Gathering Scent Articles
Used to Start a Dog Searching for Missing Persons
Here's how to prepare ahead of time to start your dog on finding live missing persons. Searching for living missing persons with a dog is called mantrailing or tracking. This post will tell you how-to properly gathering and storing scent articles.
One of the easiest ways to find a lost person is to give a dog the person's scent and watch him find the scent.
The dog is only looking for the smell and not for the actual person.
The dog does not necessarily associate the scent with the person unless the person is somebody they know with that scent.
To a dog, a scent is a scent.
In the photo, I'm giving a Bloodhound pup the scent article
Therefore, the fastest and surest way to teach or ask a dog to find a person is to use the person's scent to show them who we seek and no two people smell alike. Everybody smells different and we smell different at various times during the day or if we are sick.
To teach your dog to search for a lost or missing person, including family members you have to prepare first by gathering a "scent article" then visit my free dog training lesson page to read how-to start a dog.
To find Family Members with your Dog
It is wise to gather one sock from each person you love or do not want to lose before you start training your family pet and to store these as instructed below for later use in training sessions or if a loved one is lost. Place one dirty sock from each family member in a one freezer bag each sock.
Do Not Mix or touch the sock to anything, only the bag, use a hanger or stick to pick it up. Freeze the socks in case of a disaster where somebody is lost or gone missing. When you go hiking collect a article from each hiker before leaving in case somebody goes off the path and is lost. A search dog or a dog from the hiking group can find them if you let the dog smell the personal item.
Also you can collect a item from each family pet as well, a old collar or brush would do. Store this item as outlined below use it as a scent article for a dog to find the missing pet
To Find a Unknown Missing Person
When training your dog to find people who are unknown or not family members, you will be using a volunteer person to hide from your dog so you will collect a scent article from that person before the person goes hide. The scent article can be a face mask, a sock, hat or other small personal item nobody else has touched.
Gathering the Scent Article
Always handle every scent article, at all times, in training and in an actual search with the upmost care! NO OTHER PERSON or thing should every touch or breath on a scent article from somebody else.
Preservation and handling of a scent article is the most important aspect of using a dog to find a missing person. The main reason a dog will not work a trail or lose the scent of a missing person is because the scent article used was contaminated. We cannot see the contamination or smell any difference but a trained dog will smell and look for every smell that is on the article.
If another person handles the article the dog will look for both people. Then a different type of search is needed to be used that will depend upon how well the handler reads the dog to come to the right conclusion. The dog will follow both persons scents and should be rewarded, although it may appear the dog is on the wrong person's trail.
If a handler does not know a scent article is contaminated and gives the dog the scent article to use to find the missing person or shows the dog the last known location to start on that is contaminated. The dog will smell the missing person and the unknown subject or other substances (I will write about substances soon) the dog will look for all the scents on the scent article or at the person's last know location. For this reason, it's critical to safeguard and choose wisely every scent article used.
Collecting the Scent Article
DO NOT touch the scent article yourself, have the person drop the personal item from their hand into a new brown paper bag (lunch bag size) or a plastic freezer bag ( zip lock natural non chemical bag is best) I prefer paper bags because paper is natural and organic to the dog's nose.
This is a post for beginners, you will learn more about scent article collection at a scene in other articles.
Reminder, Do Not Put 2 scent articles from different people together, each article gets its own bag and label the bag with the person's name, date and time.
If you are not using the scent article right away, store the bag in the freezer until a few minutes before use.
Write "Scent Article" for emergency on the bag (police dogs and search dog handlers will know what to do with this if you ever have to call them about a missing person.
The “scent article” tells your dog who they are looking for!
Handle with Care.
Here's some ideas for the best personal items to use for K9 scent articles.1. Clothing directly from the person-hats, socks, shirts, shoes, etc.
2. Personal hygiene items-hair bush, toothbrush, comb, bottles only the person touched, etc.
3. Bedding-pillows, covers, sheets
6. Office items-mail, pens, pencil, books, desk top, chair that only one person has used
7. Benches, chairs, table tops, gate handles, door handles, etc
8. Automobiles -seat, steering wheel, doors, inside and outside surfaces, items inside, floors
9. Daily use items- towels, dishes, eating utensils, pipes, walking canes, backpacks, etc
10. Electronics- Phones, computers, device cords, memory cards, device case, briefcase