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Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Find a Missing Person with Your Dog- Find a Family Member with Your Own dog

How to Find a Person with Your Dog

In the event of a lost and missing loved one or friend your family dog can be your best resource for a swift recovery. 

Why? Because your dog is closer to the location then official search dogs who have to be called in which takes anywhere from 1 hour to 3 days.

Do you want to wait this long to start looking?

I don’t think you should either.

Your dog is fast and has a very good nose. Regardless of their age or breed all dogs have very good scenting ability and they know where we are when we don’t even consider they do.

A dog keeps track of the pack in ways we haven’t even thought of. They know where everybody in the pack is at so why not ask them to find a missing pack member?

I see no reason why not to try to help with your own dog during this type of incident. While you wait for officials ask your dog where the person is then follow your dog.

1 dog on a search equals 100 police doing a line search over an open space so which do you think has better odds.

If you’ve followed any of the family search dog lessons on this site then if a loved one is missing you will know what to do.

Here are the steps to find a missing loved one with a dog

1. Read about the scent article  at that link 

2. Give your dog a scent article and follow your dog...That is all there is to it.

Keep these points in mind

1. Do not try to out guess or think for your dog, do not think at all about where or what the person may of done. 

2. Your thinking interferes with the dog’s work because you do not have a nose or the 7th sense to know where pack members are like a dog, you will never know how this dog is doing this incredible feat so let them do what they know by only following them without giving them any direction at all.

3. Thinking for the dog is the biggest mistake search dog handlers make and this is why the dog will come up empty handed and this is the only reason.

4. When the dog is following the handler’s directions instead of their own nose they end up off course because the handler has no idea where the person is and does not trust the dog to do as they are asked.

5. Trust your dog and follow your dog to the missing person.

Here is an example of lost person incident where your dog can help you

Let’s say you’re at a playground with a young child who wanders away. You can’t find the child anywhere and remember your dog can.

You either call home for somebody to bring your dog or you go home as you call police and get your dog. Maybe your dog is as close as the car in the parking lot.


LKL: The very last place you saw the child standing or the exact location or object they touched is the most important aspect of a successful rescue.

Guard and Save the LKL and Scent: You can use a tissue paper or paper towel to wipe the scent of your lost person from the equipment or bench when you are waiting for your dog.

If you have to wait for your dog, guard the last known location or the spot of scent with your life. Do not let anybody or thing contaminate the last thing your child touched on the playground.

If you have to go get your dog, ask somebody at the playground to keep other people and animals away from the place the child had been sitting or playing.

As soon as your dog arrives at the scene, the playground, take your dog to the LKL or  the exact location a person went missing from, such as- the last piece of equipment or bench your child was playing or sitting on.

1. Give your dog a smell of a scent article (the paper tissue) from the person or point to the bench the person was sitting on.

2. Let your dog smell the bench, equipment or the tissue paper that has only your scent and your lost child’s scent on it.

3. Once your dog has had time to smell the scent then ask them to find the person and follow your dog.

Many dogs do not look like they are doing much in the way of trailing; they kind of wander around a bit.

Trust your dog.
There is no rush because if you had not tried you would be waiting, doing nothing for others to come to the rescue.

The time following your dog is well spent even if your dog looks like they are not working. As long as they are moving forward they are on the move doing what you asked the best they can.

Every dog works its own way and if you allow them to do so, all you do is follow them around as they work the scents which are drifting all over on the air currents.

You would be wandering around aimlessly too if you were following scents drifting all over mixed in with millions of other scents.

Let your dog do this incredible feat and find that child before officials arrive, you can be safe and sound back at home with your dog and child.

I believe with the cutbacks nationwide in our community service branches, including law enforcement, fire and rescue that this is a very important lesson for you and your dog to learn.

We may not be able to count on the police if they are all laid off. 

We will have to depend on our own resources as more and more cutbacks occur.

You can be ready with your dog by your side to take care of yourself.

With practice, you can become self reliant instead of overwhelmed until officials arrive.

Visit Family Disaster Dogs online for more lessons and ideas about how your dog can rescue you in emergencies and disasters.

To learn more about searching with dogs, mantrailing and Bloodhounds you can visit one of my mentors, Bloodhound Expert and Mantrailing training method founder, Scent Sleeve inventor, Bill Tolhurst, website Home of the Big T 

Be sure and scroll down the page for a list of his books.

 "Each Step Begins a New Trail" Bill Tolhurst

"Blue Boy Homer"
Found 26 lost persons and 1 mountain lion who was staking the searchers!

The Essential Christmas Shopping List For Dog Owners

Christmas is coming, and chances are, your shopping list will be endless. From food to presents, there is a lot to buy to make your festive holiday complete. However, you mustn’t forget about your dog. As a valued member of your family, you need to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable Christmas too. That’s why we have compiled a list of items that are darn near essential for looking after your dog’s needs. Whether it’s a puppy you have welcomed into your home as a gift to your family or a long-standing faithful companion, we are about to make your shopping list that big longer. Apologies, but you will only thank us for it later.

