Earthdog Levels

Introduction to Quarry

This test is a simple instinct test designed to introduce dogs to earthwork. It requires no training nor previous exposure to earthwork. No titles are earned and it is not a prerequisite for advanced tests.

The Intro tunnel consists of a 10 foot tunnel with one 90 degree turn. The entrance is readily visible. A 10 foot scent line leads to the tunnel entrance from the release point.

The dog must begin working quarry within 2 minutes from the time dog enters the earth and then work the quarry continuously for 30 seconds. This is the only test in which the Judge may attempt to interest the dog in the quarry by scratching or moving the quarry cage.

Junior Earthdog (JE)

The primary purpose of the Earthdog is to go to ground in pursuit of predatory quarry, either bolt or draw the quarry, or alert the hunter where to dig by holding and baying the quarry in one location. This test is designed to help evaluate these natural abili- ties. This class is open to all eligible dogs that have not qualified in a Senior or Master Earthdog test. To be awarded the JE title, a dog must qualify in the Junior Earthdog class at two tests under two different Judges.

The tunnel is 30 feet long with three 90 degree turns. The entrance is readily visible. A 10 foot scent line leads to the entrance from the release point.

The dog is released 10 feet from the den entrance and has 30 seconds to reach the quarry from the time the dog is released. The dog must stay with the quarry once it has been reached, but has 30 seconds to begin working. The dog must work the quarry continuously for 60 seconds. The Handler removes the dog by way of an opening at the quarry end.

Senior Earthdog (SE)

This test is designed to present the more experienced hunter with a more realistic den situation. In the wild, few natural earths are single tunnels: they are complex, multiple entrance designs. The dog must be able to not only locate the quarry within a complex earth but should also be willing to leave the earth if the quarry has bolted.

This class is open only to dogs that have acquired the Junior Earthdog title. To be awarded the SE title, a dog must qualify in the Senior Earthdog class at three tests under two different Judges.

The tunnel consists of a main tunnel with three 90 degree turns, 2 entrances and a false den. The main tunnel is 30 feet long from either entrance to the quarry. A 4 inch dirt mound providing a steep 45 degree entrance to the den camouflages the entrances to the den. The false den will be a side tunnel with no exit approximately 4 feet in length. The false den will have a heavily scented simulated litter/bedding area.

The dog is released from a point midway between both entrances and about 20 feet from either entrance. A scent line is laid in an arc joining both entrances so that the scent line passes about 5 feet in front of the release point. When released, the dog has 90 seconds to reach the quarry. The dog may enter either entrance and leave the den provided it has not reached the quarry. The dog must remain with quarry once it has been reached, but has 15 seconds to begin working. The dog must work quarry continuously for 90 seconds.

The Judge removes the quarry to a safe place and then instructs the Handler to recall the dog. The Handler may go to the den entrance and call and/or use a whistle (no bait, hides, noisemakers, or toys may be used.) The Handler is allowed to reach into the entrance to retrieve the dog. The Handler may leave the den entrance to retrieve the dog once the dog has left the den. The Handler must retrieve the dog within 90 seconds from the instruction to recall.

Master Earthdog (ME)

This test is designed to come as close as possible to a natural hunting situation. On a natural hunt, the dog is expected to demonstrate teamwork with its Handler by locating and indicating the presence of active dens. This includes entering the den on command, locating the quarry within a den with obstacles, and staying with the quarry until it bolts or is dug to. The dog should also demonstrate the willingness to work with another dog in the field and the ability to honour another dog’s work. This class is open only to dogs that have acquired the Senior Earthdog title. To be awarded the Master Earthdog title, a dog must qualify in the Master Earthdog class at four tests under two different Judges.

The Master Earthdog tunnel has 2 quarry ends and a false exit. The entrances are not readily visible and are initially blocked with removable obstructions. In addition there are 3 obstacles in the liner: an 18 inch section of the tunnel which constricts to a 6 inch passage horizontally; a 6 inch diameter section of PVC pipe suspended crossways in the tunnel with 9 inches on each side of the pipe’s centerline and a vertical constriction inside the roof of the tunnel that lowers the height of the liner to 7 inches. There is an unscented false den is located midway along the approach to the main tunnel entrance.

Dogs are worked two at a time in mixed sex braces. Dogs, Handlers and Judge proceed in the direction of the scent line from a release point 150 to 300 feet from the real den entrance, which is blocked and has a steward positioned nearby to deal with overly aggressive dogs. Dogs must reach the real entrance before the Judge. Dogs should investigate the false den but dogs barking at the false den cannot qualify. Dogs must clearly indicate the real den entrance and its intention to enter an active den to qualify.

The first dog to indicate the real den entrance will be the first one allowed to work. The tunnel entrances are unblocked and the second dog is staked approximately 10 feet from the entrance on a twist-in-the-ground stake with a 2 foot chain in preparation for honouring. The honouring dog should show interest but cannot be excessively barking and out of control so that the working dog cannot be heard.

The first dog is released and must then reach the quarry within 90 seconds and work the quarry for 30 seconds after which time the quarry are relocated to a second location. The working dog must now relocate the quarry in the den within 2 minutes. If the dog leaves the den, the Handler may give an additional command. Once the dog relocates the quarry, it must work continuously for 60 seconds.

While the dog is working the quarry, the Judge will simulate digging sounds by lightly striking the top of the area with a piece of wood for 30 seconds. The dog should ignore this and continue working. The dog must then be removed from the working area within 15 seconds. Then it is placed in the honouring position while the second dog is tested in the same manner.