Tracking is when a dog uses its sense of smell to find and follow a scent trail. Dogs have a highly sensitive olfactory system, vastly superior to our own.
Tracking is a natural behavior for a dog and an essential skill in hunting and finding prey.As man’s best friend, this behavior has been put to many uses – for example in police work, search and rescue, and hunting.
As a sport, dog tracking grew out of police and army dog trials.First of all a track has to be laid. This is done by a person walking in a field to a pre-determined pattern.
At intervals, various articles are left on the ground – the idea being that the dog will find these as it follows the track.
After a set time period from laying the track, the dog and handler will be introduced into the start and then follow the track pattern, retrieving the articles as they go.
Competitors are judged on the accuracy with which they follow the track pattern and the number of articles retrieved.The level of difficulty will be affected by the complexity of the track pattern, the track’s age and cross contamination of scents. The handler’s relationship with the dog also has an impact on the dog’s tracking ability.
Dogs have a highly sensitive nose, vastly superior to our own. A dog relies on its sense of smell to interpret the world. When you train a dog to track you are training it to work with its strongest sense, its sense of smell. Tracking is something that dogs love to do.
Dog tracking is suitable for all breeds and ages, puppies and dogs with injuries or disabilities.
Tracking is even suitable for fearful and aggressive dogs and those with recall issues.
The owner can keep control because the dogs are tracked on a long line and harness.
Dogs find tracking mentally challenging and tiring as it demands a lot of focus and dogs have to make their own decisions on which track to follow. Even the liveliest dogs settle down and sleep after a tracking session, giving the owner some peace and quiet.
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