The Companion Events Department is happy to announce the return of Carol Ruthenberg as an Independent Contracted Representative for Tracking. Those who know Carol, know that she has been involved with tracking for over 30 years and started judging in 1986. She is a long-time dog fancier, dedicated local and national club member, and brings a wealth of knowledge back to this position with AKC. As an independent contractor Carol will be able to continue to enjoy her role as a judge and exhibitor, while assisting the department’s Tracking program, judges and clubs. You may reach her at Carol.Ruthenberg.Contractor@akc.org.
Welcome to the AKC Tracking Judge’s Blog!
Wikipedia: A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).
We are replacing our traditional way to communicate with you, with a blog, instead of through direct emailed newsletters. Soon we will be posting topics of interest via the use of an AKC Tracking Judge’s blog. In doing so, we will be able to provide more timely information and take full advantage of the blog’s Search and Category functions. This will make it easier for you to quickly research and access past information.
All Tracking Judges should sign up within the blog to receive the automated communications each time something new is posted. This will be the only form of mass communication to you other than through the Tracking Regulations. If you misplace the link you will be able to locate it on the AKC website on the Tracking webpage; listed under “Judges Newsletter” in the Judging Resources section.
Our goal is to keep you as up to date as possible and give you the tools you need to be the best AKC Tracking Judge you can be. We can’t do it without you!
Pamela Manaton, Director of Obedience, Rally & Tracking
Diane Schultz, AKC Sr. Field Representative
Blogs are organized top to bottom, therefore the latest information posted may always be found easily. In addition, blogs are Archived by Date – by scrolling down the web page you’ll find links for each Month/Year that topics have been posted.
If you wish to continue maintaining a paper copy simply scroll to Archives, click on the Month/Year of choice, then click “File”, “Print” from within your browser.
Looking for that write-up from 6 months ago? Click on a Category link, listed on the right, and all blogs “tagged” with that category will be displayed. If none of those bullet items match what you are looking for, type in Search word(s) in the red box at the top right and press Enter. All blogs containing your search will be shown.
Finally, there are a number of buttons listed along the top of the web page, containing information we thought helpful to have available “at hand”. Let us know if there are other documents/links that would be useful.
At the April 2022 AKC Board meeting, the following item was approved:
Tracking Tests Closing dates update – effective July 1, 2022.
If a tracking test is announced in a show or trial premium list, the show or trial closing date will apply to tracking entries; otherwise, the closing date for tracking test entries will be at least seven (7) days prior to the tracking test.
The American Kennel Club (AKC ®), today announced leadership changes in the Companion Events Department.
Pamela Manaton, Director of Obedience, Rally and Tracking has announced her retirement effective March 1, 2022 after 22 years with the AKC Companion Events Department. Senior Field Representative, Diane Shultz, has been promoted to the Director of Obedience, Rally and Tracking position. Additionally, Bob Withers has been hired as a Field Representative for Obedience and Rally, and Carol Ruthenberg has been hired as a Field Representative for Tracking.
For the past 11 years, Pamela has served as the Director for Obedience, Rally and Tracking. She has been responsible for the day-to-day management of the sports and has initiated enhancements for their long-term benefit. Since becoming Director, she has served as the chair for 34 National events. Pam has taken a personal interest in promoting the involvement of Juniors in Companion Events.
“Pam has been an integral part of the Companion Events Department for over two decades. Her contributions will be of lasting value to the sports. She has been a pleasure to work with and we all wish her the best in her retirement,” said Doug Ljungren, Executive VP for Sports & Events. “We are very fortunate to have someone with Diane’s experience and knowledge who is prepared to take on the role of Director. Diane will be working closely with existing field representative Mary Higdem, Bob, Carol, and the hard-working office staff. We are confident these sports are in good hands.”
Diane Schultz has been with the Companion Events Department since 2005. Prior to joining the AKC, she was an active exhibitor in obedience, conformation, tracking and herding events. Diane has served as a trial chair, national club officer and a judge in obedience, rally and tracking. She clearly brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new position. Diane can be reached at Diane.Schultz@akc.org.
Bob Withers has been hired as an Obedience/Rally Field Representative. Bob is an active exhibitor in both obedience and rally and a dog training instructor. He has judged both the Obedience and Rally Nationals and served as an expert commentator on AKC TV for these events. Bob is an avid supporter of Juniors, having judged the AKC Juniors Classic and volunteered his time to assist 4-H and FFA clubs with their dog sport events. Bob will officially start as a field rep on March 1st.
