One of the required elements of all tracking tests is that the dog find and indicate articles. Trainers of tracking dogs spend a lot of time making sure that their dogs are reliable at finding these items and either training for a specific response to the find or studying the dog’s behavior at articles so that they can identify article indication.
The Tracking Regulations state specific requirements for articles at each title level. It is important that judges present each exhibitor with a fair test of the dog’s ability to indicate articles. Providing the best article experience takes a bit of planning.
Know your regulations when it comes to approving articles.
All articles (for every test level) must be inconspicuous in color in comparison to the surroundings. The articles are not to be visible from a distance of 20 feet and must not be covered in an effort to conceal them. Brightly colored articles are prohibited, except for the start article.
Remember to approve two prospective start articles of the same material. If the start article disappears, the tracklayer can have the replacement start article readily available.
It is acceptable for the clubs to provide articles and/or for articles to be supplied by the tracklayer. In either case, judges should not feel pressured to approve articles that do not meet the requirements of the regulations. Please give your tracklayer instructions on how to effectively impregnate scent into the article. This is especially important when the item is new.
TD track articles:
Start article must be cloth and the size of a glove or wallet
End article must be a glove or wallet and can be cloth or leather
TDU track articles (dissimilar):
Start article must be cloth or leather and the size of a glove or wallet
Midpoint article must be cloth or leather and the size of a glove or wallet
End article must be a glove or wallet and can be fabric or leather
TDX track articles (dissimilar):
Start, 2nd & 3rd article must be personal to the tracklayer, the size of a glove or wallet
End article must be a glove or wallet
VST track articles (dissimilar, common, safely picked up by the dog):
Sized between a minimum of 2″ x 4″ and a maximum of 5″ x 5″
Weighing no more than 8 ounces and easily carried by the tracklayer
Four articles; leather, rigid or semi-rigid plastic, metal and fabric
Start article must be fabric or leather
End article must be temporarily marked with a number “4″