Sign-up for our email 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

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

New Audible Book Coming Soon-Start Mantrailing Train a Dog to Find People

 Here's the News!

New Audible Book Release

December 2022  

A Great Gift in time for Christmas 2022 !

This book is training dogs around the world to find people and now everyone will be able to listen to the step by step lessons on a phone while in the field working the dog with the Audible book.

 If you have ever thought wanted to find a fun outdoor activity to do with your dogs or get involved in finding missing persons with a dog this book is for you! Already training and working scent dogs or Search dogs? This book will help you get started or possibly learn a few skills to hone your dog's skills.

This book is tailored to all breeds of dogs, all ages and sizes of pups can learn to find people. Amaze your friends and family with how fast and easy your dog can find them! You and your dog will be finding a hidden person the very first day when you follow the easy step by step instructions and pictures. 

You can learn about K9SAR and what it takes to be a Search and Rescue dog team that is called out to find lost and missing persons or you can just have a fun sport to do with your dogs.

The book Cover dog Amber with her handler are a members of RRI No. Scotland
The book features pictures of American and UK mantrailing teams 

Below is USA Mantrailing Team Bella working a hot trail after a person

Have a listen to the sample preview of the Family Disaster Dog book at audible for no cost to hear how the book will sound on your device at this link to the Family Disaster Dogs audio book

 Here's my author page where you can hear all my books  


Be sure to sign up for updates and news at the pop up window that will open 

if you reload this post. 

click to See and buy the paperback and e-books directly from me at the book shop page

Have a Great Dog Day!

Friday, October 21, 2022

The Fundamentals of Keeping Your Dog in Good Health

 Giving your dog the happy and healthy life they deserve is your number one job as a pet owner, there’s no doubt about that. But wanting to do that and actually making it happen are two different things. We’re going to talk today about how to get the basics of looking after your dog right and how to maintain their good health. So if that’s something you want to get better at, read on now.

Choose a Vet You Trust and Attend Regular Checkups

First of all, you should take the time to search for a vet whose services you can trust. When you’ve done that, you can make sure that you’re able to put their health in safe hands when it comes to checking for problems and finding the right treatments when they’re not feeling well. You’ll also need to take them to regular checkups so any issues can be spotted early.

Be There to Give Love and Attention

It’s important that you’re there to give your dog love and attention because that’s what they crave more than anything else from their owners. If you’re not there to spend enough time with them, they might become depressed or start to experience separation anxiety. That’s why people should only get dogs if they have enough time to be around them.

Find the Products That Help You

Finding the products that are going to help you keep your dog happy and healthy is something else you’ll need to think about. There’s no shortage of great pet supplies out there, covering everything from healthy dog food to treats, toys and everything else in between. You’ll also need to find a comfortable and supportive bed that they can relax in.

Image Source - CC0 License

Provide Them with the Levels of Daily Exercise They Need

Making sure that they get the amount of daily exercise they need is obviously something that’s very important as well. If they’re not getting that exercise, they can take out their energy in other ways. For example, some dogs might develop behavioral problems or become destructive in the home, and that’s probably not what you want to happen. So make sure that you give them the exercise they need according to their size, breed and age.

Balance Treats with a Healthy Weight

Finally, you should make sure that you’re keeping an eye on the weight of your dog. If they’re gaining too much weight it could be because you’re feeding them too much, giving them too much human food from the dinner table to giving them treats. Although you’ll want to offer them treats now and then, that has to be balanced with maintaining a healthy weight.

As you can see, there are plenty of things you need to get right and focus on if you’re going to give your dog the happy and healthy life they need. It’s really important that you get the basics and fundamentals right before you start thinking about anything else. So work on each of the categories we’ve talked about above.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Here's a couple Interesting K9SAR and Mantraining News and Research Articles

 Hi everyone, 

I hope this post finds everyone doing great! 

Lately I have been reading and researching online more than usual. I came across some interesting articles about search dogs, mantrailing, working K9SAR dogs, and sport K9SAR I thought viewers might like too. 

I always have an open mind when it comes to other people's research and dog training methods. The situation and environment plays such a large role in search and rescue with ever changing variables its not a subject that can be put in one box.  

I'm showing the links in full so people can see they are real.

Thanks for stopping by.

The Truth Behind The FBI's Magic Bloodhounds

Humans and bloodhounds — descended from 7th century French St. Hubert hounds — have a history of working together both for hunting and tracking.

