AKC Tracking

In a nut-shell, tracking tests are designed to test a dog's ability to recognize and follow human scent the dog’s ability to locate and indicate any articles left on the track is what it’s all about. Every dog is born knowing how to follow a scent trail, but the challenge in this sport is getting him to follow only the one that you want him to. This is not a competitive sport; there is no score awarded - simply pass or fail. The handler must be willing and able to work outdoors with the dog in all kinds of weather. Many people start tracking with puppies because it is a non-stressful, instinctive activity for a dog, and no prior obedience training is required. Plus, the activity is relaxing and FUN!

You should be familiar with the AKC tracking regulations while training. If you are serious about training, you should read these rules while you begin this program. Another tip ... since our area doesn't have the national park systems that other areas do, I'd strongly suggest getting a 12-month pass to the Biltmore Estate. Their fields are easy to access and are great for training!

To schedule a private evaluation/lesson, please contact Gail Hubbard.  Also, a GREAT way to get started is come into a workshop. They are fun and an economical way to start tracking.

A glimpse of AKC tracking

According to Wikipedia: "The olfactory bulb in dogs is roughly forty times bigger than the olfactory bulb in humans, relative to total brain size, with 125 to 220 million smell-sensitive receptors." So don’t be alarmed when your dog appears to use their sense of smell the way we use our eyes, as their primary sense. It’s like playing fetch with your dog at night. Ever wonder how s/he finds the ball so quickly and effortlessly?

Do not misunderstand the amazing canine sense of smell. There are dogs that can detect explosives, plant matter, narcotics,  certain cancers and other ailments in humans. Working dogs are very lucky because they get a ton of rewards for using their talented noses. However, most pet dogs aren't so lucky. Our companion dogs live in the human world and are not often truly allowed to just be dogs. They are always being dragged away from delectable scents on walks, or told to "leave it" when they try to take an olfactory "glance" at something. The spot doesn't look particularly special to you; by the sight of it nothing is there at all, just the ground, a few blades of grass. No matter, the dogs are transfixed. Clearly they know something you don't. You might go so far as to say that companion dogs have been olfactorily deprived. That is, until now. Now you have a chance to show your dog a game. A game that you initiate and it’s available to all canines.

This 3 class program is fun for you and your dog. When you give your dog permission to use the nose to investigate and explore, a whole new level of your relationship will emerge. This clinic focuses on finding human scent and is a fun activity that the whole family can come to enjoy. Come and play, you will love it!

WHO CAN ATTEND? Tall dogs, short dogs, geriatric dogs, puppy dogs, shelter dogs, blind dogs, hearing-impaired dogs, even disabled dogs....any dog at all can excel at games where they use their nose!

Benefits to nose games:

  1. It's an aweseome confidence builder for timid or shy dogs.
  2. A fractious dog learns to focus like a laser.
  3. A typically-reactive dog loses himself in the hunt and forgets the things that frighten him or trigger outbursts.
  4. Blind or hearing-impaired dogs learn to let their noses guide them on one successful search after another.
  5. Geriatric dogs, frail dogs and amputees can experience the joy of the hunt, too!

Class Dates & Times

A small group meets on Monday and Friday afternoons. Contact Gail Hubbard if you are interested.

What To Bring

Bring your dog, rewards (toy and food) and your enthusiasm


Marge Schultz, AKC Tracking Judge

Gail Hubbard, 828-712-4245



Register now



Rally Obedience

Rally is a form of competitive obedience that is designed to be a little more  "user-friendly" than is traditional obedience. It is a great way to introduce a new dog and handler to the sport of competitive obedience.

In Rally, the team follows a course along which there are numbered  'stations'.  At each station there is a card giving the team a task to perform. The dog works at heel position, but it does not need to be as exact as for traditional obedience. Points are lost from your score for errors.   Unlike traditional obedience, the handler may talk to and encourage the dog. This keeps things fun for both the dog and the handler as they build some nice teamwork and control.

Titles are earned at three levels.  Rally Novice is all on leash.  Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent are performed off-leash and there are some more complicated exercises included at those levels.

