Houston Obedience Training Dog Club

Devoted to making dogs better companions and good canine citizens since 1964.

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You've noticed that every time your dog goes outside his nose is to the ground, following the trail left behind by someone or something crossing your yard. You've undoubtedly seen countless movies of dogs following the trail of an escapee through swamps or seen dogs on the evening news searching the woods for a lost child.

Well, your dog might not be ready for a job with the police department, but there must be something he can do! There is -- he can be trained to track.

The purpose of tracking is to demonstrate the dog's ability to recognize and follow human scent. It shows the willingness and enjoyment of the dog at its work.

With a little hard work and consistent training any purebred over the age of 6 months, can be entered in American Kennel Club Tracking events and earn AKC Tracking titles. This includes spayed females and neutered males. Additionally, mixed-breed dogs can earn equivalent tracking titles through the American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry (AMBOR).

Short or tall, all dogs are potential trackers. Tracking is a great outdoor activity for young, canine athletes as well as older dogs or retired show dogs. There are three levels designed to test a dog's ability to track.

Tracking Dog (TD) and Tracking Dog Urban (TDU) tests demonstrate a dog's ability to follow a track laid by a person under a variety of conditions on moderate terrain and find an article dropped at the end. A dog earns its TD or TDU by following a track laid by a human from 30 minutes to two hours before. The track is between 440 and 500 yards in length and has a total of three to five turns.

Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) tracks are three to five hours old and 800 to 1,000 yards long. The test is designed to show that the dog possess the stamina, perseverance and courage to track under a wide variety of conditions. The track has five to seven turns, and the dog must find four personal, dissimilar articles, about the size of a glove or wallet.

TDX test tracks have two sets of cross tracks, laid by two individuals, other than the original tracklayer, showing that the dog has the ability to discriminate scent.

In addition, the track has two obstacles to challenge the dog and handler by showing the dog's ability to adapt to changing scent conditions, the dogs ability to continue scenting while overcoming physical obstacles and the dogs ability to continue scenting under difficult and varied handling conditions.

Variable Surface Tracking (VST) tests demonstrate the dog's ability to discern and follow a specific scent given to them at the start of the test. VST tracks may lead a dog and his handler down a street, through a building or across other areas devoid of vegetation. The training and conditioning of the dog must be designed to develop the inner drive, motivation and determination necessary for the dog to work with intensity and tenacity.

A VST dog has demonstrated its ability to follow a three to five hour old track 600 to 800 yards over a minimum of three different surfaces including two areas devoid of vegetation such as concrete, asphalt, gravel, dirt or mulch. The dog must find four dissimilar, common, everyday items which can be easily carried by the tracklayer and safely picked up by the dog.

If a dog is able to earn all three tracking titles: TD or TDU, TDX and VST, it is issued a Champion Tracker certificate by the American Kennel Club and is permitted to use the letters, C.T. before its name.

Even if your dog never earns a tracking title, it is a wonderful way to get some exercise while spending the day with your dog and fellow enthusiasts who love to watch dogs use their natural talents!

Want to compete but don't know where to start?  Download this brochure Getting Started in AKC Companion Events which will introduce you to the AKC Sports of Obedience, Rally, Tracking and Agility. 

Or, visit the AKC's website for detailed information about AKC Tracking

A Beginner's Guide to Tracking

Southwest Tracking Association

Click here to see RESULTS from some of our Tracking Tests.


Check our CLASSES page for complete descriptions and pre-requisites for all our classes.

Then download a registration form and check our CLASS CALENDAR for start dates and times of upcoming classes.



Interested in renting our building or agility field for a training session, show 'n go, match, trial, test, workshop or seminar?
Check this RENTAL CALENDAR for available slots and details on how to make reservations.



Look here to find premium lists and flyers with more information about upcoming events. 

Look here and here for results and photos from some of our events.



Here's a map to our training facility, located in the Spring Branch area of Houston, north of I-10 and east of Beltway 8.

2400 Campbell Rd.,
Unit H
Houston, TX  77080 


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Last modified: 02.29.2020
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