Family-Disaster-Dog-Lessons

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lesson 2; To Leash or Not

To Leash or Not to Leash 

This lesson covers why some dogs use a leash when looking for lost people and other dogs do not. This will help you decide which way works best for you and your dog.

How to use the long tracking leash when Trailing and Tracking with your dog is taught during each lesson and outlined on Lesson 1, Tracking Overview.

 As you can see by the pictures of Sambo working in a harness, we are using a very long leash or lead.  A long tracking lead like the one pictured is most often used to allow the dog extra room to work an area over without the handler interfering.

Mantrailing Training

Most Bloodhounds are worked on a leash while other breeds are often worked off leash due to other breeds paying attention to a handler more then a Bloodhound does.

No pun intended, a Bloodhound on a trail is working from natural ability and instincts without any direction from a handler while other breeds are working a trail from the training they have received and the commands from a handler. The Bloodhound is trailing and the other dog is tracking, there is a large difference in the two ways the dogs use their noses.

The leash below is the type a Bloodhound Handler uses..A Retractable leash is not recommended.


Another reason a long leash is used with a Bloodhound is that the Bloodhound is known as a silent tracker/trailer because the dogs generally do not bark or bay while running a trail like Beagles and Coonhounds do.

Some Bloodhounds do get excited at the beginning and end of a trail and some will work very quickly but others are more caution and careful not  to miss any smells. They work slowly and surely.

Bloodhounds are different in many ways from other breeds which is why there are few Bloodhounds working in comparison to other breeds. Bloodhounds do not train well or respond to directions from handlers well while using their noses and this makes them difficult for some people.

Consequently, we have to use a leash when we ask a Bloodhound to find a person in order to stay with the dog and know when the dog finds the person, otherwise a loose Bloodhound might find the person and happily lay down with them to cuddle instead of coming back to let the handler know they did the job.

Other breeds are taught to find a person off leash and return to the handler or bark to indicate the found person so the handler can find them. These dogs rely on the owner or handler to work with them in finding the person. Obedience training and off leash hand signals or direction can be given to the dog by the handler so the two work as a team in searching for evidence or a missing person.

Your family dog can learn to work with a leash like a Bloodhound and also off a leash like an area scent dog or an off-lead tracking dog. You will will learn the difference between tracking, air scenting and trailing in upcoming lessons. The method you decide to use will depend upon your dog. Not the breed of your dog but how well your family pet does what you say off a leash.



Many family dogs never use a leash and pay attention very well to their owners. These dogs will respond to training faster then the house dog who is use to be kept on a leash and walked or a dog without any training. Do not worry either with or without a leash works for a family disaster dog because this type of training does not require obedience.

If your dog has no other training then you can train your pet like a Bloodhound, on a leash.

If you want your dog to understand commands then read through the other lessons on this blog to teach your pet manners and how to behave in different situations while responding to sit, come, stay, down, heel.

You can also take an obedience class offered in your community while you continue to work on the disaster dog lessons.

While attending other classes, Please be sure and spread the word about Family Disaster Dog Site so others can learn how to use their dogs during emergencies too.

Email us for Free F.D.D. Posters/Handouts to give out or post in your community. 




Any age of dog can be trained using a leash or not.

The older dog may take more teaching then a puppy. Do not get discouraged if your dog does not learn right away. This is supposed to be fun and the family dog, like all Search Dogs, are in training for a life time not for a short time.

Unlike other dog training classes this  type of training does not require a time agenda or daily practice. Family Disaster dog training can be done any time you have spare time because all you do is go out and play with your dog whenever you want, wherever you want.

You have the rest of your dog's life to train and play for a disaster which we hope you never have to use. Keep this type of training fun for you and your dog.

How to use a long leash and work a search dog on a lead will be covered on the Leash Work lesson.

How to train your dog to work off leash will be covered on the Off Leash Lesson Post.





Off leash and On leash dogs in training should own a Leather Leash like this 6 ft long leash pictured.


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