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Sunday, October 31, 2021

Reading the Dog-Variables a K9 Search Team Encounters on the Trail

 Variables a K9 Search Team Encounters on the Trail:

What are variables? 

Variables are the many different and constantly changing things a search dog comes across in the search for a person. Every kind of detection dog learns how to work in various conditions which is why we call these different conditions, "variables". Other trainer use different terms of course, but for an easy understanding I am sticking with variables. Here's why.

During training and in mock training searches. A handler has to learn how to read the dog when the various conditions (variables) and aspects of the search change or are encountered by the dog. The dog also must learn how to work the missing person's scent trail or location in the variables the dog will most likely encounter during a real search. 

For instance, a wilderness trained dog learns how to work in a natural settling while a urban search dog learns to work in pavement, cement and human made environments. Both environments affect scent very differently. 

Just think of all the different odors we humans smell in a big city compared to what we smell when we are out exploring a natural woodland or countryside. Imagine how much more our dogs smell and the different places where the odor changes. 

Watch your dogs and see how they react when they encounter a variable, a difference, when you're both out for a stroll. 

Learning and knowing how your dog behaves when they encounter variables is how you read a dog.

Here's the most common variables a K9 team will encounter on a search for a person.

Each variable is in bold print.


An example of surfaces are paved roadways, sidewalks, dirt, grass, woodland, water, snow, gravel, sand, indoors carpet, tile, floor, table, windowsill, etc. 

The K9 Team learns to search on different surfaces by introducing each type of surface one at a time because scent particles travel and collect differently on natural and human made surfaces. This is one reason training takes time.


Every trail has contaminates and every contaminate changes with the type of surface and other variables.  Contaminants are all living beings, chemicals and natural scent particles that come in contact with the trail, trail layer or scent article. 

A few examples are animals or people who walk near and on a Trail Layer’s trail, gasoline odors, chemicals and traffic, other animal’s urine and feathers, buried bones or fur. 


The weather changes on a minute by minute, hour by hour, daily bases and this makes each and every step of a search for a person begin a new trail. When a slight breeze begins to blow, in the middle of training so does the scent particle begin to drift and change path. This is why Mantrailing dogs are a valuable resource for finding missing persons. 

Age of the Trail:  

Every trail ages with the passage of time, beginning at the time a person goes missing or the trail layer starts to make a “hot” or “fresh” training trail. As time passes, the person’s scent trail begins to dissipate and grow “aged” and “cold”.  If the person has been missing or hidden for under a hour the trail is considered, “hot” or fresh and as the trail ages the scent becomes “cold” and aged. 

Lost Person Behavior: 

Teams who wish to advance to active duty readiness and operational level to work actual missing person cases will benefit from studying how people behave when lost or taken against their will because the person’s behavior is a very important variable that changes and challenges a dog team’s search strategy.   

My dog and I on the trail to a hidden person

Learn to read a dog by paying attention to the dog's behavior when you encounter variables.

Learn more about training a dog to find people in my new book "Start Mantraining" Step by Step and in The "Family Disaster Dogs" book available my author page at Amazon worldwide or you can get a personally signed copy from me the author at my own store here

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Welcome to the exciting world of Mantrailing and finding people with a dog!

Welcome to the exciting world of Mantrailing and finding people with a dog! 

Mantrailing is a K9 Search and Rescue specialty that is quickly becoming popular as a sport and recreation for all dogs to enjoy. 

Mantrailing dogs use the nose to scent discriminate one person from all other people to locate the one particular person.

A truly amazing fact about Mantrailing is how quickly most dogs’ take to this type of training and how quickly the dogs find people. Dogs love to use their nose to find people. The fun part of Mantrailing is that we follow the dog and allow the dog to lead the way! 

To Read how to Start Mantrailing, Step by Step..(click to the book's amazon page in all countries) 

You and your dog will be finding a person from the first day of training and beyond. 

The book is available worldwide and features dogs from Scotland and the USA . The link should change to your country, if not, email me to get a copy sent to you,,,

Each training session uses a time tested and proven step by step method for solid reliable success on the trail. 

You will learn to read the dog and the dog will learn to tell you what they find. Both of you will have a great introduction to the exciting world of Mantrailing dogs.

Order Ebooks directly from me at my online book store, the author of Family Disaster Dogs book and Start Mantrailing book

Have fun with your dogs today!

A part of the book profits go to Response Rescue International to support their volunteer mission to find missing persons..

For much less than the cost of  one in-person class get the book and train to advance level ! 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Dog’s Nose Knows!

 The dog’s nose knows!

All dogs have a natural ability to hunt with certain breeds developed and bred for specific types of hunting. 

Bird dogs are bred to hunt birds, herding dogs hunt missing herd members, fox hounds hunt fox, etc. 

Bloodhounds are the most well-known and oldest breed of dog bred to hunt people and the breed is classified as a trailing dog due the way they hunt.

Follow your dog's nose and look us up on Facebook at 
there's a group and a page
Twitter us at  @URDogCanRescueU

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

What is Mantrailing ? Where Man-Trailing Gets Its Name

 What is Mantrailing?

Me and Washee Mantrailing

Mantrailing is not a new way to train dogs, this way of finding people with dogs has been used by bloodhound owners for hundreds of years. Mantrailing is using a dog’s natural ability to follow cold aged trails to find a specific person who is hidden or missing.  

This method of finding people with a dog is quickly becoming a fun way to exercise reactive and high energy pet dogs that need more to do. Similar to hide and seek with a dog, owners of all breeds of dogs are learning how exciting this type of dog work is to participate in for fun and sport. 

Mantrailing is best known as a type of K9 Search and Rescue specialty in which the dog discriminates one person’s scent from all other person’s scent to locate the one particular person. Mantrailing is used by search and rescue dog teams or police to find missing persons and criminals. A few prisons today continue to use this type of trained dog and long ago plantations used mantrailing hounds to hunt down runaways.

Me and Washee Mantrailing

We found him.. look at my dog smile when she finds the boy! 
Dogs really love to find people!

Where Mantrailing got its Name

“Mantrailing” gets its name from bloodhounds. Many people believe the breed was named bloodhound because the dogs track blood trails which is not true. 

The dogs do not follow the person’s blood trail. 

The dogs follow the scent particles left by a person, sometimes many days, weeks and years later. 

The breed is named a bloodhound because this is the first dog breed to have a written recorded pedigree of its bloodline hundreds of years ago. They are the first “pure blood-ed -hound” or bloodhound. 
Bloodhound handlers long ago gave this type of scent work the name “Mantrailing” because the bloodhound is the trailing dog that hunts people.

My bloodhounds taught me how to Mantrail and now all dog breeds are learning how to do what bloodhounds do naturally. 

Family Disaster Dogs use Mantrailing to find missing and trapped family members after disasters. Any dog can learn to help its family in some way with the Family Disaster Dogs book.

Anyone who wants to train a dog to find people for Sport and Work can learn step by step with my new book "Start Mantrailing" 

Their legacy lives on in my books and this site

Wrinkledpups Daisy Mayham 

Bloodhound Wrinkledpups Daisy Mayham owner A. Higgins

Me and Rea Valley's Incredible Sue 

Blue Boy Homer

Wrinkledpups Sambo
Went to Work in CA and GA

Me and George he went to Texas

Pups went to SAR homes in several states, Canada and So. America

Author Amber Higgins

Author Amber Higgins
Click Pic to Visit my author page

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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