Search and Rescue Dogs are trained to search for people three different ways; air scenting, tracking or trailing.
There is a big difference in the way the dogs work the scent which is why Bloodhounds are called "Mantrailers" and other breeds are not.
Read more about Scent Articles- How a Dog Follows Its Nose
In this article, we are going to begin with basic trailing, the easiest way to learn with your family dog.
Trailing is what Bloodhounds do because they follow the scent as the scent moves around and with the person. Other breeds "track" not "trail" a person by following the footstep scent or direct path of the person.
When a dog is using a "Scent Article" to search for a missing person or item then the handler must give the scent to the dog or let the dog have a smell of it. There is more about scent articles on the scent article page.
Here are photos showing the steps of giving scent to a five month old Bloodhound puppy named Sambo.
First I put him in his tracking harness and leash, notice how good he sits there...(click for lessons page)
I follow him.
Notice the long leash is thrown out behind the handler so the handler( me) does not get caught in the leash. This is very Important ! Otherwise you and your dog can be injured.
The handler only holds the leash lightly and held high so the dog can be allowed to work without any pulling or directions or tension from the handler.
As the dog moves forward the handler lets the leash slip through the right hand and uses the left hand to move the leash forward or throw the leash behind and pull the leash in... if the dog comes backwards.
When the handler goes to the dog, the handler will throw the leash behind her with the left hand which pulls the leash through her right hand to avoid getting tangled in the long tracking lead.
Once a handler gets the idea then the dog is reeled in or out almost like fishing.
It helps to hook the long leash onto a child or person and have them pretend to be a dog while you learn to work the leash. This type of leash work can be tricky at first with a dog so it is best for you to get the hang of how to handle the leash before your dog learns how.
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