Training your dog to find a missing person is no longer reserved only for the police or emergency services. At Ecuisses, in Saône-et-Loire, courses are regularly organized for professionals and individuals.
It is a growing discipline in dog training: the search for people or “mantrailing”. Previously, this training was reserved for so-called “operational” dogs such as police or search dogs (avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, etc.), but more and more individuals are interested in it.
the “mantrailing” is a popular canine discipline from the United States. It is a discipline that allows dogs to be used to search for lost people, in order to work in collaboration with police or gendarmerie forces, or with the families of missing persons.
The other dimension of this discipline for individuals is sport, by stimulating the smell of the dog, and by stimulating it mentally. An activity that allows them to discover the hidden resources of their pet and to strengthen the bonds between the master and his dog.
As each person has a unique smell, with a clothing accessory (glove, scarf, etc.) bearing the smell of the person to be searched for, the dog can follow an odor trail to locate the person.
It is a coach from the United States who is behind the 3-day training at Ecuisses. Jeff Schettler is a dog trainer and director of the company Georgia K9.
He met the emphasis on the fun aspect of “man-railing“: “It’s like going back to childhood… playing hide and seek like when you thought you were a kid, it was fun wasn’t it? And playing wolf-key-key, chasing after your buddies. It’s just a throwback to childhood. But we do it with a dog!“
But from the animal’s point of view, the American trainer explains: “On gives them something to do to pass the time, which makes their life better, and ours too of course. It’s a combination of all of that and I think that’s why it’s becoming popular.“
At the initiative of the internship in Saône-et-Loire, Paulina Druri. This canine instructor has been teaching this practice for ten years in the department. It has more than 400 customers from all over France and mainly from Switzerland.
“All dogs can do it, regardless of age or breed“, explains Paulina.”The confidence that we give him there at work, it will translate afterwards in everyday life in different situations. It’s above all teamwork, I find it super important to share these moments with my dog.”
Even if dogs become excellent sleuths, they cannot participate in parallel hunts to find missing persons. These remain reserved exclusively for police dogs.