What is mantrailing?

What is mantrailing?

Mantrailing is teaching the dog to pursue a human trail; the odor stream that the person has left on his route. This trail could consist of gaseous sweat residue, hormone substances & exhaled air and the odor components of soil damage. The precise composition is not yet fully scientifically known.

The dog is put to work and uses its detection skills. He does this by using his very well-developed nose. A trained team (handler and dog) can reconstruct the route traveled through cooperation (management) and find the sought person that way. The handler is trained to properly observe the behavior of his dog (reading the dog). As a result, a good handler can see if the dog actually smells the smell of the wanted person or whether there is absolutely no smell of that person anywhere to be found (interpret the body language).


We use the dogs natural ability and passion for hunting to build the right motivation for mantrailing.

  • Mantrailing is an unconstrained method of searching in which the dog can work independently from its handler.
  • Moments of teamwork between handler and dog are coached.
  • The learning trajectory contains a step-by-step structure. After learning and strengthening the basic principles, a gradual introduction of changes follows.

Working with dogs is done in a dog-friendly manner at Mantrailing Overijssel; based on respect and trust. The learning methods are based on scientifically based principles.

In our training method we emphasize;

  • Enabling the dog to work independantly.
  • Teamwork when necessary.
  • Teaching basic skills with a gradual increase in the level of difficulty.
  • Specific exercises are trained seperate.
  • Practising double blind trails.
  • We certify mantrailing sport levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 with unknown runners in unknown areas.

Is mantrailing suitable for all dogs?

Yes. In principle, all dogs are specialists in the use of their nose through their good sense of smell. By the differentiation of breeding, there are certain breeds that have more developed tracking skills (e.g. sweat dogs, beagles and bloodhounds).

There are also dogs, such as some hunting breeds, that are bred for hunting game by using their nose. These dogs are talented at detecting odors and finding their source.

There are many breeds, each with their own special breed characteristics. Each breed searches in its own individual way, and so does each dog. Mantrailing is suitable for all dogs at any age as long as they are in reasonably good health.

Mantrailing as a leisure activity will give the dog satisfaction and the opportunity to develop. We call this sports trailing. It’s a relaxing activity for both owner and dog. For dogs with specific behavioural problems trailing can be therapeutic, for example build confidence in an insecure dog (theratrailing).

For talented teams (both dog and handler), joining a professional search and rescue group is an option.