Tracking with your Border Collie

When most people think of tracking, they think back to those TV shows were they see a Police Dog or a Search & Rescue Dog with their nose to the ground, following the scent of a lost or wanted person. In actual fact, any dog can learn this skill without being an 'employed' tracker! The Border Collie Club of NSW Inc runs 2 Tracking Trials each year but occasionally they have been cancelled due to the lack of entries. While Border Collies are not a breed that comes to mind for Tracking, we generally think of German Shepherds or a hound breed, but all dogs can scent, and Border Collies are quick learners.

All breeds of dog can learn to track – it uses their natural scenting instincts which is enjoyable and rewarding. Tracking involves training a dog to follow a ground scent trail and find any discarded articles of clothing along the track. Dogs must wear a tracking harness, and must track at the end of a 10 metre lead, unless topography makes this difficult. Tracking in NSW is done mostly in winter, due to the risk of snakes and heat of summer. A number of Obedience and Tracking clubs teach tracking, in which a dog and handler may learn how to track. Some of these clubs also run tracking trials, where dogs and handlers can enter to gain their tracking titles. To be eligible for entry in Tracking Trials a dog must have passed the Preliminary Tracking qualification test.

As with all performance sports, Tracking can be both time consuming and rewarding at the same time.  To achieve a successful track, the dog has to follow an invisible trail, finding articles along the way, and then find a person, this is the ultimate reward.

Once your Border Collie has learnt to ‘track’, there are 2 Tracking titles that can be obtained, TSD (Track & Search Dog) and TSDX (Track & Search Dog Excellent).

To obtain a TSD title, a dog must have 3 passes on 3 different types of ‘tracks’ for an unknown person, with the passes being under at least two different judges.

To obtain a TSDX title, a dog must have 3 passes on 3 different types of ‘tracks’ for an unknown person, with the passes being under at least two different judges.  The tracks for TSDX are more complex than TSD, and include tracks in urban areas and night tracks.


Contact Details


President:                    Lauren Somers


Secretary:                    Ann Moy          


                                      (02) 6337 3393

Treasurer:                    Julia Lawrie    treasurer@bccnsw.com

Publicity Officer:         Ann Lenehan   publicity@bccnsw.com

Puppy Sales:               Ann Moy     puppysales@bccnsw.com

BC Rescue:                 Julie Gray  

                                      email: bcrescueaustralia@gmail.com 

                                      or check out www.bcra.org.au

                                      (02) 4267 1757