Carol Ruthenberg has been hired as the Field Representative for Tracking. She brings a lifetime of knowledge and passion for the sport. She has been a tracking judge since 1993. Carol believes that tracking captures the comradery that is inherent in dog activities and she looks forward to supporting the sport. She can be reached at Carol.Ruthenberg.Contractor@akc.org.
At their October 2021 meeting the AKC Board voted on the following Regulations:
The Board voted to terminate the following Regulation modification at year-end:
Tracking – The modified 36-month tracking test certifications will return to a 24-month certification certificate, for all certifications issued on or after January 1, 2022. Certifications issued in 2020 and 2021 will continue to be valid for 36-months.
If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
The Companion Events Dept.
Remember, as stated below, the Tracking Judge Evaluation Form must be submitted by three judges, not three forms submitted by the same judge(s).
As a provisional Tracking Dog/Tracking Dog Urban or Tracking Dog Excellent judge, you must judge a minimum of six (6) tests with at least three (3) different judges, only one of which may be a spouse or immediately family. In addition, a satisfactory observation judging at the provisional level must be completed within two years of the request for regular status, or a minimum of three (3) of the judges you judge with must complete and submit a passing Tracking Judge Evaluation Form for Committee approval.
Applying ~ Apprenticing ~ Regular Status Requests ~ Tracking Judge Evaluation Forms
There are several required steps to becoming an AKC Tracking Judge. Please review all the material and links below. Once you have read the information, if you have additional questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To qualify as an applicant to judge TD/TDU or TDX Tests — you must have:
- TD/TDU – Personally owned, trained, and handled two (2) dogs that have been awarded an AKC Tracking Dog title (TD) and/or Tracking Dog Urban (TDU). TDX – Personally owned, trained, and handled a dog that has been awarded an AKC Tracking Dog Excellent title (TDX) and title at least one other dog to a Tracking Dog (TD) or Tracking Dog Urban (TDU) title.
- Have been active in the sport a minimum of six (6) consecutive years.
- Observed tracking judges in planning and plotting tracks by:
- Serving as a tracklayer for a minimum of ten (10) TD and or TDU tracks, or six (6) TDX tracks at AKC member or licensed tracking tests, whichever you are applying for. You must submit completed charts of at least two (2) tracks of which you served as a tracklayer.
- Apprentice twice under two (2) different sets of judges where at least one judge is an approved regular status judge. The apprentice assignments must be at two (2) different TD/TDU or TDX test, whichever you are applying for, and the judge may not be a member of the apprentice’s household or immediate family.
To qualify as an applicant to judge VST Tests — you must have:
- Must be approved to judge TDX or an approved regular status TD/TDU judge who has owned, trained, and handled a dog that has been awarded a VST title.
- Observed tracking judges in planning and plotting of VST tracks by:
- Serving as a tracklayer for a minimum of four (4) VST tracks at AKC member or licensed tracking tests. You must submit completed charts of at least two (2) tracks of which you served as a tracklayer.
- Apprentice twice under two (2) different sets of judges where at least one judge is an approved regular status judge. The apprentice assignments must be at two (2) different VST tests, and the judge may not be a member of the apprentice’s household or immediate family.
- Permission to apprentice must be obtained from the test giving club and both judges. Apprenticing is for prospective judges only and is to be done at the level they are eligible to apply for. Only one apprentice person will be allowed at each test. The apprentice must attend both the day of plotting and the day of the test, with a minimum of three tracks being plotted. You must submit copies of the plotted tracks and a copy of the apprentice document with the application. Tracking Apprentice Form
To Apply as a Provisional TD/TDU, TDX or VST Judge:
The application for each test level including Part I, may be found on this page and under Downloadable Forms near the bottom of the web page. Email the completed relevant application, required documentation, and Part I to email@example.com. If email is not an option, you may fax the documents to 919-816-4204 –
Attention Companion Events Department, or snail mail the documents to the Companion Events Department, PO Box 900068, Raleigh, NC 27675-9068 to begin the approval process. A passing score is required for Part I to proceed.
Part II Test Procedure for Provisional Approval:
All applicants are required to pass a written test consisting of multiple-choice questions, and the personal interview. The Companion Events Department will schedule the test and interview.
The completed test results are reviewed by an AKC Judge’s Approval Committee for final determination. Following review, applicants will receive written notification of the Committee’s action. If approved, the applicant’s name will be published on the Secretary’s Page of the first available online issue of the AKC GAZETTE as a Provisional judge. You may begin to accept judging assignments, for the approved provisional test level, once you receive written notification, or your name is published, whichever occurs first.
