TR310: Intro to VST Tracking

Instructor: Lucy Newton

Course Details

In this class, the handler and dog will be introduced to the specific challenges of VST tracking. The goal of this class is to begin to prepare the dog for the AKC Variable Surface Tracking Test. This level of tracking requires a focused dog that can problem solve and figure out the puzzles that he encounters on the track. Challenges on the VST track can include turns, changes of cover, aging, distractions, contamination, hard surfaces and working around features that create unique scent dynamics. In addition to introducing the dog to hard surface tracking, we will look at the other challenges and begin to introduce the dog to each of those challenges. The level of difficulty of these challenges will depend on the experience level of the dog. We will discuss how to break down the track and how to work on each challenge of the VST track individually prior to putting it all together. 


Next session starts: August 1, 2017
Registration starts: July 22, 2017
Registration ends: August 15, 2017

Registration begins at 12pm PDT

Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited. If you are interested in bronze level, you can sign up any time during the registration period.

For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.


There are a great many variables that can influence the difficulty level of the VST track. Each dog has their own strength and weaknesses so the training essentially has to be very specific to each type of dog. Hard surface tracking tends to get all the attention in VST training and it does require the dog to develop the skill to successfully negotiate those areas. However there are many non hard surface areas on a variable surface track that can be challenging and a potenital source of difficulty. Through this course we will work on negotiating rough and then hard surfaces. We will also discuss developing a training plan for building up the dogs skill set so that they can negoatiate the other elements of the variable surface tracking test.

Prerequisites and Equipment

Prerequisite for gold spots for this class are at least TR101 and 102. The dog should also have some tracking experience (mileage beyond just the two classes) as well. Tracking 203, TR210 and NW150 are also suggested courses but not required. No prerequisites for silver or bronze students. If you are not sure if this class is suitable for your dog please don't hesitate to contact the instructor for more information.