Read the whole article at :

Copyright/citation is on Apple News

Obedience training effects on search dog performance

Competent search dogs should be accurate, reliable, and work independently, yet be responsive to handler commands. The aim of this study was to identify training factors that contribute to producing competent search dogs. Demographics, obedience training methods, the age training was initiated, previous canine training experience of the trainer, and time spent training were determined using 177 responses to an online survey accessible through the National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA). 

Continue reading  HERE at Applied Animal Behaviour  Science

Citation (copyright)

Alexander, Michael & Friend, Ted & Haug, Lore. (2011). Obedience training effects on search dog performance. Applied Animal Behaviour Science - APPL ANIM BEHAV SCI. 132. 152-159. 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.04.008. 

source-online search of free images

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

What Makes a Mantrailing Team -Train a Dog to Find People 2 of 6 Series

Get Started Mantrailing 

Post: 2 of  6

Train a Dog to Find People  

Note: If this is your first time visiting this site or reading about finding people with a dog using Mantrailing please read the first post and Introduction for this Mantrailing Training series. Each week is being linked together so everyone can follow along no matter when they find this blog. 

This is Post 2 of 6 in the Mantrailing Training Series

Follow the steps below to start your dog....

Before we get started on this journey of finding people with dogs, I would like to point out a very important aspect of dog training. Every dog trainer has their own way of working with dogs.

The way each of us handles and train dogs develops over time with our education and experience.  As dog trainers gain experience we learn what methods works for us. We learn what works with our body language, style and belief systems. Over time we form our own dog training or handling method and pass the method onto students. 

Working with a new dog or group often teaches us something new too.  We never stop learning.  I want to encourage everyone to never stop learning new ways to train as you develop your own method of handling based on what you learn here and along the trail.


With Mantrailing ( Man-Trailing) becoming popular with other breeds of dogs in Search and Rescue and also as a recreational and competitive dog sport I noticed a need for a simple to understand training book that is suitable for beginners and experienced handlers who want to start on the exciting journey of finding people with a dog using Mantrailing. 

Now that the book is finished and available I'm sharing the book's lessons with everyone here on my site as a way for me to say Thank You for visiting and following us here at Family Disaster Dogs.

Sign-up for new posts at the pop-up window or follow me on social media to get each week's lesson. 

Over the next several weeks you will have the opportunity to learn the basics of training with a dog to be a Mantrailing team here on Family Disaster Dogs. 

Read my post (click > What is Mantrailing? Where Man Trailing gets its name,

In the series of posts, you will learn what makes a Mantrailing dog team and what you need to train a dog to find people.

You will learn how to get started training the dog with step by step instructions for laying training trails and finding the hidden person. 

There will be suggestions for weekly practice indoors and outdoors. After using this method to actually work with the dog and get started finding people you will be ready to do mantrailing for the fun of it and amaze onlookers with how smart your dog is! 

For more of a challenge and to advance training for those of you who want to train for K9SAR and practice more difficult trails for sport. I suggest you read my book or contact me for lessons.

Over the next few weeks, I touch upon a small amount of scent behavior and environmental variables that come into play during searches to help you understand scent dog science without the confusion many people encounter first starting out.

The final post will give everyone a better idea of what is involved in actual search dog work.  

In the book, there are examples of training trails, maps and a dog training log sheet to copy off for record keeping.

If you ever have any questions, feel free to contact me at via the contact page on

I hope this 6 post series starts you on a great journey into the exciting world of Mantrailing with your dog.

Visit my FDD K9 Store online to get a signed author copy of the books directly from me. 

All my books are available on Amazon Kindle Unlimited and Paperback, here's the author page.

For those interested in learning about K9SAR Sport seminars and trials in the USA visit the American Rettungshunde Sport Association  an AWDF Member Club. If you would like to learn more in the northern Arkansas area and train together contact me from the contact page above. 

(Email me your phone number, if I post mine here I get flooded with spam calls)

Want me to get your dog started Mantrailing then show you how to handle the dog for work or sport, maybe just for a great way to work off  your dog's energy and have fun?  Broad and train now available on 5 acres. Email me

Now Let's Get Started

What Makes a Mantrailing Team


What you need to Train a dog to Mantrail

The Dog

Most dogs can learn how to trail and find a person using the exercises in this book because trailing is like hunting to a dog. Following the scent trail of other animals, in this case humans, is a natural ability a dog has in order to hunt and survive in the wild. The breed of dog is not as important as the determination, endurance and stamina of the dog and handler to go the extra mile to find their person.

Age of Dog

Dogs as young as 9 weeks old can start to learn how to follow a person’s trail as long as the puppy is not ran to hard and long they will have a great time with you enjoying this fun game of hide and seek. As the puppy grows in size so can the distance and difficulty of the trail.

