I believe stimulation is a very important part of raising a dog and in my puppy courses; I always include a section on concentrating on tracking.

What is tracking?

Tracking, the way I teach it, is for a dog to follow human footsteps in the direction the person has walked in, using their nose.

Why is tracking good for my puppy or fully grown up dog?

The dog, whatever size, breed or cross breed, loves it. In all my years of training dogs I have yet not come across a dog that does not like it.

Tracking stimulates your dog, which helps to build and maintain a bond between you and your dog. This helps to calm energetic dogs and builds confidence in insecure dogs.

It is a calm exercise which is completely built around the dogs ability to use it’s nose.

A dog’s sense of smell is incredibly powerful, as many of you already know. A dog will therefore use its nose to sniff whether WE provide them with the opportunity to do so or not.

By creating exciting opportunities for the dog, such as tracking, you will receive better collaboration and control between the two of you. You will build a strong bond together due to the fact that you are providing your friend with proper exercise, which to them, is truly important in their world.


This video clip I introduce you to tracking, why tracking is good and how to do it.

What do I need to do it?

  • A harness or if you do not have a harness, a soft wide collar.
  • A long line or a lead.
  • Your dog’s favorite toy or a bowl of really tasty treats, such a cut up chicken.
  • A bit of fairly untouched area of grass or forest vegetation. Not too dense.
  • A friend who can hold the dog while you lay the track.

How do I do it?

Bring your friend and dog with you. Make sure the dog is either wearing the harness or the soft collar. Keep the dog on the lead.

Ask your friend to hold your dog and walk roughly 40 – 50 steps away from your dog with the wind towards your back.

When you have reached your 40th step (approximately) put your dog’s favorite toy (or a bowl of really nice treats) in the track. Not on the side, just exactly in front of you. Take a step over the toy (or treats) and continue another 15 steps straightforward with the wind towards your back.

When you have reached in total around 55 steps turn left or right (depending on what is most convenient).

Walk back in a big loop around back to your dog, so that you don’t interfere with the footsteps leading towards the toy (or treats).

If your dog is whining or barking, do not tell it off or give it attention. Just continue what you are doing so that you do not break the concentration for the dog.

How do I take up the track with my dog?

When back with your dog, try and interact as little as possible, just take the lead and walk in to the track a few steps.

Look forward, in the direction of the track.

Some dogs take a little while to start the first couple of times. Some other dogs take the track immediately.

Don’t show the dog the track. Just be patient and wait and let them find it. We do not want the dog to think that your nose is better than his/hers. They have to find the track by themselves and it only comes from waiting while they figure it out.

When the dog starts taking a few steps in the right direction, praise calmly with your voice and follow them.

If the dog looses the track, just stop and do not follow.

Remember – do not ever tell your dog off while tracking. It is a purely positive experience for them. If you do tell them off you risk the dog not wanting to track with you in the future.

The more you do it the better your dog will become.

How do I learn more?

My DVD – A Complete Guide to Puppy Training and Home Care has a section dedicated to stimulating your dog and in this I cover tracking and searching exercises.

If you want to go further you can always contact me and I will let you know what the next steps are.

Ewa xx