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Leerburg Articles Police K9 - Patrol Dogs RCMP Tracking Certification

RCMP Tracking Certification

rcmp tracking


1. Dog Handlers working with a Police Service Dog track people.

These sessions will prepare the student team to work human tracks during daylight hours and after dark in the rural, suburban and urban environments. Normally the student team will have limited knowledge of the task. The topic will be divided into two distinct sessions: the first, the classroom theory on tracking and the second, the actual field exercises. Classroom sessions should be divided into three, Level I, Level II and Level III.

The instructor should accentuate the fact that we are dealing mainly with untrained dogs, and as such, the student and the dog are going through a learning process.

During the practical field exercises, the students of the class will be acting as quarries for each other, and as such the instructor should instruct the students on the art of track laying.

Sessions on "Scent" from this C.T.S. must be given prior to these sessions on tracking.

The field exercises should be progressive conditioning to arrive at the objectives for each Level of proficiency. Caution should be exercised in progressing too fast and the instructor may find it beneficial to "return to the basics" in the field exercises to refresh the student team.

Prior to the field exercises in tracking, the dog must be fitted with a tracking harness. Correct fit of the harness is very important so as not to impede the breathing and locomotion of the dog. The instructor should display and explain the use of the equipment required in tracking.

Once the field exercises are started the Instructor must accompany the student team on tracks and make corrections on the spot. Throughout the training course, the Instructor will have the students carry articles on their person which will become "scent related" articles on the track. Once the articles have become contaminated by the dog picking them up, they should be discarded.

3. The instructor should introduce the students to "Role Play" during tracking exercises. The instructor should emphasize the various types of tracks and fully explain "cross tracks." Scent discrimination ability on the part of the dog must be explained.

The criterion must be explained by the instructor pertaining to rural tracking Level I, suburban tracking Level II and urban tracking Level III.

The instructor must accentuate and ensure that the students have an appreciation regarding the degrees of difficulty in tracking as well as the effect that the age of the track, environmental conditions and various distractions have on the results the dog may achieve.

Proper conditioning considering the time frame involved and the theory of progression must be explained by the instructor to the students. Particular emphasis must be placed by the instructor on the steps in teaching the dog to track. The dog should be conditioned to multi-quarry tracks.

"Reading" the dog takes time and experience. The instructor should accentuate the fact that the dog responds in a variety of ways and that the student must concentrate on the dog while tracking in order that he be able to interpret the actions of the dog.

Handling skills are to be developed throughout the course and the instructor must make corrections as soon as possible during training exercises. The instructor must explain what happens at the conclusion of the tracking exercise. This is where the positive reinforcement is made to the dog through praise or other enjoyable exercises such as "Criminal Apprehension."

Particular attention must be paid by the instructor to the common faults and corrections in tracking. Favourable/unfavourable factors should also be covered.

During Level III, the student teams will work as many simulated cases as possible to prepare them for actual field conditions. Progression should be within the capabilities of the team at the particular level bearing in mind the objectives for each level. objectives for any of the three levels may be met prior to the level break in number of days. The instructor should not hold a particular team back at this stage but should progress toward the objectives for the following level.

4. The instructor must display a great deal of enthusiasm in both classroom and field exercises in order to motivate and prepare the student teams for the evaluation of Levels I, II and III.

5. Lecture, developmental discussion and demonstration/ performance methods of instruction will be used and will cover:

(a) Police objectives in tracking:

arresting criminals
locating evidence
locating missing persons

(b) Equipment:

long line

(c) Scent related articles:

carried by the quarry

(d) Quarry role play

in the open
on the ground, in a building, up a tree etc.

(e) Type if tracks:

cross tracks
straight track
circle track
horse shoe track
back end track
road crossings
right angle turns

(f) Scent discrimination:

cross tracks
track related articles

6. (g) Level I, Level II, Level III:

rural - criteria
suburban - criteria
urban - criteria

(h) Degrees of difficulty:

age of track
type of terrain
environmental conditions

(i) Distractions:

animals and animal scent

(j) Conditioning:

time frame

(k) Steps in teaching the dog to track:

master tracks - motivation
command word "SOO"
known tracks - marked
unknown tracks - unmarked
communication - man to dog, dog to man

(l) Reading the dog:

interpreting actions of the dog
(m) Handling skills:
line work
communication - man to dog

(n) Completion of the track

role play by quarry
article at the end of the track

3. (o) Common faults and corrections:

low interest - dog
overshoots corners
dog distracted
the over-cautious handler
excessive talking to the dog
poor equipment (fit of harness)

(p) Favourable and/or unfavourable factors

temperatures (cold, moderate, hot)
handler enthusiasm - frame of mind
fatigue - master and/or dog
age of track and distance
type of terrain

(q) Simulations:

thinking operationally
exposure to simulated case situations
preparation for court
completion of forms C-227B, 1951 & 1952
types of simulations
call out
multi-profile exercises
no tangible results
provided valuable assistance
achieved intended objectives


Complete in 50 minutes a 2 KM unknown and unmarked track, approximately 45 minutes old, (depending on weather conditions), laid by one quarry in rural environment over a variety of terrain. The track will include a minimum of:


Complete in 30 minutes and unknown, unmarked track, 6 blocks long and 20 minutes old, (depending on weather conditions), laid by one quarry in a suburban environment. The track will include a minimum of:


In daylight or darkness, complete in 30 minutes a six block unknown, unmarked track, 10-15 minutes old, (depending on weather conditions), laid by one quarry in an urban environment. The track will include:

5. Cross References:

Criminal Apprehension

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