TRAINING

Training and Development Days

These days are the means by which we hope to encourage more people to gain knowledge of how to train their dog to track wounded animals. Training is open to anyone with an interest in tracking dogs regardless of whether they wish to become involved with the UKDTR volunteer scheme or not.  See the News section for dates.

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Introduction Day

This day will cover:

  • Shot site (strike) scenario and why shot site inspection is so important to tracking

  • Breeds of dog and choosing a puppy

  • Training equipment

  • Principles of scent

  • Starting training, classroom and practical sessions on how to get started and maintain progress.

These days are ideal for those who are starting out in tracking or want to train a new dog the right way for tracking purposes.  Even if you have used dogs for tracking in the past but have not given them structured training, or had a chance to discuss training techniques with experienced handlers, you will find this day useful. Dogs are welcome and will usually get an opportunity to do a short track. 

Development Day

Before attending these days you are encouraged to attend an introduction day with us or one of the other organisations, and to have carried out a number of training, and if possible real, tracks on your own.  Attendance is a pre-requisite for anyone wishing to become part of UK Deer Track and Recovery as one of our volunteer tracking teams.

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The Development days will cover:

  • Shooter/tracker analysis of incident

  • Shot site inspection, scenarios and decision making

  • Tracks put down at different lengths of time and through different terrains to give the dog and handler more experience.

  • Help while working your dog on the trail; how to read your dog better and help with problems

  • Equipment needed when tracking live

  • Dispatching animals at the end of a track

  • Insurance, risk assessment and best practice.

  • Q and A session

Test Days

We regard test days equally as training/skills development days which is why our judges will always give feedback after a test.

Unfortunately we have to charge for training in order to cover costs, but will endeavour to keep prices as low as possible.

There will be a reduction of fee for those that complete both a successful 20 hour test and attend our development day in any order.

The prices of training and test days will be given on the News page along with future dates as soon as they are arranged.  

 

Deer tracking volunteer scheme:

Anybody wishing to apply to become a member of our volunteer tracking scheme must meet our standards.  Handler/dog teams that can produce evidence of a similar standard abroad will also be considered.

Prospective members should note that volunteering for the scheme is regarded as a recreational activity and that members should arrange their own insurance.  This can be done privately, but both BASC and BDS, NGO arrange suitable cover.   

Dog Breeds

Breeds of dog that most likely to reach UKDTR standards are pure bred

  • Labradors

  • Retrievers

  • All HPR breeds

  • All hounds

Other breeds and cross breeds will be accepted for testing and may track within the UKDTR volunteer scheme but UKDTR strongly advise against cross breeding and will not place advertisements for breeding or progeny from such dogs.

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Handler

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Preferably to have completed DSC 2 and have two or more years stalking experience. 

Handler and dog must pass the 20 hour tracking test or its recognised equivalent. 

A basic knowledge of different shot sites is essential to aid any tracking team to make a recovery. Shot site inspection and scenario training will be compulsory.

The handler will be encouraged to keep a confidential log of live (non-training) tracks followed, as part of their skills development.

Our volunteer teams will:

  • be trained/tested to make sure they meet our standards.

  • maintain a confidential log of live tracks followed as part of their skills development.

  • be motivated by finding the animal to end suffering or to locate the carcass and will NOT accept money for helping to track lost animals (other than motoring costs) and will be professional and discreet at all times. Handlers failing to act in this way will be removed from the volunteer list.

  • if available, operate on a call-out basis for individual wounded deer including animals injured as a result of deer vehicle collisions.

  • if available, be present for organised deer movement days or team shoots.

  • only track where permission for access has been given

  • not carry a firearm unless specifically requested to do so and only in legal circumstances

  • not use the tracking opportunity as a means to gain stalking rights on that land

  • arrange for their own insurance but cannot be held responsible for incidents which were not of their own making or while under direction from a third party.

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The UKDTR will from time to time arrange tracking events for members aimed at skills development.

Volunteer scheme membership is free.

Practical tracking Standards for dog and handler:

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Any breed or cross breed may be submitted for testing provided the dog is healthy and capable of the required physical exertion.


Tests are open to anyone. 

Three hour old tracking test: Most dogs should be able to pass this test by the age of 12 months.  Success at the 3 hour test is a good indicator that the dog, with further training, should be able to complete the 20 hr test and is a pre-requisite for that test.

At the beginning of any test track there will be a marked 20x20 meter square in which there will be a shot site (strike) from which the track will lead.

