, 2019 meeting. These changes are meant to address issues and questions that have been raised by the tracking community regarding participation in the sport. None of the recommendations change the substance of the test. They are in summary:

  1. Allowing the Tracking Test secretary to enter the test
  2. Extending the Tracking Certification expiration date
  3. Adding to the Pool of Tracking Certification Judges
  4. Allow Dogs with Physical Challenges to Participate in Tracking
  5. Clarifying the Combined Test limits
  • Allow Test Secretaries to enter Tracking Tests – The current Regulations do not allow tracking test secretaries to enter their tests. This is inconsistent with other Companion and Performance Events. Obedience, Rally and Agility trial secretaries and most Performance Event secretaries are allowed to enter their events.

This change to the Regulations allows the host club to decide if they will permit their tracking test secretary to enter the event. There is a variation in the size and complexity of Tracking Tests and the clubs are in the best position to decide what is best for them. Tracking has a limited number of volunteers who serve in the role of test secretary. It is a hardship for volunteers who serve as test secretary to be ineligible to enter their local tests, and a hardship on the club to find knowledgeable people to serve in the test secretary position, when doing so precludes them from entering the test.

The current practice is for test secretaries to resign the position when entries are low to support their local club’s test. The new regulation stresses that the secretary’s priority must be the handling of official secretary duties in a timely manner. If participation in the test interferes with these duties, other arrangements for handling dogs must be made.

  • Extending the Tracking Certification Expiration Date – The Regulations require a written certification, signed by a provisional or approved tracking judge, 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 of the test they are entering and must certify that the dog has satisfactorily performed a certification test.

Since some areas of the country have a much shorter window of opportunity for their tracking seasons due to weather, foxtails, snakes, etc., some certificates expire prior to a dog gaining entry through the draw for a tracking test. This regulation change extends the expiration date to two years (24 months) to allow a handler a longer period of time to utilize the certificates before they expire; this would enable the certification to span more than one tracking season, and thereby not cause a hardship to participate.

  • Adding to the Pool of Tracking Certification Judges – During peak tracking seasons, many of the judges carry a heavy load of assignments. Their ability to accommodate requests for certification tracks can be challenging when they are away most prime weekends judging. This regulation change allows any person that has put a TDX or VST title on a dog within the past ten (10) years to perform certifications. Thereby adding to the pool of evaluators eligible to certify dogs for TD/TDU tests, which will increase the number of dogs eligible to participate in the sport. Clubs should accept the certifications signed by evaluators. Should the eligibility of an evaluator be questioned, it will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by AKC. Requests may be sent to Tracking@akc.org.
  • Allow Dogs with Physical Challenges to Participate in Tracking – The current Tracking Regulations definition of lame is “any irregularity of locomotion.” Therefore, amputees and dogs with other physical challenges are ineligible to participate. In other AKC sports, such as field trials, scent work, hunt tests, earthdog tests, herding tests/trials and Farm Dog Certified tests, physically challenged dogs (including amputees) are participating without any problems.

There is an inconsistency between sports that occurs due to how one defines lame. Tracking has used the conformation definition of lame – irregularity of locomotion. Lame in the other sports is defined as a dog is demonstrating discomfort when moving.

Tracking is more closely associated with the field sports, than it is conformation, and this regulation change is to allow dogs with physical challenges (including amputees) to be eligible to participate in AKC Tracking Tests, provided, in the opinion of the judge, they display no signs of physical discomfort and can safely complete the test. The new definition of lame is, “Lameness is defined as any derangement of normal movement, disabled or with impaired freedom of movement.”

  • Clarification of Combined Test Entry Limits: In the Tracking Regulations, limits for combined tests are addressed on how a club may exchange tracks between test levels based on the entries at closing. However, it needed to be clarified that the limits are for both original application limits, as well as for exchanges. To clarify the combined test limits, the following table was added to the end of Chapter 1, Section 19:

Combined Tests Entry Limits (may be less):

Up to 2 TD/TDU with up to 5 TDX or 5 VST entries

Up to 4 TD/TDU with up to 4 TDX or 4 VST entries

Up to 6 TD/TDU with up to 3 TDX or 3 VST entries

Up to 8 TD/TDU with up to 2 TDX or 2 VST entries

Up to 10 TD/TDU with up to 1 TDX or 1 VST entry

TDX tracks combined with VST tracks are limited to 6 entries

Adding the information above does not change the limits that a club may currently hold at their events, but rather clarifies the limitations. This matches the information found in the Tracking Test Manual and by adding it to the Regulations, it will help to clarify what is sometimes misunderstood.

Tracking Regulations Language:

CHAPTER 1 – General Regulations

Section 12. Dogs that May Not Compete. No dog less than six (6) months of age may participate in tracking events. No dog belonging wholly or in part to a judge, test secretary, test chair, chief tracklayer, superintendent, or any member of such a person’s household, may be entered in any tracking test at which such person officiates or is scheduled to officiate. Nor may they handle or act as agent for any dog entered at that tracking test.

