On Saturday 4th July me and Sacha took an intro to mantrailing workshop with House of Hound hydrotherapy.
I have been taking Sacha to use the underwater treadmill there for nearly a year now following his cruciate surgery last year initially for rehab and now for maintenance. We have always enjoyed giving different dog sports a try so when Victoria started telling me about mantrailing it sounded right up our ally and had to give it a go.
Mantrailing requires the dog to identify a specific scent and trail it. so in this case an item used by the ‘lost’ person to track and find where they are hiding.
For a pet dog it is a great way of building your bond as it is great fun for both of you and a different approach to working your dog as it exercises their mind and fufills a biological need as they have to use their incredible noses.
The day starts with an introduction of what to expect and how the workshop will be run,followed by a demonstration.For us it was Gracie the beautiful spaniel who found teddy from his sock. Victoria has been running these classes for over a year along side the hydrotherapy and works all her own dogs ranging from spaniels to pugs to staffies so it is perfect for any breed.
Each dog is worked individually, you bring them out of the car and let them take in the scents like they would naturally, then you get them dressed so they know it’s time to work, with a harness and longline.
With it being an introduction class the dogs need to learn what the game is so the person they need to find calls the dogs as they run and hide dropping their scent article, this can be anything the person has on them. You send your dog to smell this article then let their nose take over and follow the trail to the hidden person. To give the dogs incentive to do this the hidden person then treats the dog with either high value food or a toy depending on what drives your dog and what is most rewarding for them when they are found.
you can quickly see the dogs picking up the idea of the game and growing in both confidence and enthusiasm. So as the day goes on they get quicker at finding the person. Over time you can process so the dog doesn’t see the person they are looking for only the article with the scent to follow.
After you have completed the intro workshop and received your certificate you are invited to join any of the training classes that are held regularly thereafter.