A few of the search dog training books
on the market recommend beginning training a search dog of any breed and trailing dogs to find their handler or owner
first as a way to start the dog to do tracking and air scenting.
While I’m sure this method works fine, I believe with many other search dog trainers that dogs naturally find or return to their handlers without any training and most of this lesson is apparent in all search dog training sessions if the handler pays attention or reads their dog then they will see the dog completing this lesson when the dog returns to them without being told.
Our dogs come to us often during the day, they find us no matter where we are when it’s feeding time, bedtime or walk time. This natural instinct to find us when they want us can be used to our advantage during an emergency or disaster situation.
There’s two ways you can teach your dog to find you, one is without any other tracking or search dog training and the other way is by adding this lesson to your dog’s tracking, air scenting or trailing lessons. You can also take a look at my most recent book "Start Mantrailing-Train a Dog to Find People"
Step by Step For Fun, Work and Sport. (Pub. 2020)
For those of you wish to train your dog to find you without using any of the other lessons on this site you can follow the directions below. Other dog owners who have been following the lessons here at Family Disaster Dogs
can add this lesson into any of their training sessions.
This lesson can be taught to any dog at any age, even young puppies, on and off a leash.
Fred, who I have Groomed is happy to find his owners!
The easiest way to train your dog to find you is to play hide and seek whenever the opportunity comes along. For instance, your walking your dog off-leash on a hiking path. You can quickly and quietly hide behind a tree or other obstacle and wait for your dog to realize your missing.
Do not make any noise unless your dog is in danger.
Most dogs will not take long to notice you have disappeared and they will start looking for you on their own. Some dogs will take longer then others to notice or look for you while other dogs get anxious very quickly when your out of sight.
Once your dog starts looking for you, you can make a few little noises to encourage and direct them or you can wait.
As soon as your dog finds you, praise for a job well done.
You can use this same idea with a long light weight leash on a walk with dogs who will run off without a care in world about where you are. If your dog is this type, they will come back sooner or later to find you. Especially when they get hungry or tired of running.
All the leash does in this training situation is speed things up in training your dog to notice you by limited the area they can work but this can be dangerous if you do not have experience with using a long training leash
A fenced yard is safer and works well to keep the dog in an area if they are not trained to stay with you. You can learn how to teach your dog to pay attention on the obedience page.
If your dog has any trouble finding you at first then make a few noises or call them in an exciting way to encourage them to come to you, praise them for a job well done. If you make the lesson fun the slower dogs will get faster at finding you.
After a few times of playing hide and seek, then remain quite and let your dog realize you haven’t called them and they will start wondering why and see what your up to. Praise them with petting, say “good dog” and play with them to encourage them to look for you anytime your out of sight.
Another way to show your dog to find you can be done at home, anytime you want to play with your dog you can hide in the house and make noises or use a dog toy to make noises to get your dog’s attention and when they find you , praise them. After a few times then stop making the noise and wait.
You can do this in a fun way by running away from your dog all of a sudden indoors or out, call them and then hide. They will be looking for you quickly if you make this a game. You can throw a toy for them to fetch and you can hide while they go out to get the ball or toy.
Another method is to use a tracking course you make yourself. AKC
and other tracking dogs going for titles in tracking often learn to track their owners first or as practice in learning how to follow a course.
This is done by you making the trail or track course yourself. You act as the “trail layer” leaving a path of scent on a mapped course for the dog to follow. You can learn more about how to make dog tracking courses on the Lesson Links Page in the page menu at the left.
An easy way to do this is without your dog present, or your dog can be held by somebody else, tied or in the car. You’ll need a couple of items of your clothing you have wore recently that has not been touched by another human.
You will start the path for your dog to follow to you by dropping a item of clothing and walking slowly in a straight line for about 30 paces where you will place another item of clothing along with a dog treat to reward your dog, scruff your feet as you walk another 20 or 30 paces and leave another scent article or item of clothing at the ending of the course or path with a dog treat.
Go get your dog and let the trail of scent settle without anybody else walking over or around it.
Take your dog to the starting clothing item, point to the item and along the path of the scent to the other item.
Encourage your dog to go forward by starting to walk in the direction of the next item as you tell your dog to go find. Go to the next item of clothing and let your dog find the dog treat, then point and encourage them to go to the next and last item.
After you do this a few times, you will be able to point to an item of your clothing and your dog will follow your scent trail to every item and place you have been in the order that the scent was laid out.
|Wrinkledpups Daisy Mayham (the author)|
The nose knows
If you are ever missing; another person can ask your dog to find you by giving your dog your scent.
If you say your name at every item then your dog will learn your name and find you by name if another person ask them to. (more on this below)
You should use an area you have not walked on in the last 24 hours and leave the trail once it is laid by walking straight ahead away from the last item.
Do not cross the scent path you just made or else your dog will be going in circles confused following your steps. You have to walk the long way around or have a car pick you up then drive you around to the beginning of the course.
I will be writing more about advanced search and scenting methods your dog can learn in coming lessons
links. Such as a missing member search or following people’s scent that have traveled by car or horseback and motorcycles.
After you practice teaching your dog to find you in several ways, you can hide and have a helper release your dog to locate you either by name or showing the dog your clothing item.
Area search dog lessons can be set up using yourself as the subject or lost person where you go out into a field or area and hide with a helper releasing your dog.
Anytime you get the chance to play with your dog in this way they will be learning to find you in an emergency or disaster. You will be reinforcing the natural instinct in the dog to find and join their family pack if they are separated.
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|Family Disaster Dogs|
Chloe and Mijo can find you !!!!
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