Dogs have always been able to track their prey, and for centuries man has used dogs to his benefit and often for survival. Tracking events are a way to show your American foxhound's power at recognizing and following the disturbed vegetation scent or scent trail left by another animal or person. Tracking tests are a way to demonstrate or show the enjoyment and willingness of a dog doing the work it likes. This sport requires a great deal of stamina for both the handler and the dog along with tolerance of various weather conditions. Sport tracking events held today are strictly for the enjoyment of the dogs, handlers, competitors, and spectators. Any breed of dog has the potential to track, but some breeds such as sporting, working, and herding dogs tend to thrive at this. Dogs are individuals just like people and some have more desire or a stronger drive for sport tracking than some others.
To enter your American foxhound in hunting trials and events your dog must be able to track. Since all dogs know how to track from birth what you actually need to teach your foxhound is how to follow a designated scent. Most people just starting their dogs in tracking attend a course or seminar in this, and then do regular training alone or with one or two other tracking enthusiasts. Group training is not an option because of the large size area and time tracking takes so many people train alone or in a small group. Dogs should be at least twelve weeks old and had their last series of vaccines two weeks earlier before they start sport tracking. Otherwise, dogs of any age that have the drive and are physically healthy can start.
When beginning to train your American foxhound in foundation work, individual training is best because you must make and know where your own tracks are all the time. Once your foxhound understands and develops proficiency at this, someone else can lay the tracks for you. You will be amazed at how quickly your foxhound can differentiate breakage of vegetation to various scents. Training frequency for your dog working on foundation training is a half hour session a minimum of four to five times a week. As the tracks become aged and your foxhound progresses, half hour sessions two or three times weekly is normally sufficient but it also depends upon how quickly your dog is advancing. Once your foxhound consistently completes an American Kennel Club TD length track or he has clearly acquired a tracking command, then training once a week is normally sufficient. The only prerequisites for your American foxhound entering a tracking trial are that he must pass a Tracking Qualification Test and have registered with the American Kennel Club.