What does a tracking dog do?
Tracking dogs are highly skilled canines who are trained extensively to follow a person’s scent. Tracking dogs are can be used as working dogs. Police officials often use them to collect evidence, locate missing people and to conduct search and rescue missions. They are often used to locate animals shot down by hunters or sport to compete in competitions and tracking trails.
Bloodhounds are the most often used because of their superior scent; German shepherds are a close second.
As in any training, you should be upbeat and enthusiastic when training your puppy for tracking. Games are a good way to start, particularly Hide N’ Seek, where you just run and duck behind a piece of furniture and call out to the dog. Another game is Find It, where you’ll hide her favorite toy. Although she’ll begin her search by visually looking for it, eventually, she’ll have to rely on scent work.
When she progresses to more advanced work, you’ll need to create a track line, which will require flags (bought at a garden store), a tracking line and a tracking harness (both available at pet stores.
Put little morsels of food along the track. You’ll also need two articles of clothing—one for the track for the dog to find and one that you keep tightly in a plastic bag. Make sure your dog is nearby so she can watch.
When it’s time for her to track, attach the tracking line to the harness. Let her sniff the article of clothing that you’ve been holding and say “go find it.” Stand behind the dog while she goes to get it. Praise her lavishly when she locates it.
Of course, this is a short track. Eventually, it’ll get even more advanced when you make the tracking line longer and add distractions.