Mailchimp Newsletter


There's more to this site! Go to the bottom of the page and click "View Web Version" to see the whole site.


Find More Lessons and Articles

To see all the dog training posts (almost 200 pages)
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the list and most popular titles.

Search This Blog

Friday, September 7, 2018

"Find It " Train any Dog to Find a Person or Missing Family Member

" Find it " 

Train any pet dog to find family members in case the person goes missing

You can use your dog to find children, elderly or family after earthquakes or floods.

Only do this trailing/tracking lesson with your dog 1 or 2 times a week. Skipping a week is okay because we do not want your dog to get tired of playing this game. 

If you haven't already, read the first lesson of  "Getting Started" and the Scent Articles  continue as instructed after the overview.

This lesson can be done indoors or outside, with a dog on leash or loose depending on the dog and where you want to practice. I often start this lesson indoors with a loose dog and a child playing hide and seek for the first few weeks.

These guidelines should be followed indoors as well as outdoors for the best results.

Start with a person your dog knows and only do this lesson with that person 2 to 4 times each session once or twice a week. 

After 2 weeks, if your dog is finding the person fairly easily then you can change people and scent articles and only then use a different person. If you change people or scents to early your dog could get confused and lose interest. 

If your dog ever loses interest then stop and play with them for a few minutes. Then do the lesson again step by step so your dog understands. The steps for this lesson will be posted on a separate page for easy reference.


Hold your dog by its collar as the person slowly runs and waves at the dog to a hiding place that is easy to find and only one turn away. 

Hold the scent article, the person's sock, to your dog's nose, say "Smell" and then turn your dog loose and say "Find so and so" use the person’s name, follow your dog to the person. More about the scent article below.

Your dog, no matter what age will attempt to find them.

If the dog does not start searching for anything and only stands there looking at you to find the person then encourage the dog to go with you and show the dog with excitement how fun it is to find the person. 

When you and your dog find the person, praise, praise, praise by you and have the person shower this dog with attention. Your dog will be so happy to do this again, you'll hardly be able to hold him.

Repeat the lesson a few times each day.

"Find It " continue on with this in mind..

It's okay for the hidden person to give your dog a treat if your dog is more inclined to work for food then love as long as you remember to replace the food with love in a few lessons.

Read lesson 6 " Making Trails" ( in the menu above you will find a lesson links page to this and all the lessons) to learn how the person should hide and how your dog will find them before your person hides to often. The dog can be easily confused and refuse to work if you ask them to think to hard at first or do to complex of a trail.

If you dog ever refuses to find a hiding person, go back to previous lessons and retrain until the dog is more confident and understands exactly what you are asking. Some dogs catch onto finding people right away and others take a little more encouragement.

Your dog must always find the person. 


After your dog has found the hidden person a few times, sometimes with help from the person calling out or making a noise then have the person be very quite so the dog learns to work people who are unconscious.

Even if your dog passes a hidden person let the dog go on until it stops on its own to turn around, they usually will turn around and find the person if given the time to move out of the air scent cloud they are working. This scent cloud can be far from the person and the dog has to learn to work out the scent cloud for later search experiences. 

 Never let the dog think it has not accomplished this and it will always lead you to them in a real life emergency. You must learn to Trust your dog's natural ability to find its pack.

Your dog is always right.

If he led you to a blanket and then goes to the closet to find the person, then the person has at one point or another touched this blanket.


Trust your dog and follow him and he will lead the way. After all, didn't you notice him standing there next to you wondering how he can help?

After a couple of weeks of playing hide and seek inside and outside, you can have the person stay hidden for a longer amount of time.

Start with the person hiding for 3- 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, gradually go up to 30 minutes. 

Once your dog finds a person who has been hidden 30 minutes, you can have the person hide without your dog seeing the person run away to hide. Give the dog the scent article, say "smell" and "Find 'em" the dog will go find the person using only the sock and trail left by the subject. More on this in later lessons. (look at the lessons link page above)

Always praise.  

Even if you had to lead the novice dog to the person. 

Never ever scold the dog during this training or he won't want to help you. 
This is one area of training we can not make a dog do, they can refuse and you don't want them to do that !

If you ever have to call in a missing person's report, give the officer in charge your frozen scent article to use with the police or search dogs. They will be impressed that you knew this helpful clue in the investigation and it will save valuable time.

Take the scent articles with you when the family goes camping or on hikes, one never knows when the scent article may come in handy. Don't forget to take your dog camping with you; they could be a life saver if anyone wanders away from camp.

Remember your dog has lived with you a long time, he knows each family member's name so ask him to find them by name, and then if the sock isn't available he can still help you in real life disasters.

Make sure nobody else has touched the sock (scent article) except the person the sock belongs to. This means you too. Pick the sock up using a stick or hanger and place in a Freezer bag by itself. Use one scent bag for each person. Do Not combine two scents.

During the first 2 weeks of training, use only one person a day for your dog to find or the dog may get confused. Once he has the idea, you can change scent articles and people in the next lesson.

 Never ever scold the dog during this training or he won't want to help you and this is one area of training we can not make a dog do, they can refuse and you don't want that.

A scenting dog is not trained by you, they do this naturally. Do not expect them to do so just because you tell them to.

Actually the dog is already scenting and following each new scent that comes their way. 

All you have to do is watch and follow the dog. This is especially apparent during an emergency. Never forget your dog’s unique scenting abilities or their abilities to find their pack members. 

Practice makes Perfect..use the Training Goal Page to judge your progress.

Be careful to avoid K9 Burn Out. ( read the article in the lessons page) 

Just like people who overwork, dogs can experience "Burn Out" and not feel up to preforming the job. 

If your dog loses interest then take a few weeks break and go back to training only one day a week at the most. Working actual tracking courses like discussed above every two weeks works well for most dogs. 

If some dogs are worked to often the fun goes out of the game for them, so the less often they get the chance to play or hunt the more excited they get when the hunt is on again.

Once your dog gets the idea and is finding people you can ask the person to hide for longer time, gradually make the time longer until you can have the person take a walk the night before and ask the dog to follow the person's scent trail the next morning.

For instance, the person is a friend or a child goes to spend the night at a friends, they leave your home the night before to walk to their home and the next morning before people have walked on the same path have your dog smell the person's scent article and start at the doorway to follow the scent trail to the friend's house...Praise the dog well, make this a very happy reunion and your dog will find them every time! 

Good Luck! 

Leave a comment and follow me to FB and Twitter !

UK Visitors

Welcome UK visitors to Family Disaster Dogs online!
My New book "Start Mantrailing" features RRI North Scotland Search Dog on the cover and teammates in the book, plus American dogs. A share of the book price is donated in appreciation to RRI North Scotland K9SAR. Help us find missing persons with dogs buy a book or share the page. Thank you! You can find the books at Amber Higgins Amazon United Kingdom author page ... Have a great day! Thanks for stopping by!

Featured Lesson

Dog Bug-out Go-Bag List-cats too

Dog Bug-Out Go-Bag List Evacuate with your Dog and Pets Willie ready to bug-out Hi everyone,  2019 update click to The Bu...

Let's Share on Social Media !

Let's enable each family to respond

and do something while waiting for help

during neighborhood emergency and disaster incidents,

extreme weather and terrorist attacks.

Good Luck and Be Safe !

Contact Family Disaster Dogs


Email *

Message *

Click below to Go to My Books

Click below to Go to My Books
image by clipart-library

Read a Free Preview or Buy !

Help Keep Free Books Free for everyone-Donate Today!

Dog Bug-out Bag book

Free Preview

Read and Review my books on Goodreads

Family Disaster Dogs

Popular Posts