The test track will be laid using scent shoes with fresh (or fresh frozen and freshly thawed) deer hooves and using no more than 100ml of blood, from the same animal if possible.  Blood, hair, bone and hooves from any of the six kinds of deer in the U.K. can be used to make up the trail, but it is preferred that blood, hair and tissue from the herding species is used, and that only one species is used for individual trails. A “find” of skin, hoof or other fresh/fresh thawed deer part will be left at the end of the trail, which must be indicated by the dog in some way.

The track itself will be approximately 400 meters long with two turns of between 45 and 90 degrees at some point along its path.  It will be marked along the trail in such a way that only the judges will know its path.

On the way to the shot site area the handler must demonstrate that the dog will walk to heel on or off of a short lead. The shot site must be found by the handler themselves or using their dog.  Once the shot site is located the handler must describe to the judges what they think has happened and any course of action they may wish to take. Tracking may then begin.

The team will be given only one trail on any one day. There will be three chances to complete the trail if it is not completed in one go:

EITHER: The handler may elect to re-start the dog at any point along the trail if they consider that the trail has been lost. 

OR: The dog will be allowed to stray no more than 20 metres from the trail before the judge intervenes. At this stage the handler may re-start the dog at a point of their choosing.  

The total of elected or judge re-starts will be no more than 3.  

After 3 unsuccessful attempts, the judge will declare a non-completion, they will inform the handler but will still encourage them to try to complete the trail.  

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The handler must display a good standard of control over their dog without excessive use of voice. A fast pace is discouraged but will not be penalised. Short distractions by game or other uninjured deer scent are permitted provided the dog resumes the trail immediately. If a dog chases game or livestock and cannot be recalled at the first attempt, a non-completion will be called by the judge.

The judge(s) will make notes on the way round and discuss the trail with the handler at the end.

Twenty hour old tracking test:
 

Ideally this test should be passed before the dog is two years of age but for the time being older dogs can be submitted for testing.

A pass at the 3 hour test is a pre-requisite for this test and it is strongly recommended that handlers have practised the 20 hour routine with their dog before attempting it as a test. 

At some point on the test day but not whilst attempting the tracking test, handlers will be asked to show that the dog can remain stationary and quiet for at least 5 minutes with the handler at least 10metres away.

As with the three hour test, there will be a marked 20x20 meter square in which there will be a shot site (strike).

The test track will be laid no less than 20 hours before the test using scent shoes with fresh (or fresh frozen and freshly thawed) deer hooves. Blood, hair, bone and hooves from any of the six kinds of deer in the U.K. can be used to make up the trail, but it is preferred that blood, hair and tissue from the herding species is used, and that only one species is used for individual trails.  No more than 25ml blood will be used on the trail and there may be gaps of up to 25 metres with no blood at all used on the trail.  The trail will be approximately 800 meters long and have two 90 degree turns and a small back track (a trail that goes out at some point then stops and comes back along the same route) of approximately 10 metres.  A “find” of skin, hoof or other fresh/fresh thawed deer part will be left at the end of the trail, which must be indicated by the dog in some way but there is no requirement for the dog to “speak” at the find. The trail will be marked in such a way that only the judges know its path. 

On the way to the shot site area the handler must demonstrate that the dog will walk to heel on or off of a short lead. Before looking for the shot site, the dog must remain stationary at a distance while the handler searches for the shot site. If the handler cannot find the shot site, the dog may then be used.

Once the shot site is located the handler must describe to the judges what they think has happened and the best plan of action for a successful recovery. Tracking may then begin.

Under the direction of the judge and during the track, but before the wound couch, the dog must be made to stop by the handler on command, wait for at least 30 seconds, then resume the track.

There will be a wound couch at around 600 meters in which there may be blood, hair or bone, this must be pointed out.

The handler must display a good standard of control over their dog without excessive use of voice. The pace must not be so fast that it would be difficult for the handler to see blood or other signs. Short distractions by game or other uninjured deer scent are permitted provided the dog resumes the trail immediately. If a dog chases game or livestock a non-completion will be called by the judge.

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The team will be given only one trail on any one day. There will be two chances to complete the trail if it is not completed in one go:

EITHER: The handler may elect to re-start the dog at any point along the trail if they consider that the trail has been lost. 

OR: The dog will be allowed to stray no more than 20 metres from the trail before the judge intervenes. At this stage the handler may re-start the dog at a point of their choosing.  

The total of elected or judge re-starts will be no more than 2.  

After two unsuccessful attempts, the judge will declare a non-completion and must inform the handler. The judge(s) will make notes on the way round and discuss the trail with the handler at the end. 

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UKDTR - UK Deer Track & Recovery