Tracking Tests


Introduction to Evaluations and Tests


The UBT has developed a Training and Evaluation Program for both informal and formal assessment of a tracking team’s skill level.

As we train and work with our dogs, we are constantly evaluating our own performances. Because handlers usually work alone with their dogs, it can be difficult for a handler to know how a dog is progressing in its training or what its level of expertise is. The difficulty of a track can vary depending on the age of the track, distance and amount of blood used. The three levels of evaluation – Aptitude Assessment, UBT –I, UBT – II – provide a standardized guide for assessing progress. As you train your dog and compare its work to the three evaluation levels, you and your dog will become a tracking team.

As you read the guidelines for the Program, this clarification might be helpful. The guidelines use both the terms “judge” and “evaluator”. The Program is intended primarily to help you train and evaluate your dog on your own – not at events. An “evaluator” is simply someone you would choose to give honest feedback on the performance of your dog based on the Program guidelines. When an evaluator or a judge lays your trail for you, it can help prepare you for the real thing – following a wounded deer track when you don’t know where the track goes. In certain cases, such as certification to track on public land in Illinois and receiving the UBT Certificate of Usefulness, the assessments must be conducted by someone the UBT has approved as a “judge”. These assessments are conducted using the same guidelines, and may be conducted at a UBT event, or scheduled with a judge at another time. Both the “evaluator” and “judge” should answer the same question for you: “Would you recommend me to your family or friends if they needed help in finding a wounded deer?”

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The UBT has developed a competitive test with European-style scoring which awards ‘prize’ levels. Testing provides verification of proficiency by the dog, and gives the handler validation for their training efforts. While doing well at a test may be rewarding, UBT purposefully does not focus on testing or titles, believing instead that finding wounded game is the ultimate success.

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Judging Program