So, in no particular order, you need to add the following items to your shopping list.

A safe Christmas tree

Pine Christmas trees can be a problem, not only for your carpeting but for your dog as well. When ingested, fallen pine needles can cause your dog to vomit, due to the excessive irritation in the throat, and in worse cases can cause intestinal obstruction. When possible, opt for a fake Christmas tree to reduce chances of harm, though, with a bit of common sense, you can still go for a real tree provided you take note of the safety measures mentioned here. Oh, and while you’re thinking about Christmas trees, don’t forget to pick up one of our wonderful decorations to adorn the tree’s branches.

A safety gate

While you want your dog to roam free as much as possible in your home, there may be certain areas that are off-limits. This is particularly true over the holiday season, especially if you have relatives staying, or rooms where your dog could cause an obstruction, such as the kitchen. A safety gate will keep your dog away from restricted areas, but they also give your dog full view of a room and your family, even if they aren’t allowed in - such as when you’re having your Christmas dinner!

Christmas foods

With the amount of food around over Christmas, your dog will think he’s in paradise. However, you need to be careful. Not only are certain foods problematic for your dog’s weight (as well as your own), but some, such as those listed here, are dangerous for an animal’s health. Your local supermarket will sell specially designed foods for your dog, with all the meat you normally enjoy at this time of year, including turkey and chicken. The same applies to chocolate. When you’re opening up your box of goodies, you need to keep your dog away from them. Instead, buy special doggie treats as a healthier alternative.

Flea treatments

With the amount of people coming in and out of your house, as well as their respective animals, your dog has a higher chance of catching fleas over the holiday period. Fleas can be carried on clothing as well as fur, so you need to prevent these unwelcome guests from setting foot near you and your dog. Have a look at PetAction flea prevention for dogs, which includes spot treatments and special collars that will do the trick. Sadly, they won’t do much to get rid of your other unwelcome visitors (how long are your cousins staying for again?) though if your dog does get fleas, you can be sure those pesky relatives will scarper within minutes.


Snuggling up cosy and warm is something we all do over Christmas, whether it’s in front of an open fire, or lazily wiling away the days under our duvets. Your dog will want to do the same, and that’s why you need to buy your pooch something comfortable to snuggle down in. Not only will you give your dog a guaranteed good night’s sleep, but you will also keep them off your furniture, especially when you are trying to keep it nice and clean to show off to the in-laws when they arrive for Christmas Day.

An ID tag

You would be lost without your dog if they went missing, but Christmas is a time of year when this is likely to happen. With the toing and froing of people coming to your house, your dog could very easily escape through the front door and away from home. Likewise, if you spend a lot of Christmas travelling, you wouldn’t want your dog going missing in a strange locale. Dogs are great at finding their way home, but not if they are in unfamiliar surroundings. Therefore, an ID tag is a must, and for extra safety, you should make sure your dog is microchipped as well. You would have a miserable Christmas without them.

Christmas toys

Why should you have all the fun on Christmas morning? Let your dog in on the gift unwrapping session, and let them have something to play with over the holidays. Admittedly, they will probably spend more time with the wrapping paper for the first couple of hours, but there are loads of Christmas toy ideas online, and they will keep your dog entertained for ages. Well, at least until the smell of the turkey rises from the kitchen. On the subject of toys, remember safety. If you have young children, you don’t want your dog choking on any toys that may be littered around the floor. Your kids won’t appreciate their new ball getting chewed up, either. Get your dog its own chew toys, and spray anything else with anti-chew spray to make sure your dog doesn’t nibble on anything he shouldn’t. Note: this doesn’t mean you should spray the turkey!

Winter clothing

Despite the cold outside, you will still need to take your dog for a walk. Not only will this benefit your dog, but you will also get the health benefits, especially considering the amount of festive food you will be scoffing. While you shouldn’t forget the poop bags, you might also consider these festive jumpers that will keep Fido warm in the nippy weather. Remember to wrap up warm yourself, too!


Your dog will have a great Christmas if you remember to add these essential items to your shopping list. We hope you all have a good time, so take care, stay safe, and have fun!

Author Amber Higgins

Author Amber Higgins
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Welcome UK and Worldwide Visitors

Welcome UK and worldwide visitors and friends to Family Disaster Dogs online! Although I'm an American author and dog professional the worldwide web has given me the opportunity to connect with some wonderful folks who have contributed pictures for my books. The "Start Mantrailing" book features RRI K9 North Scotland trained Search and Rescue Dog "Amber" on the cover and her teammates training in the book, plus American dogs using my training methods. A portion of sales of the Start Mantrailing book or copies were donated to RRI North Scotland. The children's picture book "My Puppy Can Find Me" has my daughter and bloodhound as illustrations by UK cartoonist Scotty King. You can find the books on Amazon UK or use the contact page to order from me. When you click the links will take you to your own county pages of this site.

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