Right on the Nose: The Sport of Trailing and Locating

Right on the Nose: The Sport of Trailing and Locating

Dogs have unbelievable noses. Nature geared up them with the power to select up even the faintest odors that, as people, we will’t even detect. And it’s no marvel they’ve this functionality. Dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors of their noses, whereas people have solely 6 million.

Any canine can take part in Trailing and Locating. Breed — or mixture of breeds — doesn’t matter. As lengthy as you’ve gotten a canine who likes to comply with his nostril and find “prey,” you’ll be able to take part.

How Trailing and Locating Works

The trial’s course supervisor lays down a scent over an out of doors space that spans anyplace in dimension from 1,000 to 40,000 sq. toes, relying on the category. In most circumstances, the scent is created by dragging rat scent (typically made with a dripping bag of “rat tea,” a yucky combination of water, rat poop and bedding) or by laying of economic wildlife scent by means of the trial space. The monitor that’s laid ultimately results in two rats or different small rodents which might be hidden away and safely secured in a small cage.

The objective is for the canine to make use of his nostril to seek out the caged rodents inside 1 to 4 minutes, relying on the category. (No rodents are harmed on this sport. Rules require the rodents be handled in a humane and caring style all through their pure lives.)

Dogs between 6 to 9 months begin with the Trailing and Locating Puppy Aptitude Test. The first degree of Trailing and Locating for canines over the age of 9 months is Level I (TL-I). In Level I, canines work on a course that’s 7,500 to 10,000 sq. toes. On a protracted leash (30 toes or much less), the canine begins at a “scent pad” — a flat pad that’s about 1 meter extensive laid in the beginning of the search space. The pad is sprayed or dragged with scent for no less than 15 seconds and marks the start of the path that the canine will comply with.

Your canine doesn’t want any particular coaching
to take part in Trailing and Locating.

The clock begins when the canine and handler cross the beginning line. The canine’s handler is aware of the place the quarry is hidden however will not be allowed to information the canine in that path. As the handler holds the canine on a free leash, the canine is meant to start out monitoring the scent, both on the bottom or by means of the air. The canine has two minutes to seek out the quarry with none steerage from the handler.

Dogs who efficiently discover the quarry inside two minutes obtain a qualifying rating. An ideal rating is 25 factors. However, it’s laborious to get that quantity if you’re first beginning out. The decide deducts factors for errors, akin to having the canine on a good leash, touching the canine or dropping treats on the course. Dogs who get qualifying scores at an occasion are eligible for a putting so long as no less than three canines competed on the similar degree. Placings are based mostly on the variety of factors scored, with the canine and handler with the best rating getting a first-place ribbon.

When The Nose Knows It

What’s nice about Trailing and Locating is that your canine doesn’t want any particular coaching in an effort to take part. He does want to point out an inherent ability for monitoring down critters together with his nostril. Without that need to comply with a scent path to its supply, your canine will find yourself wandering aimlessly across the search space, not figuring out why he’s there.

If you see your canine sniffing round within the yard for squirrels or monitoring rabbits to their burrows, he’s a possible candidate for Trailing and Locating. Attend an occasion as a spectator to get a way of what these competitions are like and whether or not it is perhaps one thing your canine would take pleasure in.


For extra details about upcoming Trailing and Locating occasions in your space and the way to get entangled on this thrilling sport, go to the North American Sport Dog Association web site at nasda.canine or on Facebook @nasdadog.


Award-winning author and editor Audrey Pavia is a former managing editor at Dog Fancy journal and former senior editor of The AKC Gazette. Author of The Labrador Retriever Handbook, she has written extensively on horses in addition to different pets. She shares her residence with Pittie mixes Mookie and Winnie.