Training phase

In the training phase, a number of points are important:

  • Building motivation and drive so the dog loves to work.
  • A gradual build-up, gradual increase in difficulty.
  • Working on different elements separately.
  • Setting up exercises  that are set up double-blind, without any support.
  • Reality, remaining within the limits of what is feasible.
  • Working on leash handling skills.
In order to develop the motivation for mantrailing and maintaining it, use is made of the innate talents of the dog to come to his food, namely hunting. The instinctual behaviors that occur exhibit cohesion; they come in a certain order. This behavior is called the chain of hunting. This chain consists of pieces of behavior with one single purpose.
  • Search for traces (search drive)
  • The persecution of traces (tracking, searching drive)
  • Chasing prey (pursuit)
  • Pouncing on the prey, mice jump (prey drive)
  • Halting (prey drive)
  • Shaking (prey drive)
During mantrailing the dog is excited to be able to express some of these urges. The motivation of the dog in the hunt is converted into motivation to want to follow the people in mantrailing. This makes and keeps the dog motivated in a natural way. We use an exercise to encourage this behaviour, called fire-trails. The dog is encouraged to chase someone. We do however try to train from a state of relaxation, so fire-trails are used as briefly as possible and in some cases it's not needed at all. Situations are presented so that the dog is encouraged to use its nose. Every dog is different and each handler is different. An individual and personal coaching is requested.
If the handler recognizes properly the behavior of his dog on a basic trail and is able  to see if the dog has lost its scent, variations are made. Practice shows that the variations below are still very difficult. These must be practiced separately or staged.

  • Surface changes: from sandy soil, grass, woods, to the trailing on hard surfaces, such as paving stones, pebbles, gravel, asphalt, sidewalks and gutters.
  • Crossing roads and paths.
  • Strong winds from various directions: dispersal of the trail.
  • Trails between the trails of other people: trail differentiation.
  • Decoy traces of other animals and other dogs!
  • Distractions on the road such as traffic, screaming kids but also walkers with other dogs, etc.
  • Trailing around obstacles such as buildings.
  • The age of the trail before it is pursued.