Applying for Regular Status Approval:
To apply for regular status approval for TD/TDU or TDX, the following minimum requirements to must be met:
- As a provisional Tracking Dog/Tracking Dog Urban or Tracking Dog Excellent judge, you must judge a minimum of six (6) tests with at least three (3) different judges, only one of which may be a spouse or immediately family. In addition, a satisfactory observation judging at the provisional level must be completed within two years of the request for regular status, or a minimum of three (3) of the judges you judge with must complete and submit a passing Tracking Judge Evaluation Form for Committee approval.
- As a provisional Variable Surface Tracking judge, you must judge a minimum of three (3) tests with at least three (3) different judges, only one of which may be a spouse or immediately family. In addition, a satisfactory observation judging at the provisional level must be completed within two years of the request for regular status, or a minimum of three (3) different judges you judged with, must complete and submit a passing Tracking Judge Evaluation Form for Committee approval.
Upon completion of the required number of assignments and observation or confirming with your co-judges that the evaluation form was submitted, the provisional judge must submit a request for regular status approval. The links to the forms may be found on this page and under Downloadable Forms near the bottom of the web page. Email the request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overview of Tracking Application Procedures:
- Complete the minimum requirements for the test level.
- Submit the application, required documents, and Part I of the Test.
- Once those are accepted and approved, schedule the test and interview.
- Complete the multiple-choice written test and interview.
- Receive written approval as a Provisional Judge before accepting assignments.
- Meet the minimum requirements to request approval for regular status and verify the evaluation forms were submitted by your co-judges.
- Submit a request for regular status.
Tracking Judge Evaluation:
The Tracking Judge Evaluation Form is for the Regular Status Judge to complete and submit after co-judging with a Provisional Judge. The form is easy to fill out and submit directly to us from a computer, tablet, or cell phone with a touch of a button. The information shared within the form is confidential.
The purpose of co-judge evaluations is for the Regular Status Judge to provide insights into the abilities demonstrated by the Provisional Judge. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
For a provisional judge to progress, a satisfactory observation, or a minimum of three (3) positive evaluations, by three different regular status judges, is required.
AKC National Tracking Invitational (NTI)
October 16-17, 2021
Branched Oak State Recreation Area
12000 W Branched Oak Rd, Raymond, NE 68428
Closing Date: September 17, 2021 at 6:00pm Central Time.
Draw Date: September 18, 2021 at 12:00pm Central Time via Facebook Live
NTI Facebook Group
The 9th AKC National Tracking Invitational (NTI) has been rescheduled and is set to begin on October 16, 2021. The 2021 AKC NTI Committee, made up of members of the Nebraska Kennel Club and the Cornhusker Kennel Club, continue to meet to discuss this prestigious AKC National Tracking Invitational.
A new website dedicated to the event is set up and available to keep everyone up to date on the information surrounding the event in addition to the information on the AKC website. The event dates are October 16-17, 2021 at the Branched Oak State Recreation Area near Raymond, Nebraska. The Committee is excited to host this event.
The AKC National Tracking Invitational is an “Invitation Only” showcase for handler and dog teams that have earned the coveted AKC Champion Tracker (CT) title. Since the event was delayed from being held in 2020, the eligibility criteria was extended for an additional year making the qualifying period January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2021. All dogs earning the Champion Tracker title during this period will receive an invitation to enter the 2021 event. There will be over 350 invitations sent out beginning on August 5, 2021, and only 12 dogs will be chosen by lot to participate at the two-day event. Only entries on the official NTI entry form will be accepted.
Two teams of judges will work with volunteers to plot and lay tracks for the dogs that will highlight their scenting ability.
The judges for the 2021 AKC National Tracking Invitational are:
Michele Anne Gillette of Hanover, VA
Jane Jonas of Fort Collins, CO
Vincent Ramirez of Bucyrus, KS
Gretchen Stephenson of Fayetteville, NC
IMPORTANT DEADLINE DATES
Entries Close: Friday, September 17, 2021 at 6:00 pm CDT
Draw for Entries: Saturday, September 18, 2021 at noon CDT
Catalog ads, Memorials and Track Contributors due Friday, September 24, 2021
Discount Rate for Hotel expires Saturday, September 25, 2021, NO EXCEPTIONS
Well Wishers and entrant biography and pictures due Wednesday, September 29, 2021
At this time, the seminar requirement to apply to judge tracking has been rescinded. As we work to keep the sport moving forward, we will provide additional information as it becomes available.
Here is a link to the AKC Tracking Suggested Best Practices information for holding AKC Tracking Tests.