What are tracking dogs used for? A Step-by-Step Guide

You work hard to teach your dog good manners. There’s one area, though, where you probably won’t have much success: Asking them to “stop being so nosey!” It won’t work because your dog’s keen sense of smell – which is 100,000 times stronger than humans – makes him naturally “nosey,” and thus innately ideal for the sport of Tracking. In the world of working dogs, these skills are put to incredible use for emergency search-and-rescue.

So what do you do with your ever-nosey dog? Get them involved in an AKC Tracking event where they can sniff and smell to their heart’s content, and demonstrate that natural ability to recognize and follow a scent. It’s the perfect way for you and your dog—whether purebred or mixed breed—to enjoy many hours together, outside in the fresh air, honing those natural abilities. Champion trackers can compete in the AKC National Tracking Invitational.

Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX)

The TDX is earned by following an “older” track (three to five hours) that is also longer (800 to 1,000 yard) and has five to seven directional changes with the additional challenge of human cross tracks.

How Do Police Dogs Track Scents?

A police dog’s impressive scent tracking ability all comes down to the power of their nose. A dog’s nose has 300 million olfactory receptors, where the human nose only has 6 million. Not only do they have significantly more receptors for smell within the nose, but the portion of their brain devoted to smell is also nearly 40 times as large as ours. Their brain was truly set up for smelling!

With having so many scent tracking abilities within their genetic makeup, we are able to train dogs in searching for specific smells. Police dogs are able to differentiate between certain types of smells due to the power of their nose, making them the perfect scent trackers in multiple areas of searching.

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