If allowed by the host club, the tracking test secretary may enter dogs owned or co-owned by the secretary and may handle dogs in the tracking test. The secretary’s priority must be the handling of official secretary duties in a timely manner. If participation in the test interferes with these duties, other arrangements for handling dogs must be made.

The official veterinarians will not exhibit or act as agent or handle at the test, and dogs owned wholly or in part by them will not be eligible to be entered at the test.

No dog owned wholly or in part by a superintendent, any employee of that superintendent, or any person residing in the same household as any of the foregoing will be eligible to be entered at any test held 30 days before or after a test that the superintendent has been approved to service by the AKC. Nor may that person exhibit or act as an agent or handler.

For the purpose of this section, the employees of a superintendent include only those individuals who represent the superintendent or superintending organization at dog shows.

Section 13. Disqualification, Ineligibility, Excusal, and Change in Appearance of Dogs.(Paragraph 9)

Any dog that is lame at a tracking test may not compete. Lameness is defined as any derangement of normal movement, disabled or with impaired freedom of movement. The judge must determine, without a veterinarian’s opinion, whether a dog is lame. If the judge deems a dog lame, that judge will excuse the dog from competing and will mark the judge’s book “Excused-lame.” However, dogs with physical challenges (including amputees) disfigured as the result of an accident or injury, but otherwise qualified shall be eligible, provided the disfigurement does not interfere with functional movement and if in the opinion of the judge, the dog displays no signs of physical discomfort and can safely complete the test.

Section 17. Drawing for Entries and Alternates List. Entries for a tracking test will be accepted until the official closing date and time, even if the advertised test limit has been reached. A random drawing of all entries, to determine which dogs will participate in the test, will be held within 48 hours after the closing date and time. The drawing will be open to all interested persons. The test secretary will draw entries on the date, hour, and location specified in the premium list and ensure the draw is conducted in a random and impartial manner. In cases where the test secretary is entered in the test, the drawing for entries must be conducted by another member of the event committee. If the advertised limit is not reached, a drawing is optional. The results of the draw will be made available to the people present at the draw.

Section 19. Judging Assignments. Each dog must be judged by two judges. The maximum number of dogs two judges may test at a TD or TDU test in one day is twelve (12). The maximum number of dogs two judges may judge at a TDX test in one day is six (6). The maximum number of dogs two judges may judge at a VST test in one day is eight (8). When more than one test is offered on the same day, the following substitution factor will be in effect:

2 TDs = 1 TDX

2 TDUs = 1 TDX

2 TDs = 1 VST

2 TDUs = 1 VST

1 TDX = 1 VST

At any combined test(s), which may include VST, the maximum number of dogs two judges may test in one day will be equal to twelve (12) TDs, twelve (12) TDUs, or six (6) TDXs. The following are the limits for combined tests (may be less):

Up to 2 TD/TDU with up to 5 TDX or 5 VST entries.

Up to 4 TD/TDU with up to 4 TDX or 4 VST entries.

Up to 6 TD/TDU with up to 3 TDX or 3 VST entries.

Up to 8 TD/TDU with up to 2 TDX or 2 VST entries.

Up to 10 TD/TDU with up to 1 TDX or 1 VST entry.

TDX tracks combined with VST tracks are limited to 6 entries.

CHAPTER 2 – Regulations for Performance and Judging

Section 9. Drawing for Tracks. Prior to the draw for test day running order, the judges will be provided with the catalog number, breed, sex, and AKC number for each dog entered. To determine the order of running for each participant, the test secretary, with one or both of the judges present, will assemble the participants just prior to starting time for a drawing by lot of the assigned catalog numbers. In cases where the test secretary is entered in the test, the drawing for tracks must be conducted by another member of the event committee. Once the numbers have been drawn, they may not be exchanged, except under unusual circumstances and only with the judges’ approval. Any such exchanges must be fully reported in the judges’ books.

CHAPTER 3 – Tracking Dog Test

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 two years of the date the test is to be held, signed by either a person approved to judge tracking tests, or by a person/evaluator who has handled a dog to a TDX or VST title within the last ten (10) years, and must certify that the dog has satisfactorily performed a certification test.

The certification test will be of a complexity equivalent to the TD or 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 tracking 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 TD test are subject to the same requirements as other entrants. Judges/evaluators will not provide certification to any dogs they own wholly or in part.

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

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

  1. Date of certification test;
  2. Original signature of judge or evaluator;
  3. Judge’s/Evaluator’s typed or printed name;
  4. Judge’s number
  5. Evaluator’s address, Email & Phone No.

The judge/evaluator 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 twenty-four (24)-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.

CHAPTER 7 – Optional Titling Tracking Test – Tracking Dog Urban

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 two years of the date the test is to be held, signed by a person approved to judge tracking tests, or by a person/evaluator who has handled a dog to a TDX or VST title within the last ten (10) years and must certify that the dog has satisfactorily performed a certification test.

