Pet Matters - Mantrailing

Mantrailing is when a dog uses his nose to find a person, because they are genuinely missing, or in our case, just for fun!

This life saving skill is used by search and rescue, police and military forces across the world. However, Mantrailing is not just for use by professionals, it is also a great activity for anyone wanting to spend quality time with their dog. We train the dogs in the same way whether they are to become operational or simply enjoying family fun. Dogs don't know the difference and just enjoy the activity!

Every person has a unique scent, made up of all the debris that falls off our body as we go about day to day life. It may contain your skin cells, sweat, hormones and bacteria. As we move our scent moves around with the air before settling and sticking in the environment.

Scent Specific Trailing Search Dogs discriminate specific scent. For example; if the dog is given an article of a missing person's (misper's) clothing the dog will then 'hunt' for a 'trail' matching that scent.

Once the dog finds the 'scent' it will 'indicate' the 'trail' to the 'handler' and then follow the 'trail' to the 'misper'. On finding the 'misper' the dog will 'indicate' the 'find' to the 'handler' who will then 'reward' the dog with his/her favourite toy and/or food whilst 'partying' and giving lots of praise to the dog.

This 'game', through years of training, 'drives' the dog to 'trail' to find the 'misper'.

Mantrailing is a physically demanding sport. You won't need to run but may be walking at speed across challenging terrain and will need to be able to confidently hold onto your dog as it pulls in a harness for a prolonged period of time. Don't worry about your dog learning to pull you during a normal walk, we use very specific cues so your dog won't!

Mantrailing is suitable for all breeds and ages of dogs, with no previous training needed. All dogs love it! However, this challenging sport takes time and repetition for the dog to learn how to truly work the scent. A process we are happy to guide you through.

As an activity it is also well suited to reactive dogs as only one dog is worked at a time. Dogs are kept on lead or long lines at all times.

We use many different areas and venues in Devon, on Dartmoor and occasionally other venues In the Southwest.

To get started with us, you will need to attend a 3 hour introductory workshop. Following that you can attend any of our weekly 2 - 3 hour practice sessions.