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They were supposed to be a ……….

© Mantailing UK

Not every dog is destined to follow the path we thought they would, and this doesn’t mean they can’t be awesome at something. All dogs have a nose and following it is only natural.

Mantrailing is an inclusive sport for all breeds regardless of their natural breed traits or destiny in your household. They can start Mantrailing as a great way to efficiently use their brain tiring them out mentally, as well as physically.

Dogs can excel at lots of different roles and sports, but we think every dog can Mantrail no matter their original role in life.

We asked some of our instructors to tell us about their “It was supposed to be” dogs, and let us know how Mantrailing has provided them with an outlet for energy and fun, as well as turning into full-time jobs for their owners.

Natasha and Goose:

Natasha Filler of Poodaroo Follow the Nose, based in Oxted Surrey, started off with plans to show Goose here Standard Poodle. Goose made it all the way to Crufts standard. Qualifying at 3 Championship shows Stoneleigh Standard Poodle Show, Windsor and Richmond.

Natasha was waiting for him to mature physically before starting other sports, and found Mantrailing. Goose took to it like a duck to water, he’s not only gone on to pass his level one assessment with Mantrailing UK, but he has also used Mantrailing to help him over this stranger danger. Turning the potential worry of people in his space, into a rewarding sport for him. Which not only gives him an outlet for his energy, but also allows him to use his nose in a constructive way tiring him out mentally.

Goose now primarily does Mantrailing and other sports, and does not compete in showing at all.

Natasha then went on to become an instructor herself after starting Mantrailing, and now has a second Mantrailing dog, Quill a Sprocker Spaniel. Natasha not only has fun Mantrailing but also does Cani X’s, scent work agility, hoopers and gundog work with the dogs. She found Mantrailing super adaptable and it doesn’t affect her other sports at all as the dogs understand when they are Mantrailing or doing other sports, by the equipment used and starting ritual.

Avril and Inca:

Avril Young of Imanje Pet Services, based in Mid Lothian tells us of her now golden oldie Rhodesian Ridgeback, Inca who was supposed to be a show dog.

Inca was doing quite well in the show ring as a puppy, but although she loved the showing part, she actually hated all the hanging around with dogs that she really didn't want to associate with!

Inca is a sensitive soul who is on the autistic spectrum. She is touch sensitive and hates change! She needs to know the rules of any game before she feels comfortable taking part and this made training quite difficult for her (goodbye shaping for example).

So we introduced her to tracking - which she loved! However, as she got into the game, she gained her confidence and realised that there was actually not much point in following footprints when she could air scent her way to the end in no time! Thankfully, the trainers we were working with had pursuit tracking experience and off we went!

The day she got to find her first missing person, who also had her food, was the day Inca's world opened up. She could easily go to training sessions where she didn't have to meet other dogs, no-one touched her if she didn't want them to and those that did, had her favourite - sardines in tomato sauce!

Sadly, with her special needs, Inca finds it difficult to travel alone and hates wearing a harness, so her chances of joining me at my Mantrailing UK Instructors course fell apart.

Enter, Mika (her niece), who was also doing well in the show ring, but found it so boring and just wanted the judges to play with her! Mika was already doing scent-work and had a short tracking career (wildlife was more interesting) so when I ended up taking her to the Instructor's five-day course (and an advanced weekend straight after), she had to hit the ground sniffing!

Mika took to the game like a duck to water and with her desire to speak to everyone, she loved that there were people to find (and with food), and that they actually wanted her to play (ridgeback style)!

Mika now Mantrails regularly and attends every instructor development day I attend. While Inca has retired. Not before they both travelled together to pass their Level 1 assessment!

Both our girls work so differently, Inca likes to be sure and takes her time, while Mika likes to hurry things along and can still get a bit demotivated when the going gets tough, but we always have something to work on - perfect = boring!

I love seeing my ridgeback girls doing what comes naturally to them (air scenting and tracking) and having the best time doing it. Where is Mika's mum... Sifa is our (now retired)


Gail and Bella:

Gail Wilblin of Good Life Mantrailing, covering Ashfield and Mansfield areas tells us of her canicross dog who moved to Mantrailing as they enjoyed it more.

They were supposed to be a canicross dog!

Yep, a crazy sport that meant strapping yourself to a dog (or two in my case) and getting them to pull you along as fast as possible through the muddiest, wettest, most uneven ground you can imagine.

Bella the Beagle didn’t share the same enthusiasm for canicross as my terrier and lurcher, always preferring to be social than running.

Gail, unfortunately, broke both her ankles within 6 months of each other. But once recovered she got back into running, but the dogs weren’t enjoying it as much and she turned to find an alternative sport to keep them active.

Starting off Mantrailing with a Mantrailing UK Instructor with Bella, a now elderly Beagle with a passion for sniffing. Gail tells us that when doing canicross she could be a liability for stopping a sniffing when on the move, so to move her over to another sport where her natural abilities were much more appreciated.

Gail became hooked on the sport and has since become an instructor. Since losing her two older dogs, she has adopted Herbie, a hound cross breed from Cyprus who was destined to be a Mantrailing dog from the start and is getting started on it at 5 months old. It is building his confidence using Mantrailing, and may join her in canicross once old enough.

Lynn and Floss:

Lynn Hempsall of Hiddy Tykes Mantrailing covering North Yorkshire.

Floss had been sold as a show Cocker Spaniel to be shown in the ring, her grandsire won best cocker in show at Crufts. As she grew the breeder realised she wasn’t going to be a standard colour which could be shown in the UK. Her sable colour is not recognised here in the UK.

She came to Lynn at ten weeks old, destined to be her training dog. Floss was doing fitpaws and parkour before getting into Mantrailing. She joined in on a wet and windy Cumbrian Mantrailing session with another instructor, Jane Dalton, and the rest was history!

Despite the weather being typically British once Floss got that someone was hiding with food for her, she took to it like a pro using her nose to sniff out the hidden person. She is now working towards her Mantrailing UK Level 3 Assessment. She screams the house down if Lynn packs the car with her Mantrailing gear, so it's now done when she is asleep. She would have never enjoyed being a show dog.

© Mantailing UK

Kathryn and Captain:

Kathryn Jones of Trailing K9s covering Wrexham and Mold areas, had bred her Springer Spaniel to work the puppies as detection dogs, but when Covid hit plans changed.

“I bred Captain, my now main Mantrailing dog to do detection work. But when Covid hit and all of the work disappeared overnight, I decided to start him off with Mantrailing at home as a fun way to build up his training alongside detection work. Who knew that 18 months later I would be leaving the security industry and Mantrailing full time”.

Captain now trails as often as possible, and Captain comes around the country with her demonstrating Mantrailing and helping her teach advanced skills. He has joined her at Crufts to fly the flag for Mantrailing UK and also joins her on her own Instructor Development with international Mantrailing professionals.

No matter the start of your Mantrailing journey, you can have fun with Mantrailing. Because of the specific starting ritual Mantrailing UK, the dogs know when they are Mantrailing, and when they are not. Which helps the dogs identify when they can do things such as pull on the lead, visit strangers out in public and lead the owner to things. Show dogs can still perform in the ring, canicross dogs can still run well and not stop to sniff on the run and working dogs can still do their full-time jobs and Mantrail on the weekend for fun.

Mantrailing wants every dog to have no matter their role. To get started have a look at our interactive map of instructors – we have them all over the UK.

© Mantailing UK



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