Training tracking dogs is common work for police or for hunters or even for dog enthusiasts. In fact, there are tracking dog competitions held by various Kennel or Schutzhund clubs. You can also train your dog  how to track at home, just for fun. You can even train your dog how to track your children, in case you ever need to find them and get them home for dinner or homework. Because dogs are gifted by nature with such an incredible sense of smell, they can find hidden items quite easily-especially with the right training and motivation. 

Follow these three steps for the tracking dog training your dog will need to get started with his tracking.

To get started, you want to identify your dog’s very favorite play toy. It doesn’t matter if it is a ball or a chew toy-as long as he just loves playing with it. For instance, if he has a favorite ball you will play with him and the ball, repeating often the word ball. The point is to get your dog to word associate. By doing so, every time you say ball, your dog should be looking to get his ball and bring it to you for a play session. As he does so, you should give him a lot of praise and a reward-let him know he’s doing what you like. Keep repeating this, until your dog has shown he has really made the connection with the word and the favorite toy.

After your dog has really gotten the word association part down, your next move is to put the ball into another room. Tell your dog the word ball, and watch him as he tries to solve the problem of finding the ball. Hmmm, he can’t see it-but he will start sniffing for it. He should start searching for his ball. Follow him, and when he does find it, give him tons of praise-really reinforce him. Keep doing this exercise until your dog has become an expert at finding the ball.  Your praise and rewards will help increase his motivation to find the ball quickly. Vary the places you put the ball, until your dog can quickly follow his nose to the target.

Now that your dog is becoming expert at finding his ball, he is ready for the second step of the tracking dog training. First of all, wash the ball to eliminate the old scents that are on there. After the ball is clean, wrap your son or daughters used t-shirt or socks-something imprinted with their particular scent-and let that new smell get onto the ball. Now, play as before with the ball, so that your dog learns to find the hidden ball by following the new scent-your child’s,  in this example. Keep repeating this tracking training until your dog is performing very well.

You are now ready for the third step of the tracking dog training. This is fun. Have your son or daughter hide in another room. Ask your dog to search-as he sniffs for his ball, he will actually be sniffing around for your child’s scent. Follow him so that when he does find your son or daughter, you can give him his praise and a reward immediately. Be sure to let him know you are proud of him making the connection and finding the right missing item, even though it was your little boy or girl instead of the ball. Make a fun game of it for your dog and he will show you how eager he is to search and find what you want him to. Continue the training by having your child hide further and further away, to test your dog’s ability to track over distances.

Before long, you can send your dog after your child to bring them home for dinner or when it is time to do their homework. Tracking dog training is a lot of fun for both you and your dog, so give it a try, and see how easy it can be. If you and your dog really enjoy the tracking, there are Kennel Clubs, and Schutzhund Clubs that hold tracking competitions.

I hope you enjoyed this article on tracking dog training. For other free helpful articles about dog obedience training and solving dog behavior problems, please visit

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