Tracking Judges

Tracking tests are judged by two judges working together for two days: Plotting Day and Test Day.   On Plotting Day the judges assess the tracking site’s terrain and cover and  design a series of individual regulation tracks within  the available space.    They draw field maps of these tracks and flag the starts, corners and article drops.   Tracklayers work with the judges,  drawing their own  field maps to  record  significant landmarks and field  markers.   The judges communicate continuously with each other and with the tracklayers.

After the test  tracks have been plotted, the judges redraw their field maps on official “charts” that  document each track for titling purposes.

On Test Day the tracklayers walk their tracks, pull out the corner and article drop flags, and drop articles as designated.   When  each dog/handler team runs a track, the judges follow the team and determine whether or not the team fulfills tracking test  requirements.  Tracking  tests are judged “pass/fail.”

Several skills are essential to Tracking judging, including the  ability to assess property,   thorough knowledge of tracking test regulations regarding plotting tracks and how tracking tests are organized and run, thorough knowledge of dogs’  tracking styles and of how track scent operates in different environments, drawing skills, and communication skills.   Tracking judges must be physically fit and  be able to work congenially with other people.  They must think clearly, quickly  and creatively, and respond decisively to solve  problems  that come up “on the spot.”

Qualifying to judge Tracking requires  many years of experience in the sport:  training and titling tracking dogs and volunteering  in all capacities required  to put on tracking tests.   Judging approval  also requires apprenticeship with an  approved Tracking judge.    ASCA’s requirements for  Tracking judging approval  are included in the  “Tracking Rules and Regulations,” Appendices A, B, and C, followed by a 5-page Tracking Judge Application Form.   Judges who already have been  approved by other canine titling organizations  may be “grandfathered into “ the ASCA approved list.