ABC Trailing Trial Event Standard
The purpose of a trailing trial is to certify the bloodhound abilities for trailing, scent discrimination and correctly identifying a specific person in a field setting. When participating in a trailing trial, the bloodhound should show willingness and aptitude for the exercise, and the handler should demonstrate competence and naturalness in handling the bloodhound. To earn a qualifying score, the field performances of both bloodhound and handler, as demonstrated in a trailing trial event, must conform to the trailing trial regulations and standards described in this document.
Three levels of certification, each with its own abbreviated title, are described in this standard:
- Mantrailer (MT);
- Mantrailer Intermediate (MTI); and
- Mantrailer Excellent (MTX)
Each title, as awarded, specifies the level of certification for which the bloodhound has qualified.
Levels of certification, as described in this standard, are for the sole purpose of titling a bloodhound in a sporting event and should not, in any manner, be considered a qualification for police or search and rescue work. All trailing trial participants should be guided by the principles and regulations of teamwork between handler and hound and by good sportsmanship.
Trailing Entry Form - PDF
Criteria for Passing Performance
- Successful completion of a trail requires that a dog find the correct runner at the end of the trail and that the handler indicates to the judge that the trail has ended.
- Prior to the start of testing, a judge will ask an exhibitor how the dog indicates a find (i.e. sitting, jumping up on the find, barking, etc.), ID must be consistent with the handler response. It is preferred but not required, that the dog make contact with the runner.
- Dogs are not required to follow the exact trail.
Criteria for Not Passing
Disqualifications and Failing Performance
- an exhibitors failure to report for the assigned trail within ten minutes of the scheduled starting time;
- an exhibitor leading, directing, or guiding of the dog; guiding is defined as behavior by the handler that influences or determines the dogs direction. Repeated restraint may also result in failure.
- a harness must be used and a lead of sufficient length for handler to remain behind the hound at all times during the trail
- handlers are not permitted to work their dogs off-lead while running trails. If entanglement occurs, the lead may be dropped briefly and unsnapped if necessary, but must be retrieved and re-attached as soon as possible. In cases of entanglement, the dog must be under control and in close proximity of the handler.
- a dog menacing, attacking, snapping, growling, lunging, or attempting to bite or attack any exhibitor, judge, event staff, or spectator;
- a dog that appears injured or lame or a dog that becomes injured or lame during the trail; if in the opinion of the judges, the dog is in any distress due to the conditions, the trail may be stopped.
- the teams failure to correctly identify the runner
- there is a one hour time limit for completing the trail but, if the opinion of both judges, the dog is not working, the trail can be called and the team will fail. If, in the opinion of both judges, the team has passed the runner(s) and shows no indication of returning, the team will fail.
- only water will be allowed to be carried on the trail; toys, food or any other motivational items will cause a dog to fail
a. Trails may be restarted one time, whether by exhibitors request or judges direction. No more than one restart per trail is permitted. The team must return to the starting point for a restart. If, in the judges opinion, a dog is 180 degrees off the trail, judges may direct exhibitors to restart at the starting stake.
b. The scent article is the sole responsibility of the exhibitor. It may be carried by the exhibitor or left at the starting stake. Exhibitors may re-scent their dogs at any time along the trail at their discretion.
- The EECT will be judged by one ABC approved judge.
- The MT, MTI, and MTX will be judged by two ABC approved judges.
- Event Entry Certification Test (EECT) General Guidelines
- The EECT will consist of a trail that is approximately one-quarter mile (440 yards) long and at least one hour old and no more than 2 hours old.
- There is no expiration date on the EECT however, should the dog be unsuccessful after three attempts at the MT level, the dog shall have to be retested and be successful at the EECT level.
- EECT trails will have one runner, will follow a "natural wandering path" with no abrupt or about-turns, and no water crossings, will be located in an area with light vegetation, and will not be laid totally on a paved roadway. EECT trails should be roughly in the shape of a "J" using the terrain features as a guide. Runners are not to cross moderately heavy or heavily traveled roadways and should not include steep climbs or areas of poor footing in EECT trails.
Mantrailer Test General Guidelines
- The MT will consist of a trail that is approximately one-half mile (880 yards) long and no more than three-quarters mile (1320 yards) long. MT trails will be at least four hours old but no more than six hours old, follow a natural wandering path and will include one change of direction in the form of a turn or curve that is no less than 90 degrees.
- MT trails will have only one runner. The runner will stand or sit in plain sight and is not allowed to be partially or totally obscured by brush or debris.
Mantrailer Intermediate Test General Guidelines
- The MTI will consist of a trail that is approximately one-half mile (880 yards) long and no more than three-quarters mile (1320 yards) long. Trails will be run in an area of moderate contamination (school yard, parking area, etc.) that has moderate access during all phases of the test (laying and running of trails). MTI trails will be at least eight hours old but no more than eighteen hours old and will follow a "natural wandering path", including two changes of direction, one of which must be a turn of at least 90 degrees.
- MTI tests will have two runners. The cross runner will cross the trail. Both runners must be at the end of the trail before the dog is started. The runners will stand or sit in plain sight at the end of the trail and is not allowed to be obscured behind brush or debris. The crossing runner will be stationed at the end of the trail parallel to the primary runner and separated from the primary runner by approximately fifteen feet.
Section 1: Mantrailer Excellent Test General Guidelines
- The MTX will consist of a trail that is approximately one-half mile (880 yards) long and no more than three-quarters mile (1320 yards) long. Trails will be run in a heavily contaminated area (mall, school yard, public park, forest, industrial area or similar heavily used area) that has unlimited access and heavy traffic during all phases of the test (laying and running of trails). MTX trails will be at least twenty-four hours old but no more than thirty-six hours old and will follow a "natural wandering path" including two changes of direction, one of which must be a turn of at least 90 degrees. MTX trails will also include no more than three obstacles consisting of roads, a water crossing (water that can be walked through), a bridge, cross tracks, a contaminated area with another person in it, or a terrain change.
- MTX tests will have two runners. The two runners will walk parallel, split and return to the same trail prior to the end. Both runners must be at the end of the trail before the dog is started. The runners will stand or sit in plain sight at the end of the trail and is not allowed to be obscured behind brush or debris. The crossing runner will be stationed at the end of the trail parallel to the primary runner and separated from the primary runner by approximately fifteen feet.
Trailing Entry Form - PDF
Trailing Trial Event Standard Introduction including:
- ABC complete trailing rules & regs
- Chapter 1 - General Regulations for ABC-Sanctioned Trailing Trial Events
- Chapter 2 - Disciplinary Proceedings / Complaints, Protest, and Appeals
- Trailing Trial Application
- Trailing Trial Judge's Agreement
- Official Trailing Trial Entry Form
- Trailing Judges' and Judging Regulations
- Application to Judge Trailing Events
- Judging General Requirements Sign-Off
- Trailing Judging Observation & Mentoring Form