IPO tracking is a test of the dog’s scent detection ability under a controlled environment. It assesses the dog’s ability to follow the scent in a precise manner and also tests mental and physical endurance. The judge is looking for precision on the track, rather than how fast the track is done.
The tracking phase (depending on the level) consists of the dog tracking the path of a person (300-600 paces) 20-60 minutes old with 2-4 turns and finding and indicating articles (2-3) dropped by the person on the track. The handler is at the end of a 33ft tracking line. Tracking surfaces vary from dirt to grass to mix types of vegetation.
TR titles (tracking) – are awarded to dogs that are only being tested for tracking, not all 3 phases in one trial.
IPO1 and TR1 tracks: laid by the handler with own articles. Track age – 20 minutes. Track length minimum 300 paces, 3 legs, 2 corners, 2 articles
IPO2 and TR2 tracks: laid by a tracklayer, using natural walking pace. Track is age – 30 minutes. Track length minimum 400 paces, 3 legs, 2 corners, 2 articles
IPO 3 and TR3 tracks: laid by a tracklayer, using naturals walking pace. Track age – 1 hour. Track length minimum 600 paces, 5 legs, 4 corners, 3 articles.
FH1- advanced tracking title. Track laid by tracklayer and a cross track is also laid 30 minutes after the finishing of the laying of the track. Track age – 3 hours. Track length minimum 1200 paces, 7 legs, 6 corners, 4 articles
FH2- superior tracking qualification. Track laid by tracklayer. Cross track laid 30 min prior to the start of the track. Track age – 3 hours. Track length minimum 1800 paces. 8 legs, 7 corners, including 30 degree and an arc corners, 7 articles
Before beginning the track, the dog must pass a temperament test to ensure the dog is not aggressive or shy.