What is the Difference Between Following and Tracking?


Dogs explore the area around them more differently than we do. Their most powerful part of the body is the nose, which can be 100,000 times more sensitive than people’s. Dogs will sniff for hours and follow an interesting scent if we let them. This is situation where the monitoring transforms into play. Monitoring is basically an assessment of a dog’s ability to smell. In the text below we will show you some interesting facts about tracking.

What is tracking?

Tracking can be defined as a special activity when dog activates his ability to follow a particular odour trail and his abilities can be fairly assessed. These events are usually fairly simple, without intentionally “masking” the odour trail.

Smell trail

All dogs competing in the monitoring must follow a carefully mapped, laid and marked trail set by the judges before the event itself. The trail is usually set by the judges. Judges can quickly determine if a dog is actually following a scent or is simply being led along a marked trail. When markings, ribbons, or signs are removed, judges should know exactly how many angles and objects are set.

On the day of the event, the tracker (usually a person) follows the marked trail and leaves a clear scent that dogs can follow. On the track, the judges will instruct them to leave clothing or things on which they have left their scent. Dogs are kept on a 9-meter leash, but the length can vary depending on the terrain.

There are different levels of difficulty, and different organizations have slightly different rules. However, the goal remains the same – the dog must find a clue. Imagine a scenario of a lost person. The dog has to follow a complicated trail of smell, and monitoring is an introduction to a very serious task – search and rescue.

Which dog breeds are capable to participate?

Many dog ​​owners are considering joining tracking events, but may not be sure if their dog can participate. It is true that different monitoring clubs have different rules. Some will allow the participation of purebred dogs only, and some will allow mixed breed and designer breeds. Keep in mind that certain breeds, such as bloodlines, have been selectively bred to improve their tracking ability. They have a natural advantage, and many mixed breeds just can’t keep up with them.


Tracking can be a fun activity for your dog. This will provide plenty of mental stimulation and the dog will be able to use his favourite sense. If you have a dog that likes to “sniff”, maybe it’s time to get him to follow around a bit.


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