Any age is a good time to start mantrailing with your dog because this is wonderful physical and mental exercise for both of you. Even older dogs will enjoy getting outside and using their nose to find a person. Elderly dogs may not be able to work in mantrailing but they can still have fun and stay in shape.

When training a dog to work in search and rescue there are a few things to consider in regards to the age of the dog. The best age for a dog to start more difficult training is about 6 months old and not over three years old because the dog and handler team generally have to train one to two years before the team is certified operational and qualified for active service with law enforcement or emergency response agencies.

Many search dog trainers and handlers agree starting a dog over three years old on a two year training program means the dog will be five years old at qualifying time. In this case, the dog will not have many years of working life before retirement.

SAR groups think about the longest working life of a dog and the time the training takes. For instance, a dog started training by six months old should pass advanced level testing and qualify when they are less than three years old which adds up to a dog 3 ½ years old with an average lifespan of 12-14 years old. The dog only really has about 6 to 8 years of excellent health and working endurance if we are lucky.

With dedicated training the dog team can put in more hours of training time as they advance to be ready for testing sooner.

Plus as the dog age injury may more easily occur and the dog’s endurance will be challenged.

I have trained older dogs that passed testing and were active for quite a few years so this is a decision I feel is best left up to the owner/handler/trainer that knows the dog personally.


The dog handler should dress in comfortable pants, durable shoes and layered clothing suited for the weather. You as the handler will be following the dog at a steady pace and must be able to walk the distance. Although you are able to take a break to rest a few minutes on the trail (resting is especially encouraged on hot days) you will not be sitting down.

A mile is much longer than it sounds after you have walked a mile in a dog’s paw prints.

Equipment and gear

ü  Dog Collar (flat leather or nylon)

ü  Regular leash (6 ft. / 1.8m)

ü  Comfortable clothes

Equipment bag to store and carry

ü  Dog Harness

ü  Tracking leash (20 ft. / 6 m)

ü  Water bottle and bowl

ü  Paper notepad and pencil

ü  Biodegradable trail markers; bits of paper, cloth or ribbon

I do not use food or the dog will look for food but I do carry dog treats or toy for after training reward.

72 hour Pack, aka Bug-out bag, Go-bag, Rucksack, and Carry All bag to hold survival gear. K9SAR teams are recommended and in some countries required to carry a 72 hour pack. Check with your local officials to know what gear is required in your area. For a detailed list of what to pack you can look at my book, Evacuate with Your Dog’s Help or my Family Disaster Dogs website.

Scent Article Equipment

ü  Handler Waist Bag with pockets to wear and carry scent article, leash, baggies for evidence, etc.

ü  New unused paper lunch bags

ü  Ziploc Bags or Jar to store small scent articles

ü  Large new paper bag to fit larger personal item scent articles

Continued in the Next Post 

click to Get the Book Start Mantrailing to learn everything you want to know about finding people with dogs.

My Daisy was a Mantrailing dog with me and her pups went to several Search and Rescue Teams

Friday, August 5, 2022

Tips to Giving Your Shih Tzu Dog a Happy Grooming Experience


Tips to Giving Your Shih Tzu Dog a Happy Grooming Experience

Shih tzus are not only known for their affection and elegance but also for their long and soft coat. To maintain its softness and shine, pet owners take their dogs for grooming. While you can buy a dog comb from the pet store and brush your shih tzu’s coat, a trip to the dog grooming salon is important to ensure the ears are cleaned and the coat is trimmed properly. However, being handled by a stranger and the sound of the razor can be stressful to your dog. Here are some tips to make your dog’s grooming experience a happy one:


  1. Choose the groomer carefully.

Do not take your shih tzu to just any grooming salon just because it is near your place or its services are cheaper. It’s important to evaluate the groomer first before leaving your dog in his or her care. Go for one who is a dog lover as well. You can easily spot this by the way he or she treats and handles your pet, say, while trimming the nails or cleaning the ears. As a pet owner, you can sense if the other person loves animals and you can use your instincts to do this. The salon should also be clean and have a pleasant smell. You can also ask for recommendations from people you know which also have dogs.

  1. Let your shih tzu get used to going to the grooming salon.

You might want to first take your dog to the groomer you have chosen without really having your shih tzu groomed yet. Just bring your dog to the pet salon and let him or her get be familiar with the environment. You can also give your pet treats so your shih tzu will associate the place with receiving treats and being happy.

  1. Choose a grooming salon with glass dividers. 

Your shih tzu can be stressed due to separation anxiety. You can prevent this by making your pet feel secure while being bathed. Choose a salon designed in such as way that you can see what’s happening inside, preferably one with glass walls so your shih tzu will know you are just there watching. Moreover, you will also know if the groomer really knows what he or she is doing and that your dog is not mishandled.

