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Mantrailing UK Terminology

When trailing with your dog you will hear may terms and phrases being said. We have put all the main terms into this blog.

Starting Ritual – The dog is brought to the starting point where the scent article is. The dog circles the trail layer and/or scent article, and is then placed in harness and on the long line, before being given the cue to sniff and then trail.

Intensity Start – The dog gets “fired up” by the trail layer before they go off and lay the trail. This start is the beginning and foundation of most dogs mantrailing journey. It is individual to the dog, but always involves something which the dog finds rewarding.

Intensity Trail – The trail which always follows the main trail. This is a fun consistent reward which motivates dogs to find the trail layer and keep the motivation for the game high. A short trail where the dog is “fired up”.

Trail Layer/Misper – The missing person.

Reward – This can be food or a toy or a mix of them both. The reward needs to be something which the dog enjoys, and is usually reserved for Mantrailing. The presentation of such reward is also important.

Party – Let´s throw a party, because your dog just found the trail layer! This is how we celebrate when our dogs did a great job and succeeded at the end of a trail. It is important that this party is tailored to each dog to make sure it is a positive experience.

Delayed Start – The dog gets “fired up” before the starting ritual. Then the then is taken away until the dogs’ motivation drops slightly and is then harnessed and asked to take scent. This is the step up from the intensity start and building the bridge between that and the scent article start.

Scent Article – The item which has the trail layers’ scent on, and is left behind for the dog to take scent from before trailing. This can be a variety of things such as clothing, phone, keys etc

Scent Article Start – Start from a scent article. The trail layer has already left, and the dog does not see them leave,

Split Start– The trail layer and a decoy go into different directions from the scent article. The dog needs to follow the trail from the scent article not the decoy.

Indication – A specific behaviour from the dog that can be interpreted by the handler that person they have found is the trail layer. This is usually a sit, bark or jump up.

Blue Line Training – The dog handler and instructor/flanker know where the trail lays.

Single Blind – The instructor/flanker knows where the trail goes, the dog handler doesn´t.

Double Blind – No one knows where the trail goes other than the trail layer him/herself.

Split Trail – The trail layer and decoy walk together from the scent article and then split up,

going into different directions. The dog needs to follow the trail from the scent article not the decoy.

Aged Trail – A trail which has been laid for 30 minutes plus.

Walking Find – The trail layer moves/walks and the dog has to indicate on the walking trail layer.

Obvious Find – The trail layer is displayed in an obvious way, not hidden out of the dogs sight as normal.

Door Indication – The dog needs to indicate on a door/gate where the trail layer has walked through.

High Find – The trail layer is hidden in an elevated position.

NSI – Negative Scent Identification – Indication that here is no trail.

Flanker – The person that is with the dog handler team while trailing, making sure that they stay safe and depending on the exercise may know where the trail lays.

Hunting Trail – Multiple short trails after another with an intensity start and the same trail layer. Often used to build confidence or intensity for the game.

Flip Exercise – The dog handler becomes the trail layer and vice versa. Once the dog found the owner, the handlers change quickly and the trail layer fires up the dog for the intensity trail. This is used for dogs who aren’t sure of the game or need confidence to work away from their handler.

Not already started your mantrailing journey? Then check out our map of instructors all over the UK -



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