AKC Educational Requirements Policy and Recommendations

Dear AKC Judge,

This communication is to inform you of action taken by the AKC Board of Directors at its April 2024 meeting.

As an additional step in creating a safe and respectful sport environment for all, the AKC Board of Directors approved the following educational requirements policy and recommendations. Effective immediately:

* AKC Board of Directors, Inspectors, Field Staff across all sports, AKC Registered Handlers, and additional AKC Staff that regularly attend events, will be required to successfully complete the Stewards of Children® training from the non-profit organization Darkness to Light once every three years.

* All current and future Junior Showmanship judges will be required to successfully complete the Stewards of Children® training. The initial course will be offered by AKC on a complimentary basis and must be refreshed every three (3) years. All current Junior Showmanship judges must fulfill this requirement in 2024.

* All current and future Club Junior Coordinators will be required to successfully complete the Stewards of Children® training. The initial course will be offered by AKC on a complimentary basis and must be refreshed every three (3) years.

* Junior participants and their parents will be recommended to take the following complimentary courses as applicable from SafeSport:

* SafeSport® for Youth Athletes (ages 13-17)

* SafeSport® for Kids (5-12)

* SafeSport® Parent’s Guide to Misconduct in Sports Core.

* All Superintendents, AKC approved Show Secretaries, and AKC approved Agility Trial Secretaries will be strongly advised to take the Stewards of Children® course.

* All current and future Judges across all sports are required to complete the Stewards of Children® training. The initial training will be provided on a complimentary basis by AKC. This requirement will be phased in.

Additional details will be communicated by the AKC to those impacted by this policy concerning fulfillment of this requirement.

Questions concerning this notice should be directed to the department which manages the sport one is approved to judge: tracking@akc.org.

Thank you,
The Companion Events Department Team

AKC Tracking Regulation Revisions

Tracking Tests – Recording Devices, and Protective Eye Goggles

At the July 2023 Board Meeting, the Board VOTED to modify the AKC Tracking Regulations, Chapter 2, Section 19 to state that:

1) That recording devices are not allowed on the tracking field and 2) That dogs may wear eye goggles, effective August 1, 2023.

Section 19. Praise, Play, and Items on the Track and Dog. Praise and petting of the dog are allowed after the dog finds the article(s). However, exhibitors will not excessively play with articles as toys, toss them to the dog, or throw them on the ground, which may be construed as a restart. Once the track is complete, playing with any of the articles is allowed.

   The only items permitted on the tracking field are those items considered by the judges to be essential to conducting the test and permitted by these Regulations. Judges will not allow any motivational items such as food, balls, or toys to be used or carried within 30 yards of a track. Judges will not allow any type of recording devices that film video, capture pictures and/or locations, to be carried by the handler or attached to the dog. The carrying or use of motivational items or recording devices will require the dog to be failed and excused from the field.                                                    

Dogs may wear a protective coat, eye goggles, and/or footwear. If worn, the coat, tracking harness, goggles and/or footwear must be put on in the presence of both judges.

As soon as a regulation insert is availalbe, it will be published.

Thanks,

The Companion Events Team

The Worker Option

AKC Tracking Regulations provide clubs an option to award certificates that can be used for an advantage in the drawing for entries at future club tracking events.  These are called Worker Option certificates.  Each club will decide on their own WO policies that will determine how volunteers can earn a WO certificate, if and when the WO certificate expires and if WO certificates will be given to judges.  A test worker cannot benefit from a Worker Option slot in a test in which they are working.

If a club decides to implement the Worker Option at a tracking test, the information and the number of tracks to be set aside must be published in the premium list.

The number of tracks that a club may set aside for past workers is determined by the total number of test tracks offered.  If a club is offering a combined test, then the tracks from all test types are added together.  For example, a 3 dog TD combined with a 3 dog TDX test would be considered 6 test tracks and would qualify to offer 2 WO slots.  Alternate tracks that might be available for running as a titling track are not considered as “test tracks offered”. 

Entries with Worker Option certificates are drawn before non-worker entries in each draw category (see lists below).  After the WO slots are filled, the remaining WO entries are added to the non-worker entries for the draw for the remaining tracks.  If the test is being given by a specialty club, then preference is given to the specialty breed before “other” breeds.  Non-titled dogs are always drawn before titled dogs.  A dog is considered “titled” if they have either a TD or TDU title in TD and TDU tests.

Happy Tracking!

Quick Reference Guide for Tracking

Both in training and in official test plotting, we are often asked to switch between creating tracks for TD, TDU, TDX and VST. Since each test type has it’s own requirements, it’s important that we don’t get the details confused in the field.

Here is a handy, one-page table comparing the requirements for each test. Please print it and carry it along in your clipboard compartment for easy reference.

Quick Reference Guide

Happy Tracking!

Tracking Test Closing Dates

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 ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP CHANGES IN COMPANION EVENTS DEPARTMENT

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.           

AKC Tracking Program Update

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.

COVID Provisions – Regulations for Tracking Due to Expire at Year-End

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 tracking@akc.org.

Sincerely,

The Companion Events Dept.

Tracking Judge Requirements

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 tracking@akc.org

To qualify as an applicant to judge TD/TDU or TDX Tests — you must have:

  1. 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.
  2. Have been active in the sport a minimum of six (6) consecutive years.
  3. Observed tracking judges in planning and plotting tracks by:
    1. 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.
    2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Observed tracking judges in planning and plotting of VST tracks by:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.

Apprentice Assignments:

  1. 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 tracking@akc.org. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 tracking@akc.org.

Overview of Tracking Application Procedures:

  1. Complete the minimum requirements for the test level.
  2. Submit the application, required documents, and Part I of the Test.
  3. Once those are accepted and approved, schedule the test and interview.
  4. Complete the multiple-choice written test and interview.
  5. Receive written approval as a Provisional Judge before accepting assignments.
  6. Meet the minimum requirements to request approval for regular status and verify the evaluation forms were submitted by your co-judges.
  7. 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 tracking@akc.org.

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 Tracking Judge’s Blog

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!

Sincerely,

Pamela Manaton, Director of Obedience, Rally & Tracking
Diane Schultz, AKC Sr. Field Representative

http://akctrackingjudges.akc.org/

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.

Enjoy!