Recommended Books on Tracking

The following is a list of recommended training books for teaching tracking to your dogs.  All these books were recommended by persons who have personally used them and have put tracking titles on their dogs as well as by ones who are tracking instructors.  Many were recommended by multiple persons:

Tracking Dog: Theory and Methods by Glen R. Johnson

This book was originally published in 1975 and is still considered one of the best books on tracking. Folks in isolated locations with no one to help them teach their dogs to track have used this book to get the job done. The 179 pages deal with both TD and TDX training and contain a chapter devoted to problem solving. Although most dogs cannot hold up to the rigorous schedule Johnson sets up for his own dogs, almost any dog can be successful with a modified schedule.

Another person wrote:  “If you can only have one book on tracking, this is the one to buy.”

(I personally used this book, lived where there was usually no one to lay my tracks and was able to get tracking titles on various dogs.  What I did do was modify the schedule Glen Johnson advocates.  In addition, I attended a Tracking Seminar given by Mr. Johnson (who is now deceased) which was excellent.)

Go Find! Training Your Dog to Track by L. Wilson Davis

This is another oldie originally published in 1974. It contains a chapter on teaching the dog basic control exercises like sit, down, and heel. The obedience methods would likely not appeal to today’s trainers, but the tracking information is sound. This book focuses on TD work and only makes a few comments about advanced tracking.

Tracking From the Ground Up by Sandy Ganz and Susan Boyd

This is a very easy book, published in 1990, for almost anyone to use. A week by week lesson plan takes you through eight weeks of TD training. Food is used extensively. TDX training is also nicely discussed in this book. The diagrams and illustrations are very good.

Tracking Dog Excellent: a Handbook by Sandy Ganz and Susan Boyd

This book contains much of the material in the above book, but focuses solely on TDX work. Many diagrams and illustrations are the same ones used in the above book.

Try Tracking! The Puppy Tracking Primer by Carolyn A. Krause

Although suitable for adult dogs also, this book is geared toward puppies and, to no surprise, uses food extensively on the tracks. It is well written and easy to follow.

Enthusiastic Tracking-A Step by Step Training Handbook by William (Sil) Sanders

Literally, this is a step by step handbook published in 1998 (second edition) that prepares you to enter both the TD and the TDX test. The author also sells a set of index cards with all the field maps in the book printed out to carry into the field.  This is very unusual and useful.

Practical Tracking for Practically Anyone by Julie Hogan and Donna Thompson

Published in 1995, this book is easy to read and covers both TD and TDX training.

Mastering Variable Surface Tracking by Ed Presnall

Published in 2004, this is a comprehensive look at the components needed in VST training. It is accompanied by a workbook containing many detailed training tracks.

Making Scents of the Urban Jungle by Steve Ripley

A new expanded second edition of this book was just published in 2011. Like the Ed Presnall book, this one deals exclusively with training for the VST test. There are lots of good photographs used in the book and aerial views of tracks from Google Earth that make the tracks easy to understand.

Guidelines for Tracklayers by the Palo Alto Foothills Tracking Association.  The price is $2.00 payable to “PAFTA”; c/o Miriam Hillier, 4 Emerald Court, San Mateo, CA.  94403

AKC Tracking Regulations – Single copies of the AKC Tracking Regulations are available at no charge from The American Kennel Club, 5580 Centerview Drive, Raleigh, NC  27606, or check the AKC website

Internet Resources

Craig Green has tracking articles on the Basset Hound site: here 

Rosemary Janoch has tracking articles on the Buckeye Tracking Club site: here

Champion Trackers

The Champion Tracker title (CT) was created by AKC at the same time as they established the Variable Surface Tracker title (VST), on September 1, 1995. Any dog that can accomplish all three tracking titles, TD (or TDU), TDX, and VST, will be awarded the CT title. The very first Champion Tracker was a German Shepherd Dog (in 1995). The first Labrador Retriever to earn the title was CT Luckiamutes Jake, owned by Karla Curtis, on June 25, 2000. Since then, the following Labrador Retrievers have accomplished this difficult feat:

