Welcome to the Canine Pawsibilities family

I would like to welcome you all into the CANINE Pawsibilities family and thank you for trusting me with your dog as we introduce them and yourselves to the exciting world of tracking.

Useful links

Collars, Leads, Long Leads & bandanas

If you are interested in a new Lead for your dog or need a Long lead to use for tracking or help with your recall training, I would recommend you take a visit to Sharon’s Craft Cabin. All items are handmade, available in a wide variety of designs and are made from natural materials. If you are looking for something specific contact Sharon directly and discuss your requirements with her. In addition to Leads, Sharon also had a fantastic line of Bandanas which she can also embroider to your specifications.

Dog Toys

This is a global company which has some particularly good tuggies (and other toys too). If you use the code K9PAWS you should get a discount on all the toys from their own brand (So if you browse through their site, make sure to choose to browse through the brand option).

The discount should also be applicable anytime even after the school is finished so I advise you to keep the details.

Treat Bags

Treat bags are not mandatory but I personally I could not train without one, they are so handy! The important points are that they have a belt and are easy to open and close. Some good quality examples:

Mikki Dog and Puppy Deluxe Training Treat Bag Pouch

Doggone Good Rapid Rewards Deluxe Dog Training Bag 

EzyDog SnakPak Dog Treat Bag

It is time to introduce yourself

I would really appreciate if you were all to introduce yourself under this module, so we all get to know each other!

Please take a moment to register with the Canine Pawsibilities Nose Works Facebook page.

  1. Follow this link, it will take you to the Facebook support group page:
  2. Send a request to join the group, you will be asked about the email address you have used to register to the class.
  3. You will be also asked for a password when sending the request which is: CPTNWT-2021
  4. Before being able to access the group, you will have to wait until we have accepted your request (it is not an automated process so please be patient as it may take a day or so).

Et voila, that was easy! You now have joined our community and I am looking forward to meeting you within the Facebook support group.

As you all know me by now, I do not need to introduce myself again. I would however like to introduce my Personal Assistant, teammate, and best friend Manouk. Manouk is now 14 years old and he is loving coming out of retirement to act as a movie star. It reminds him of his competition days at Crufts and Olympia.

The other film star in some of the videos is Mozzie. Mozzie’s first passion is sheepherding. At the age of 12 he is loving learning a new skill proving that there are no reasons not to teach a new skill to a “mature” dog. This is the beauty of scent work, it is low impact enough that dogs of any age can participate, from puppy to elderly dogs.

I would like to introduce, and thank, Mike Wilson for the demonstrations of longer tracks with his two dogs Sparky and Melvin. Mike is an expert at tracking and currently works for the Police as a Police Dog Trainer.

Finally, but not least, I would also like to thank all the students who also participated in some of the videos used within this course: Morag, Sharon, Colin, Emily, Shona, Sally, Evelyn, Ruth and Mhairi and their respective tracking buddies Aila, Blake, Storm, Leo, Freya, Mia, Maggie, Fergus and Rayne

About the Harness

Multiple different styles of harnesses are available for dogs and their use is becoming more and more popular. Harnesses have become quite fashionable, now being available in several different customizable colours and patterns.

There are some types of harness that have been developed specifically for sports activities and some others to help manage behavioral issues such as pulling, jumping, or leash aggression.

Whilst some harness types may look flashy and/or are described as being designed to help prevent or correct poor behaviour, recently they have been receiving criticism for their potential of altering canine gait, which could place abnormal stresses on the soft tissues and bony structures of the dog’s limbs.

All harnesses are not equal. I would advise you to avoid restrictive harness that cross over the bones of the front leg and harness with a large surface area in contact with the dog’s body as both types tend to affect the gait of your dog.  Instead, I would advise you to use a non-restrictive, highly adjustable or made to measure harness as they are thought to affect gait the least. Such harnesses typically are structured such that bands encircle the neck and meet a central band at the front of the chest, forming a “Y” when viewed facing the front of the dog’s body. I personally prefer the Canicross type harness.

You can find more information about harnesses in this excellent article: Harnesses for Agility Dogs

Required equipment

Unlike certain dog related activities tracking is inexpensive and requires little equipment, but you do need to have access to an open location to lay out the tracks. To start with, it should preferably be a grassy location where the ground has remained undisturbed for a little while.

The items of equipment that you need and/or will benefit from having are:

  • A lead & collar – Please do not use a retractable lead for the class, just use a normal simple lead
  • A long lead of approximately 7 to 9 meters in length, although for the first two weeks it is possible to use a shorter lead.
  • A harness for your dog. It is possible to use your dog’s collar rather than a harness, but a harness is preferable
  • Three or four marker poles that can be pushed into the ground; electric fence poles are ideal for this
  • Some sheets of thin ‘Art’ or ‘Craft’ foam that can be cut into small squares of approximately 4-5 cm: ideally in a green or red colour. These are not required before week three.
  • Lots of treats that your dog really likes i.e. high value treats. You will be using a lot of treats when training for scent work. The treat you use should not be crumbly and they should be big enough so that your dog can easily find them; Cheese cut into cubes or chopped hotdog sausage/meat balls are good treats to use. The ideal size of treat should be the size of your thumb nail as we do not want to encourage over sniffing to find the treat.

Introduction to Tracking

All dogs have a far more acute sense of smell than humans and can not only pick-up tiny traces of a scent but also distinguish between varied scent sources. If you search the internet you will find estimates that dogs have a better sense of smell than Humans in the order of 10,000-100,000 times. Another way of putting this is that they can detect odours of 1 part per Trillion!

At some point in time, you may well have watched a movie or television programme where a dog is tracking the path taken by someone, for example a person missing in the wilderness. In this scenario the dog is out in front of its handler on a long lead with its nose to the floor, following the scent trail left by the person. This is what we call tracking.

When tracking, the dog follows the scent path by using its nose to detect the odour left by each footstep of the person who made the track. This is opposite to man trailing where the dog is scenting the air flow.  This means the dog will follow the track with its nose down, repeatedly sniffing the ground, in contrast to trying get an air scent with its head up, sniffing in the wind.

In this module you are going to teach your dog to follow a human track that is laid out by one specific person, the track layer. It is an enjoyable activity for both for you and your dog where you are going to be encouraging and helping to refine your dog’s natural ability to track.

I hope you will enjoy the journey!