Our Ten Commandments to follow with when on you Mantrailing adventure
1. Keep The Game Fun – Mantrailing UK started to help people have more fun with their dogs. If trailing feels like a chore, or your dog is struggling to get the game. Then you need to take a step back and find out what will make it fun again. Changing the reward, trailing in less distracting areas, finding the right trail layer for your dog or looking at your handling skills.
2. Follow The Dog – You can’t see or smell the trail they are following, so trying to second guess the placement is useless. Put your trust in your dog as they work, remember it’s easy for them to follow scent as they were born to do it. It’s hard for them to deal with us trying to dictate the route when they know where their going. Mantrailing is where you can put the dog firmly in the drivers seat to work, we are just the passengers. Check out our previous blog on how mantrailing can change a dogs behaviour.
3. Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment – It’s easy to slip on a harness and line when you start trailing, but once you get into its worth investing in a well fitted harness. A properly fitted harness is one which doesn’t impede your dogs ability to scent and pull on the trail. A well made long line will also reduce the chance of accidental snapping and you getting rope burn. Learning to handle a long line is a must from the start to not impede your dog, or accidentally correct them. We highly recommend the Niggeloh Mantrailing Harness and a Rubber Gripped Long Line for most dogs, but you need to find the best equipment for you and your dog.
4. Find the Best Reward For Your Dog – The game isn’t fun if we don’t have the best reward for your dog. This reward might not be convenient for you, but if it’s what your dog wants then it’s what we use. We encourage the use of wet food so the dog can lick the food out of the pot to release endorphins. Tuna, cat food, wet dog food, liver cake or cheese are hot favourites for many dogs. Toys are also brilliant rewards for many dogs and helps them have a excited party at the end of the trail. Some dogs feed off our energy, and us having a dance about and play with them, we might look stupid but it’s about the dogs not us.
5. Learn to Read Your Dog – Understanding how your dog trails comes with time, the more you trail the more you can watch your dog and learn. Understanding your dogs subtle shifts when they are on scent or off it. When they are starting to cast to find the scent , when they are really following the known scent, or chasing after a squirrel. Filming trails is a brilliant way to look back and analyse the dogs movement. If you want to expand your dog reading skills then check out our online teaching platform where you can watch our video on analysing dogs on the trail.
6. No Rushing – Mantrailing is all about training the foundations, teaching your dog to understand the game before advancing the skills. Increase the difficulty too soon will mean your dog will start to struggle, or become disheartened. Lack of success not only affects our dogs, but also us.
7. Always Train with Positive Associations - Mantrailing UK uses a positive reinforcement only approach when teaching mantrailing. Therefore we adapt every trail for the dog before us, rather than a one size fits all approach. We want to make sure the trailing is a positive experience for the dogs, so even if your dog is scared of people or struggles to work away from their owner, we can find a way to make the game reinforcing for them so they want to keep trailing.
8. Learn to be a Good Misper – Trail laying isn’t about just running of and hiding in a bush. Its about laying the correct trail type for the dog in front of you, and being aware of the hazards presented along the trail. Its also about being part of the reward for some dogs. The Misper is the one who gives the reward to the dog, or throws a party with the dog. Their actions can make or break the motivation for the dog to carry on trailing. Understanding each dog you lay trails for makes a huge difference to that’s dogs association.
9. No Obedience – Mantrailing is about letting your dog have the freedom to work independently from us, and think for themselves. It is not an exercise in control and obedience, which is why we don’t allow harsh handling or lots of over bearing commands. We want the dogs to be free to learn and enjoy the mantrailing, we have found that too many commands at the start before trailing can effect the dogs motivation to trail.
10. Record Keeping –Keep a record of your trails, if they went well or poorly. All trails are learning opportunities for us as handlers, so keeping a record is important. Even if your not aiming to achieve the Mantrailing UK level assessments, you can still track your dogs progress throughout their trailing. Notes and observations are the best way to find out how well your trailing is going. You can order your level booklets from Mantrailing UK to make sure all your records are in one place.
Start your mantrailing journey today by finding your nearest instructor - https://www.mantrailinguk.com/find-an-instructor