October 29, 2017              CT ISLAND PAWS DANCING WITH THE STARS CD RA TDU. cf

October 15, 2017              CT FEATHER DOWNS AMAZING BREATH OF HEAVEN TDU. bf

October 1, 2017                CT SOLAR. ym

June 24, 2017                   CT KATALYST’S OFF LIMITS RN. bf

June 11, 2016                    CT Baad Boy Bentley Of The Isle BN RN

May 1, 2016                      CT MACH3 Hirsch’s Gone With The Wind VCD2 RA MXC MJC XF

March 13, 2016                 CT Dutch Hollow’s True Blue, CC, SH, AWC

October 18, 2015              CT Rush Lake’s Chutes And Ladders CDX RE

October 11, 2015           CT Rush Lake’s Diggin That Dillon CGC

October 11, 2015           CT MACH Platte Valley’s I Think I Can VCD4 OM1 GN VER RE JH MXB MJS AXP AJP MXF T2B3

October 4, 2015             CT Kerrybrook’s X-tremeRide CD BN

September 13, 2015     VCCH MACH4 Lakebound’s Dancing Poet UDX15 OGM RE MH MXB2 MJS2 MXP5 MXPS MJP6 MJPS PAX2

June 21, 2015             CT Winroc Winsome Winifred CD BN RE

May 31, 2015               CT Willowrose Shillelagh JH CDX

November 9, 2014        CT Minsk Bquad of Deanfield TDI CGC

October 12, 2014           CT Rush Lake’s Licorice Snaps RA JH AX AXJ NF

October 5, 2014             CT Cabin Creek’s Perfect Trip

June 7, 2014                CT Capt’ Never Archibald Andrews

October 13, 2013           CT Madam Makita Machacha RN

October 13, 2013           CT Lickety Split River Otter CGC

April 28, 2013             FC AFC CT Broad Reach Devil Made Me Doit CD

April 7, 2013                 CT Rush Lake’s Yahtzee VCD2 UD RE JH NA NAJ AXP OF

March 13, 2013               CT Mellowrose Glad All Over CD GN RE JH CGC

March 7, 2013             CT Workmoor’s Hopeful Lucy BN RE JH AX AXJ OF

September 16, 2012     CT OTCH Sasser’s All that Jazz UDX5 OM6 RN

July 29, 2012                CT Tulgeywood’s Man In Black

November 6, 2011        CT Charlie Dunn RE

October 30, 2011           CT Cabincreek Hilde’s Busy Izzy VCD2 UDX OM1 RE

May 22, 2011               CT Lorken’s Chocolate Brisco MX MXJ RE

April 10, 2011             CT BLK Oak Rush Lake Licorice Twizzler, VCD2, MX, MXJ, OF, RE, OAP, OAJP

October 10, 2010           CT Rush Lake’s TicTac Toe!

August 1, 2010                CT Windrush Elegant Bear VCD1 RE NA NAJ OAP OJP

November 8, 2009        CT Lorken’s Twist of Fate VCD2 RN JH MX MXB MXJ MJS OF

October 11, 2009           CT Sorol’s National Treasure VCD1 RN MH OAP CGC

May 10, 2009               CT Black Forest Trouble’n Tahoe VCD3 JH MX MXB MXJ MJB MXF MFB XF

October 5, 2008             CT Camelot Dragon Play at Cabin Creek

May 20, 2007               CT Rush Lake Rice Crispy Treat JH, AX,AJX,RN, VCD1

April 22, 2007             CT Justes B Wasser Hexe VCD2 SH AXP AJP

October 29, 2006           OTCH CT Connemara Jasmine VCD1 UDX3 RE

April 2, 2006                 CT Winroc Just Dashing VCD3 RN JH MX MXJ

March 30, 2003               CT Sommit’s Peak O’Tea UD JH

April 21, 2001             CT CH Justes B Bocca Grande CD, JH

October 15, 2000           CT Diver’s Precious Coral

June 25, 2000             CT Luckiamutes Jake