Sniffing Out the Trail

Mantrailing Training. Photo: CNP.

Mantrailing Training. Photo: CNP.

Dog owners in Cardiff met in Forest Farm Country Park in Whitchurch last Saturday to train their dogs to be mantrailers. During the almost three hours long session, dogs learnt how to trail their owners by smelling a piece of clothing that belongs to them.

Dogs have a perfect sense of smell. They can identify scents 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans can and the part of their brain that is reserved to analyze smells is 40 times bigger than that of humans. A dog can smell a piece of clothing that belongs to a person, and find them easily at the end of the trail. This is called mantrailing and it is used to find missing persons in search and rescue operations and in criminal investigations.

Lisa Gorenflo is the founder of the first mantrailing club in the UK, which is available to the public as a dog sport. She says, “Mantrailing is the search of a specific person with a dog. The dog differs specific scents. Every scent is like a genetic fingerprint to a person. Through bacterial decomposition we loose skin particles, it’s like snowflakes that we loose, so if you picture it, snowflakes falling off of your body slowly coming to the ground and the dog can scent those. That’s how a dog can find you out of a hundred people around.”

Mantrailing Training. Photo: CNP

Lisa Gorenflo (right) in Mantrailing Training. Photo: CNP.

Mantrailing can also be a great way to spend quality time with your dog, while they’re exercising out in the fresh air. It builds a sense of teamwork between the dog and its owner, and stimulates the brain as the dog uses its sense of smell. Anna Guina was one of the owners who brought her English Springer Spaniell, Piper, to train. She says, “I think it’s all about getting them to use their brains. Otherwise they don’t feel it they’re fulfilled properly” and jokes, “If my daughter goes missing, we can send the dog after her!”

Group Photo. Photo: CNP.

Group Photo. Photo: CNP.

 

 

Camera & Editing by Regina Chou.

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