  1. Groom your pet at home.

Even for our pets, there is no place like home. If there is a grooming salon that provides home service, this is the best grooming decision for your shih tzu. Dogs are aware of their surroundings and the home is the safest place they feel more comfortable and safe.

By taking these things in consideration, you can make your shih tzu’s grooming experience a pleasant one.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Benefits of Animal Therapy

Mental health is often a topic that people are hesitant to talk about. It can be challenging to open up about our feelings, especially if we don't feel like we have anyone to talk to. That's where animal therapy comes in. Dogs are one of the most common animals used in therapy, and for a good reason! They provide many benefits that can help improve our mental health. This blog post will discuss five ways dogs are used as a treatment for mental health issues.

1) Dogs can provide comfort and companionship.

If you're feeling lonely or isolated, spending time with a dog can help. Dogs are known for their ability to provide unconditional love and support, which can be incredibly helpful when dealing with mental health issues. They offer us a sense of connection and companionship that can be difficult to find elsewhere. Breeds like a schnauzer, Kerris Havanese, and Pomeranians are known for their friendly nature and companionship. 

Additionally, dogs can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Spending time with a calm, relaxed dog can help us feel more relaxed. Petting a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are important for reducing stress levels.

Via pexels 

2) Dogs can help us get exercise.

Exercise is an essential part of maintaining mental health. It helps to release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Additionally, exercise can help reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality. All of these benefits can be extremely helpful when dealing with mental health issues.

Walking a dog is a great way to get some exercise while spending time with a furry friend. Dogs need to walk, so it's a win-win situation! Getting out in nature and enjoying some fresh air can also be beneficial for our mental health.

3) Dogs can help us socialize.

Mental health issues can often lead to social isolation. Spending time with a dog can help us break out of our comfort zone and interact with other people. Dogs are a great icebreaker and can help us start conversations with others. They can also provide support and encouragement when we're feeling shy or anxious.

Meeting new people and interacting with them on a regular basis is important for maintaining mental health. Dogs can help make this process easier and more enjoyable.

4) Dogs can provide a sense of purpose.

Via pexels 

When dealing with mental health issues, it can be easy to feel like we don't have a purpose in life. Having a dog can help us feel needed and appreciated. Dogs rely on us for their care, which can help us feel more capable and competent. They also offer us unconditional love and companionship, which can boost our self-esteem.

5) Dogs can help us live in the present.

Mental health issues often cause us to dwell on past events or worry about the future. This can lead to a feeling of being stuck in a negative loop. Dogs can help break this cycle by living in the present moment. They don't dwell on the past or worry about the future, which can help us do the same.


Via pexels 

Dogs offer many benefits that can be helpful for mental health issues. If you're considering getting a dog, be sure to do your research to find the right breed for you. Each type of dog has its own unique personality and needs, so it's crucial to find one that will fit nicely into your life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Family Disaster Dogs Interview with Delivery Rank

Amber Higgins and Family Disaster Dogs Interview  

Great News!

I was just interviewed for Family Disaster Dogs by DeliveryRank, an online resource for meal delivery services and subscription boxes with a blog covering everything from nutritional guidance to health trends and advancements in the food and beverage industry.

They have recently launched a new segment for Pet Owners to bring great pet food and food news to your door. 

Have a Look at the interview here or go to

                               Rea Valley's Incredible Sue who is mentioned in the interview

Please share with your friends so everyone can benefit and know can have pet meals delivered too!

Be sure to Follow DeliveryRank and Family Disaster Dogs on Social Media. 

Family Disaster Dogs is on Twitter as @URDogCanRescueU

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Be Ready for Wildfire Season with Pets


click here to Check out the Book on Amazon  and Audible 

Get an author signed book directly from me at

This book explains how-to evacuate with pets.

How-to make a bug-out (survival) bag for owners and dogs to carry.

Every dog of any age or size can help its family evacuate. Be prepared for disasters with your pets.

Learn what to expect at disaster shelters and from pet rescue during disasters.

Included is a detailed expanded list of survival items for pets and owners with step-by step instructions to train your dog to carry a saddlebag to hold items to evacuate and "bug-out" with.

Plus Pet CPR instructions and how-to calm a frightened pet.

How-to find a lost pet.

USA Evacuation Law for pets.

From the author of Family Disaster Dogs, books, blog and lessons.

Here's a no cost preview of this small valuable book.

Please leave a review, thank you for helping others to learn what to do too!

