Does your dog love sniffing? Are you looking for something new to try with them? Looking for a low-impact activity for your old or injured dog? Or does your dog suffer with anxiety?
What is Tracking?
Tracking is something all dogs are born able to do. Most dogs love following scent- whether it's the smell of squirrels, food or even fox poo! Tracking uses your dog's amazing power of smell, but instead they are taught to follow human scent, finding useful end objects such as your phone, keys or credit cards! This is taught by pairing the smell of human skin rafts (tiny flakes of human skin that naturally fall off your body) with upturned ground and your dog's favourite treats. The way in which we train Tracking ensures that every dog is set up to succeed and all dogs, regardless of breed or age, are able to take part!
What is Search & Rescue?
Search and Rescue is like a glorified version of hide and seek for your dog, but instead of just searching with their eyes, they use a combination of air-scenting and tracking, too. Dogs are taught a search, find, indication and re-find, so that they can take their owner to the "victim". It is a very fun activity for dog and handler, and you will be amazed at your dog's ability!
Why Tracking and Search & Rescue?
Scentwork has been shown to massively benefit dogs with behavioural and training problems, and completely satisfy your dog’s need for mental stimulation. It is a low-impact, highly rewarding activity which is great for all dogs from puppies to veterans- we have tracked with dogs from 15 weeks to 18 years of age! It is also open to any breed of dog, our canine students range from typical tracking breeds like German shepherds and springer spaniels to less obvious breeds such as French bulldogs and border terriers, all with high success rates.
Tracking and Behaviour
Tracking teaches dogs to use their nose and interact with their environment in a controlled way while making positive associations with the world around them. One of the first things people notice when their dogs are nervous is that they stop sniffing- this is common in reactive dogs, as when they are anxious dogs rely heavily on eyesight and movement. Encouraging them to feel comfortable relaxing in different environments really helps these dogs, and the improvements it makes to their mood is often visible within a couple of sessions. One dog we worked with was fearful of men, so was too anxious to put her nose down in her first tracking session when Jack was nearby. By session two, she was confident enough to track happily, showing nice, calm behaviour, and during the session she actively chose to approach Jack. Another success story includes a 13 year old reactive border terrier who hadn't actively used his nose for years because he was too anxious, and after just a few tracking sessions, his owner reported that he was happily sniffing when on walks again. Tracking has amazing effects on dogs' confidence, happiness and overall behaviour and we have so far had successes with dogs suffering from dog reactivity, human reactivity, noise reactivity and separation anxiety.
How to get involved
We offer services specifically tailored to you and your dog’s needs. Whether that’s one of our fun group classes, where you get the pleasure of observing other people’s dogs, which you can view in the shop, or a 1-2-1 service where your dog gets the space it needs to perform to the best of its ability.