Updated: Dec 24, 2018
Off-leash pet trailing, my specialty, has proven to be the most effective means of successfully finding missing pets across a variety of different terrains. My dogs are trailing dogs, making them uniquely qualified to help find your missing pet. When provided with a specific scent to follow in search of a lost pet, they get to work.
Each of my dogs are cross-functionally trained, specializing in scent-specific trailing as well as remains detection. Remains detection means they can locate deceased pets and scent-specific trailing means, if necessary. Trailing means they pick up the scent regardless of where it is – on the ground, on a building, on bushes and trees, or in the air and by not being attached to a leash – or to me – they are better able to follow that scent as freely as they need.
Not all dogs can use scent trailing as effectively as our dogs. Off-leash dogs can cover more ground and navigate more challenging terrain than a search dog tethered to a human because they aren’t forced to stay on a specific path to accommodate the human’s physical limitations.
Most importantly, they may be able to approach shy, skittish dogs without a human present.
When my dogs get close to a missing pet, they smell them in the air. So to pinpoint where the scent is emanating from, the dog has to know how to use the scent in the air to follow the scent to its source. This involves the dog knowing how to follow a scent cone, and they do this by working into the wind in a zigzagging pattern. This is why so few tracking dogs make walk-up finds even when a pet is stuck or deceased. If the missing pet remains in a small area, in the last ½ mile to a ¼ mile before reaching the pet, a dog who is trained in off-leash trailing will rely solely on air scenting (not tracking) to pinpoint the missing dog’s location. A K9 working on-leash doesn’t have the freedom to work the air scent the way that’s needed based on terrain and environment to hone in on the missing pet’s exact location. Our experience and knowledge when it comes to dog behavior and scent and trailing set us apart from the competition who may not use such sophisticated means to search and find missing dogs.