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.
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 www.familydisasterdogs.com
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
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