Schutzhund Tracking Rules

1. Suitable Terrain for Tracking: Meadow grass, plowed fields and forest soil: All natural terrains. Sight-tracking is to be avoided as much as possible.

2. Tracking Articles: Within any one track, articles different from each other must be used. Their color may not stand out considerably from that of the terrain, and their size may not exceed that of a wallet (billfold). Materials: Leather, vinyl, fabric, wood. In SchH 2, 3 and FH the articles are to be given to the track layer(s) far enough in advance so that the track layer(s) can carry the articles on their bodies for at least 30 minutes before laying the tracks, In SchH 1, the handler uses his/her own articles. Attention should be paid to see that these articles are likewise well-scented.


Before laying the SchH 1 track, the handler must show the articles to the judge. Only the previously described "common-use/household" articles are to be used. The trial judge is responsible for determining the layout of the tracks, and for the instruction of the track layer(s).The handlers may not be present during the laying of the tracks for SchH 2, 3 and FH. During the laying of the SchH 1 track the dog must remain out of sight.

1. The Starting-Place: The starting-place is to be marked with a signpost (tracking stake with number mark). It is to be placed in the ground directly to the left of the starting-point, and must remain there throughout the tracking work. The track layer remains for awhile on the starting-place, and light stepping about on it is permitted. The track layer then proceeds at a normal pace in the direction prescribed by the judge. Scraping of feet or interruption in pace is not permitted. After laying the last article, the track layer must proceed a few paces further straight ahead.

2. The Legs of the Track: The number of track-legs is prescribed in the relevant Trial Level section of the Trial Rules.

3. The Corners: The corners (about 90) are likewise to be made at a normal pace, during which attention must be paid to make sure that it is possible for the dog to continue tracking directly into the next leg of the track. The continuity of the track is not to be destroyed/disrupted by the making of the corners. Heavy stomping of the corners is not allowed.

4. The Placing of the Articles: The articles are to be laid on the track, while the track layer is in motion. After laying the last article at the end of the track, the track layer must proceed straight ahead a few paces further., SchH 1: Article #1 is laid in the middle of either the first or the second leg (handler's choice as to which leg); article #2 at the end of the track. SchH 2: Article #1 is laid in the middle of the second leg; article #2 at the end of the track. SchH 3: Article #1 is laid at least 100 paces out (and possibly on the second leg); article #2 at approximately middle of second or third leg of track; article #3 at end of track. FH 1: Article #1 is laid at least 250 paces out (on 1 st or 2nd leg); articles #2 and #3 are laid on the judge's signal;
article #4 at end of the track. FH 2: The placement of article is determined by the judge.


The following handling options are permitted in the working out of the track: a) Collar b) Tracking harness c) Free tracking
a) The collar: The collar may not be used on the choke-ring. The lead (attached to the collar) may be placed over the dog's back, along the side of the dog, or between the fore-legs and/or the hindlegs.

b) The tracking harness The following types of tracking harness are permitted: The breastharness, and the Bottger-tracking harness. The tracking line is to be attached to the tracking harness by means of the device (ring, etc.) on the harness that is provided for that purpose, without attaching the line to the collar (except in the case of a 136ttger-harness). If a Bottger harness is used, the judge must ensure that the bodystrap is not fastened in the area of the dog's sensitive (private) parts. The use of additional straps is not permitted. The tracking line must be at least ten meters long. Examination of the line length, the collar and the harness by the judge may take place before the beginning of the trial. Retractable lines are not permiffed.

c) Free tracking The distance of at least 10 meters between handler and dog must be maintained.

D: WORKING OUT OF THE TRACK/EVALUATION OF THE TRACKING WORK: After the tracks are laid for SchH 2, 3 and FH, the judge or the trial chairperson will have the handlers draw for their starting positions. Each handler will report in, in the basic position, with his/her dog ready for tracking, on the laid-out tracking line. The handler will inform the judge whether the dog will indicate or pick up the articles.

The Start: The dog is to be brought calmly to the starting point; any forceful influence is to be avoided here. The setting of the dog onto the track, at the start and after finding the articles, must be done at the dog's location (not from a distance). A certain amount of play in the line must be available to the handler. The dog is to take the scent at the start calmly and intensively.