The certification test will be of a complexity equivalent to the TD or 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/evaluators will not provide certification to any dogs they own wholly or in part.

The certification statement signed by a provisional or approved tracking judge, or evaluator, 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 TD and/or TDU track. I hereby certify that the dog performed the certification test in its entirety and is ready to participate in an AKC licensed or member TD and/or TDU tracking test.”

  1. Date of certification test;
  2. Original signature of judge or evaluator;
  3. Judge’s or Evaluator’s typed or printed name;
  4. Judge’s number.
  5. Evaluator’s address, Email & Phone No.

The judge/evaluator 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 twenty-four (24)-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.

November 16, 2018

Rules Applying to Dog Shows definition of “Immediate Family” – Effective 12/1/2018

At the October 2018 AKC Board meeting, the Board of Directors approved a change to the language in the Rules Applying to Dog Shows for the definition of “Immediate Family” which becomes effective on December 1, 2018.

As a result of that change, at the November Board meeting, the AKC Board of Directors approved the same definition of immediate family in the Obedience Regulations, Rally Regulations, Tracking Regulations and Regulations for Agility Trials and Agility Course Test (ACT) to be consistent, as all four sports reference the definition of “Immediate Family” based on what is written in the Rules Applying to Dog Shows. This change to these Regulations becomes effective December 1, 2018.

Tracking Regulations – Chapter 1 will be amended as follows:

General Regulations
Section 9. Immediate Family. As used in these regulations, “immediate family” means one’s spouse, domestic partner, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, and sons-in-law; adopted, half, and step members are also included in immediate family.

 

The AKC Board of Directors passed a recommendation to create Tracking Lifetime Achievement titles to recognize the number of times a dog has passed an AKC Tracking test (e.g. TD5, VST3). The purpose is to provide recognition to participants who remain engaged with the sport and to recognize the accomplishments of dogs that continue to pass the requirements of a test level; and to assist clubs to fill their event limits. This change to allow title recognition for dogs that pass the same level test more than once, in no way changes how tracking test entries are to be managed and untitled dogs will always have priority for the draw in all tests as stated in the regulations as follows:

The Tracking Regulations specifically state in Chapter 1, Section 17. Drawing for Entries and Alternates List.
Entries for a tracking test will be accepted until the official closing date and time, even if the advertised test limit has been reached. A random drawing of all entries, to determine which dogs will participate in the test, will be held within 48 hours after the closing date and time. The drawing will be open to all interested persons. The test secretary will draw entries on the date, hour, and location specified in the premium list and ensure the draw is conducted in a random and impartial manner. If the advertised limit is not reached, a drawing is optional. The results of the draw will be made available to the people present at the draw.

The draw for tracks in each test TD, TDU, TDX, VST, shall be conducted with untitled dogs until the available tracks in each test has been filled with untitled dogs. When the advertised limit of entries has been drawn, all remaining entries will be drawn for positions on the alternates list with untitled dogs being drawn first followed by titled dog entries. Untitled dogs will have priority for the draw in all tests.

Revisions to the Tracking Regulations, effective August 1, 2018 are as follows:

NEW Chapter 9. Lifetime Achievement
Section 1. Tracking Lifetime Achievement Titles. To recognize consistency and longevity in AKC Tracking, the AKC will record Lifetime Achievement titles on a dog’s record to reflect the number of times a dog has passed that test level (TD, TDU, TDX, VST).

There is no limit to this achievement and owners may apply for title recognition as often as they like for any test level, at any time during their dog’s lifetime.

The lifetime Achievement recognition does not apply to the Champion Tracker title, only to the individual test levels.

Section 2. When to Apply. After a dog earns a tracking title at any level, if the dog passes at subsequent tracking tests at the same level, an owner my request a Lifetime Achievement title to be added to the dog’s record by applying for, and paying a fee.

Section 3. How to Apply. Owners may download the Tracking Lifetime Achievement Title Application from the AKC downloadable forms page on the website. When applying for the title, the test level must be stated on the application.

Once applied for by the owner, and verified on the dog’s individual record, a Tracking Lifetime Achievement title would be processed and AKC will permit the use of the title letters, followed by a numeric designation for the number of times the dog has passed at that test level. (For example, a dog with a TD title that has earned a total of four passing performances at TD tests, would qualify for a TD4 Lifetime Achievement title.)

Requests for recognition would be available back dated to January 1, 2000.

Once the title has been applied for and processed, the AKC will identify dogs qualifying for Lifetime Achievement titles by the appropriate title designations following their name in all official AKC records.

Section 4. Recognized Achievement. Future requests for additional title recognition at the same test level will have the numeric designation superseded by the highest numeric designation at the time of the application.

How to apply for the Lifetime Achievement recognition:
Soon the title application will be available on the AKC downloadable forms page. The application and processing fee of $20 may be submitted to the Companion Events Department at the discretion of the owner at any time during the dog’s lifetime. Passing performances will be grandfathered in back to January 1, 2000.