Monday, June 6, 2022

What You Need to Know About Ticks on Your Dog in Ontario

Ticks might look small and innocuous, but they can pass on diseases to your dog. And ticks can be transmitted to you when you pet your dog. If you notice your dog has ticks, it's crucial to act quickly. You can help your dog by regularly brushing the hair and examining the skin for small ticks. 

To safeguard your dog from falling victim to any tick-borne disease:

  • Be mindful of where your dog is while walking in grassy and shrubbed areas.

  • Develop the habit of routinely checking your dog thoroughly for ticks at the end of every day.

  • Consult a veterinarian on pet medication options to help prevent ticks. 


Regular veterinarian-approved medication to control ticks is essential if your dog goes into tick habitats.

Tick medications don't repel ticks but are instead designed to kill ticks. Dog owners should continue checking for ticks on their dogs daily, even when their dogs are taking tick medicine.

What time of year are ticks most prevalent?

Ticks are most active in humid and warm weather, thriving during the spring and summer and reemerging in the fall. The peak months are April and October. They can be found anywhere in Ontario if the temperature is above freezing. 


What to do if you find a tick on your dog

Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove the tick by carefully grasping the tick as close as possible to the skin. Slowly and steadily pull the tick upward and away from your dog's skin. With a steady hand, pull gently upward  until the skin the tick is attached to starts to tent, then wait for several seconds. At this point, the tick will usually release the skin. 

You want to refrain from pulling too aggressively or fast, which risks crushing the tick's body. Also, avoid twisting the tweezers or squeezing the tick’s belly or body. This is because if any of the tick’s gut contents enter the area the tick was latched on to, it will increase the chances of disease transmission. 

After removing the tick, kill it by submerging it in a small container of alcohol before placing it in a plastic bag and discarding it into the waste. Take a picture to document what type of tick you removed in case your dog develops symptoms. Since there are different species of ticks and tick-borne diseases, to avoid the risk of transmission, never crush a tick. The vast majority of tick bites occur without the transmission of any tick-borne illness, however, after tick removal, monitor your dog for any of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fatigue (reluctance to move)

  • Pale gums

  • Depression

  • Seizures

  • Swelling and soreness in limbs

  • Any other symptoms can occur

How long does a tick have to be attached before it will transmit a disease?


A tick has to be attached for a significant amount of time before a disease can be transmitted. However, it’s hard to narrow down the time period. In some studies, diseases have been spread in less than 24 hours, but most of the time it takes longer. Checking your pet for ticks every 24 hours is a good way to significantly reduce your dog’s risk of getting a tick-borne illness. 

How long does it take Lyme disease or a tick-borne infection to manifest after finding a tick on your dog?

The time varies depending on the disease or infection. Once the tick is embedded into the skin after an extended period, the disease is transmitted. It enters the bloodstream, affecting different body organs. Only 5-10% of infected dogs develop clinical signs of Lyme disease. Signs usually develop within 2-5 months of infection.

How does Lyme disease affect your dog?

If left untreated, Lyme disease could progress into serious complications, leading to kidney failure. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help ease discomfort and resolve symptoms.

If Lyme disease is transmitted, your dog could experience: 

  • Kidney disease

  • Soreness in the limbs

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Loss of appetite

  • Fever

Other diseases and infections ticks can spread to your dog include:

  • Anaplasmosis: fever, muscle aches, and other uncomfortable symptoms, including lethargy and loss of appetite Babesiosis: anemia, pale gums, weakness, fever, body aches, loss of appetite, bruising, jaundice

  • Tick Paralysis: heavy breathing, difficulty breathing, loss of muscle function

  • Ehrlichiosis: weight loss, fever, swollen lymph nodes

How To Tick-proof Your Yard

Regularly mow your lawn, and use a weed wacker in hard-to-reach areas or against fencing to trim long grass. 

If you frequently take your dog on hikes, check for ticks around the neck and ears, and do a full-body examination post-hike. Humans can also contract tick-borne diseases. Always check your body, especially underarms, behind knees, and around your wrists, after leaving an area with dense grass or shrubs. 

It’s very important that you schedule an online telehealth appointment with a Vetster veterinarian to formulate the best and most effective plan to prevent flea and tick infestation.


UK Visitors

Welcome UK visitors 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 North Scotland Search Dog "Amber" on the cover and her teammates in the book, plus American dogs I know. 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 visit my book page above to order from me.

Author Amber Higgins

Author Amber Higgins
Click Pic to Visit my author page

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...

Popular Posts

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 !

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

Purchases from affiliate links help Keep Family Disaster Dogs Site Free!

Check this deal out and support us! Thanks