The trail is the residual trace of human odors.
Scent molecules attach themselves to different materials in their environment. The adhesion on natural soil is different from that on hard surfaces. There is also greater adhesion between the joints on a pavement, along hedges and walls.
These particles move and change continuously. This is due to the weather and the time elapsed. For example, wind may make the dog smell the person's scent on the other side of the path than where the person actually walked !!
A trail that is older changes with time. You can compare a fresh trail with seeing a bright color. The older the trail is, the more faded the colors become.
It is more difficult for the dog to continue pursuing the older trail (faint color) among the other fresher scent trails (bright colors).
The mantrail dogs search in a harness to which a long line is attached to permit free movement.
These harnesses can be used everywhere, in the wilderness as well as in the city.
For the handler, it is important to observe their dog and to be able to recognize its behavior. The handler must learn to see if their dog has the scent of the trail and if the dog is also on its pursue (body language).
Recognizing this trail behavior is essential.
It is important to know what the behavior of the dog looks like when he has absolutely no scent to follow. The dog then excludes that direction . We call this "the dog gives a negative."
Sometimes the dog loses the scent of the trail completely. You must also learn to recognize these behaviors, so that you can give your dog the necessary support at the right time and in the appropriate way.
The trail behavior looks different for each dog. But there are similarities. If the dog goes forward, pulling on the leash does not mean yet that he is pursuing the trail. A lot of practice is required to learn to "read" your dog well.
So it is not important to get your dog from point A to point B, but that you can interpret its behavior during the entire way with all its obstacles.
The training of mantrailing dogs for professional service takes 3 years.
The dogs search for missing persons. These could be children, lost people or sometimes confused individuals.
Well trained mantrailing teams have the ability to follow trails on different surfaces, such as woodland, sand, grass mixed with stones, gravel roads and asphalt.
Mantrailing dogs (are able to, to some degree,) pursue older tracks. They also search in areas where other people have walked.