Mantrailing

By Kathryn Jones

What is Mantrailing

Mantrailing is teaching your dog to find a person based on their unique scent, very similar to search and rescue dogs, but we do it for fun. Mantrailing harnesses a dog’s natural ability to trail, using their nose and turning it into a fun sport.

We start off showing the dog the “runner” or “missing person” running away with their favourite food or toys. This helps to increase the dog’s motivation to trail for the person. Then we build up to not seeing the person go at all and the dog learning to sniff something the person has left or has touched. We have a specific ritual to start with at Mantrailing UK, using the Kocher method. We use harnesses and trail the dogs on a long line, allowing them to lead us to the missing person. We are building the foundations for the game, so as we progress we start to put our trust in the dogs’ super noses.

It is for all breeds and all behaviour issues, or attitudes. All breeds excel at mantrailing as all dogs have noses, from the smallest Chihuahua to the largest Cane Corso. Obviously more working bred breeds, such as the Visla, Pointer or Spaniel, tend to take to it quicker. But any breed can do it.

All dogs instinctively know how to use their nose, regardless of breed, sex, age, and temperament. Have you ever watched your dog following the trail of a long-gone rabbit? You know the dog will never find it but the thrill of the search is as much fun as finding a rabbit would be!

It’s a natural ability, and it’s an amazing sense we can’t even begin to comprehend. Dogs can actually tell the time from scent, and its direction of travel from its age. Sniffing in dogs has been proven to calm them – it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, in the blood and helps the dog feel calmer.

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