For owners


Tracking aims to showcase a dog's ability to locate people lost in either paddocks or bush landscapes.

All breeds of dogs can learn to track using their natural scenting instincts which is enjoyable and rewarding for them to use.

Tracking involves training a dog to follow a ground scent trail and find any discarded articles of clothing along the track. Dogs need to wear a tracking harness and be at the end of a minimum 10-metre lead, but length can be shortened if the terrain requires it.

There are two types of scents, ground, and body scents.

Ground scent: is the scent of the ground disturbance left where the tracklayer has come into contact with. It contains odours coming from the bruising and damaging of grass and foliage, the crushing of roots and the scent of soil bacteria and moulds, released where surfaces of soil soil has been broken by the tracklayer. As a track ages, the scent of the decay organisms working on the damaged roots and plants is present.

Body Scent: is a personal scent left by the tracklayer coming from normal body odour left in the air. The tracklayer may have also touched a scrub or grass leaving their scent on it. Scent can also come from particles of skin, hair, clothing, fluff, or shoe leather shed on the track.

A trained tracking dog is expected to smell an article belonging to a tracklayer and find the track, following it until it finds the end of the track.A dog must

also find and indicate any articles dropped along the track by its tracklayer.

Under present rules, in a tracking trial, the track may be from twenty minutes up to three hours old depending on the level being undertaken.

How long has Tracking been in Australia?

Tracking as a dog sport has been in Australia for over 40 years.

Tracking satisfies a dog's basic need of hunting and using their highly developed ability to follow scents.

What States/Territories is Tracking available in?

Tracking is available in all States and Territories, and it’s common for Tracking to be held mostly in winter, due to increased snake activity and heat during the warmer months of the year.

How many Tracking clubs are there in Australia?

Many obedience and tracking clubs teach tracking and some clubs also run tracking trials where dogs and handlers can enter to gain their Dogs Australia recognised tracking titles.

Why get into Tracking?

Tracking provides a great enjoyment for owners watching their dogs perform a very natural behaviour, observing just how powerful a dog’s sense of smell is. Tracking also provides both mental and physical stimulation for dogs.

More information

To find your local Tracking sport club please visit your local State website: