Sign-up for our email Newsletter

Mobile Devices Note:

There's more to this site! Go to the bottom of the page for a list of posts or click "View Web Version" to see the whole site. Please excuse the Ads that keep this site free for you!

Find More Lessons and Articles

To see all the dog training posts (Over 260 pages)
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the list and most popular titles.

SEARCH Family Disaster Dogs 260+ pages

Thursday, August 11, 2022

My Dog is Prepared Are You ?

How are you Prepared? 

Post answers in the comments...we'd love to hear from you!

Be ready for pet medical emergencies with one of these handy first aid kits I use and recommend. Click the links below

Designed for Dogs and Cats
Kits Approved by Dr. Terri Melton, DVM
Emergency Life Saving Skills and Supplies
Includes Pet First Aid Guide
Includes links to Patch A Pet First Aid Video Demonstrations

Adventure Medical Kits' Trail Dog First Aid Kit is a great idea to have on hand during outdoor dog training, hiking and with mantrailing dogs. This kit fits nicely in your dog's go bag too!

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.

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.

Start Mantrailing Free Preview on Audible, Kindle and Paperback

Featured Lesson

My Dog is Prepared Are You ?

How are you Prepared?  Post answers in the comments...we'd love to hear from you! Be ready for pet medical emergencies with one of these...

Popular Posts

My Children's Picture Book

My Children's Picture Book
Click the Image to see the Book

Past Posts and Lessons

To see all the lessons and dog care articles on this site:

Look at the dates listed below and click one date to bring up all the articles and lessons published at this site in one page for each date.

There are well over 200 pages that have been published here at Family Disaster Dogs since 2011.

New lessons or dog care articles continue to be posted weekly.

The list below is the easiest way to find all the information here.

Enjoy the search and follow that dog!

Blog Archive

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

Advertising Disclosure

Disclosure: Some of the links on this site are affiliate links that I have reviewed and approved. Additionally links to products such as at Amazon are products I have personally used. Affiliate links means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. The proceeds earned are not much and used to keep this Family Disaster Dogs website free to the public. Thank you for your support.

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

Check this deal out and support us! Thanks

Sign up for Audible Plus, an all-you-can-listen membership that offers access to thousands of titles, including the Family Disaster Dogs audiobooks and a vast array of other audiobooks, podcasts and originals that span genres, lengths, and formats.