Field Needs

Field Requirements for the TD Test Site:

The Tracking Dog (TD) test is a test of the dog’s basic tracking skills in uncomplicated terrain.  Each test track requires from  5 to 7 acres of open  fields . Examples include  wild grasslands, pastures, crop fields, and open  desert terrain.   The amount of space required depends on presence of  access avenues to and from the  tracks, e.g. location of roads, paths and fences surrounding or within the property.  

ASCA Tracking Regulations require each TD test track to  include:  a total  length of 440-500 yards , and   3-5 turns,  both left and right.  The legs  of the track must be  separated by at least 50 yards. Each  TD  track must be separated by at  least 75 yards from any other track.  Each track must be separated by 15 yards from any boundary.  TD test tracks do not include  “obstacles, ”  so plotting a TD track using  2 smaller fields separated entirely by a woods line or a fence would NOT be legal.

Field Requirements for TDU Test Site:

ASCA’s Tracking Dog Urban (TDU) test is similar to the TD test but is located in urban settings such as school or hospital campuses, and industrial parks.   Each track requires 4 -5 acres of open vegetation–   lawns  of mowed grass typically are used.

ASCA Tracking Regulations require  each TDU test track to  include:  a total length of 350 to 400 yards, and 3 to 4 turns, both left and right.  The legs of the track must be separated by at least 50 yards, though exceptions can be made.  The tracks may cross paths and narrow roads.  Each track must be separated by 75 yards from any other track.

Field Requirements for the TDX Test Site:

The Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) test is an advanced level field tracking test.   Each track is twice as long as a TD test track and includes scent work puzzles for the dog to work out: two sets of fresh cross-tracks, major changes of terrain and cover, and physical and scent work “obstacles” that require the dog to adjust to changing scenting conditions.  Each TDX track requires between  22-27 acres of  open land interspersed with “obstacles” like  woods, gullies, streams,  fences, rocky outcroppings, and road crossings.  Ease of access for tracklayers, cross-track  layers  and the locations  of obstacles will determine the total area needed for each track.

ASCA Tracking Regulations require  each  TDX test track to  include: a total  length of 800-1000 yards, and  5-7 turns both right and left.  Each leg of the track must be separated from every other leg by at least 50 years, and  each portion of the track must be  a minimum of 75 yards from any other track.  At least two obstacles must be plotted, and there will be two sets of cross-tracks.


1. Identify potential TD, TDU, and  TDX  test  sites  in your region  well in advance of your proposed test— a year ahead, if possible.   Ask a tracking judge to visit these  sites  to  determine the number of tracks, and levels of tracks,   each  site will accommodate .

2. Good and timely relations with the landowners or property managers  are critically important when  planning  each  of these tests.    Good introductions, descriptions of a tracking test, insurance coverage, signed waivers, exact time of use, invitation to the event, clean fields after the trial, thank you notes and thank you gifts, all help the landowner give approval.

3. Get land use permits  as soon as possible—  a year in advance is ideal.  Keep in touch with the  land manager, owner and/or farmer  during the year to monitor possible changes in land use that could affect the number of tracks.   If the property is ranch land, enquire about  farming activities that  may impact  your test— mowing, irrigating, grazing, fertilizing and new fencing  are examples.  For wild lands,  late snow, mud, changes in  hunting regulations changes are examples.

If the fields work out well, consider contracting for use of the fields for the following test at the end each event.

4.  When you have decided upon a test site and arranged to use it, select the two judges you plan to hire and contract with them for the event.   Provide these  judges with site maps,  and/or arrange for them to visit the proposed site, so they can verify that the site will accommodate the numbers and levels of tracks that you plan to offer in the premium list.

Maps for the judge’s must include:
a) Scale of distance indicated on the map;
b) locations of all buildings, fences, obstructions such as paved and unpaved roads, streams, rivers and wooded areas,
c) changes of elevations and contours.

If maps of the area are not submitted to the judges with adequate time for review before the sanctioning papers are mailed, the number of tracks posted in the premium of the test cannot be guaranteed.  If for unforeseen circumstances the fields must be changed after the premium is published, the judges for the test must be contacted to approve a field change.