The taking of the scent must occur without help from the handler (except for the voice command "Such"/"Seek"). The start is not time-dependent. After successfully taking up the scent, the dog must proceed with tracking behavior appropriate to the working out of the track. After the 4th unsuccessful start at the beginning, the tracking work is to be terminated. Exception: The FH rules state that within the first 15 paces after the start, the dog may be restarted only once (subject to deduction of up to 4 points). Once the dog has taken up the scent and is following it, the handler must remain at the starting point until the dog has reached the end of the tracking line, or until the required distance of 10 meters is reached.

Earlier following of the dog is faulty. Re-starting of the dog further on in the course of the track is not permitted in any trial level. A restart consists of the handler taking the dog at heel, by the collar or on a shortened line, and again setting the dog onto the track. Tracking


The dog is to follow the course of the track evenly and intensively with a deep nose. Whether the dog tracks fast or slowly is not a factor in the scoring, so long as the track is worked out intensively, evenly and convincingly. The tracking line may sag, but this may not result in a substantial shortening of the distance between handler and dog. The line touching the ground is not faulty.


The corners are to be worked out closely and confidently. A dog's checking at the corner, to convince himself of the lay of the track, is not faulty so long as he does not leave the track. Close circling at the corner is definitely faulty. After working out the corner, the dog must continue tracking at his regular pace.

Indicating and Picking Up of Articles:

Indicating of articles must be done convincingly, in the direction of the track, and right before the article. Minor crookedness of position is not faulty, but sideways indicating of the article or strong turning around toward the handler is faulty. Articles which are indicated or picked up with strong handler-help are counted as not found. The indicating of articles may be done standing, sifting, lying down, or by alternating these positions.

Indicating and picking up is faulty.

If the dog picks up articles, he may then stand still, sit, or come to the handler. Moving forward with the picked-up article or picking it up while lying down is faulty. If the dog brings the article to the handler, the handler may not move toward the dog. As soon as the dog has found an article, he must immediately pick it up or indicate it convincingly, without influence from the handler. The handler must drop the line and immediately go to the dog. Found articles are to be shown to the judge by holding them in the hand and raising the arm up high.

The handler must position himself next to the dog while taking delivery of or lifting up of the article. The dog must remain calmly in the indicating or picking-up position until his handler, standing beside him, restarts him with a short line. If the dog indicates a false object or interrupts his tracking-work (i.e. by lying down, sitting or standing still), this is faulty and will cause point-deduction. If, on command from the handler, the dog continues to work at the 10-meter distance, only 2 points will be deducted, and it will not be counted as a false indication. If the handler goes to the dog, it will be counted as a false indication and penalized by a 4-point deduction.

Leaving the Track:

If the dog goes to leave the track and the handler restrains him from doing so, the judge will instruct the handler to follow the dog. The handler must obey this instruction. The tracking-work is to be terminated if the dog leaves the track by more than one line-length (or by more than 10 meters if the dog is free-tracking), or if the handler fails to obey the judge's instruction to follow the dog.

FH cross-track:

The dog may follow the cross-track for up to one line-length (with point loss). The tracking will be terminated if the dog leaves the track by more than one line-length (10 meters if free-tracking).

Wild Game:

If wild game appears during the tracking-work and the dog goes into hunting drive, the handler may give the "Platz" ("Down") command in an effort to bring the dog into obedience. On the judge's signal, the tracking-work will then continue. If this is unsuccessful, the tracking-work is to be terminated.


Occasional praise and giving of the command "Such" ("Seek") is permitted in all trial levels.


After completion of the tracking-work, the found articles are to be shown to the judge. It is not permitted to play with or feed the dog between the finding of the last article and the reporting-out procedure. Reporting-out must be done with the dog in the basic position. Scoring of Tracking Work: Faulty starting, aimless wandering, frequent circling on the corners, continuous encouragement, incorrect picking up or indicating, and dropping of articles will be penalized up to 4 points. Repeated starting, strong wandering, tracking with a predominantly high nose, hectic tracking, urinating/ defecating, mouse-catching etc. are penalized up to 8 points.

For articles not found, the prescribed article-points will not be given.