Beginning / Novice Rally

A 6-lesson introductory course, teaching attention at heel, defining heel position, learning the requirements for the 31 Rally Novice signs. We build up skills for running the courses and learn the more important rules.

Pre-requisites:  Intermediate (CGC) level of obedience for both dog and handler. The dog needs to  walk on a loose leash, responds to cue for sit, down, stay and will come when called. Only dog- and people-friendly dogs in class, as we do work in close quarters.

Rally Novice

The Beginning Rally class continues as a Rally Novice class, to perfect and polish the skills learned.   Handlers learn about running courses efficiently,  more about rules and scoring.  We move to off-leash work and eventually start learning some of the more advanced signs and moves.   Goal: Rally Novice title

Class Dates & Times



Gail Hubbard


$95 for the 5-lesson program

Register now


Rally Advanced & Rally Excellent

Often a combined class with bi-level courses, each of these levels will work on all the 'moves' to satisfy both Advanced Excellent courses. Dogs are working off-leash. Courses are fun and challenging. Goal: Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent titles

Class Dates & Times





$95 for the 5-lesson program

Register now



Nicole Martinez shared a status

Gail had great advice to help us get our fearful Uli into the car without him freaking out so much! We still have a long way to go but as least traveling got easier!

student stars

  • studentstars brewster

    OWNER: Maggie Brindell-Watt 
    I have to tell you we went to our Neighborhood Christmas Party and I was singing your praise.  Many of my neighbors that walked by our house daily commented on how well Brewster is behaving.  They were impressed when he barked at them and I can come out and tell him to be quite and he actually does listen to me.  So, in general they were just impressed at how well he is behaving for such a young dog.  So, I just wanted to say "thank you" for helping us, couldn't have done it without your help. We still have a lot of work to do but we are on the right track.

  • studentstars roux

    OWNER: Cindy Hartman  
    "Gail, thank you VERY MUCH for reviewing our runs from last weekend, your comments were very helpful! You make some great points. I appreciate your keen eye and willingness to help us become a better team! Can't wait for class on Thursday!"

  • studentstars rigel

    OWNER: Susan McKenzie
    Rigel (2 ½ yr old black and white retriever/hound mix) took basic manners class and Pedals (6 mo old brindle lab/pit mix) attended both the puppy and basic manners class at A Good Dog’s Life  When people visit our home, I often receive compliments on how well behaved my dogs are.  They do not try to counter surf and I can ask them to stay on their beds to get out from under foot.  I am a strong believer in challenging dogs physically and mentally and intend to take further classes at A Good Dog’s Life.  They both enjoy it.

  • studentstars elke

    OWNER: Tanya Alstott 

    I was happy with the content of the class.  I think these type of puppy class are limited in what you can expect out of your dog, mainly due to age and the inability to focus for any length of time.  Socialization was my main goal and I feel like Elke got that from the class.

  • studentstars sky

    OWNER: Peggy and Bob Dellinger 
    Gail, WE loved class today. I had read most of the book "tracking from the ground up" but boy you made lots more sense then the book!

  • studentstars franklin

    OWNER: Lisa Wester 
    You are Wonder Woman Dog Trainer. My son and I did a short session with Franklin today. Did not jump any. We did five or six meet and greets. Michael did three short walks and Franklin behaved very well letting Michael pet him.
    Hope to do a session Fri and Sun.
    Thanks so much!

  • studentstars eiko

    OWNER: Anna Ferguson, Vibrant Heart Yoga www.vibrantheartyoga.com 
    Eiko and I have had great fun learning with Gail from A Good Dog's Life. We have done classes at her wonderful facility and also some private lessons. I am always impressed by Gail's knowledge, patience and obvious love for dogs. Her training tips and handouts were crucial for great puppy training, and we really enjoyed our puppy classes. We now have a wonderfully well-behaved, intelligent dog that is our best friend! I recommend her all the time to new puppy owners to get started on the right paw!

contact us

A Good Dog's Life
Training Center

33 Hidden Acres Drive
Asheville NC 28806

Susan    828.231.4172
Gail    828.712.4245