Scent Work

There are many different types of Scentwork that you can learn to do with your Smooth Collie. Scentwork UK trials are just one example and are based on detection-style nose work practised daily by customs & excise dogs, bomb explosive dogs, search & rescue dogs and medical detection dogs. Another form of scentwork is Mantrailing which involves a handler using a dog on a harness and long line to follow a scent trail of a person, similar to the work carried out by search and rescue dogs but purely for fun and the thrill of locating the ‘missing person’.

Personal experience of Scentwork UK

“I initially thought that scent work would not be the activity for Sundae as she had not shown any particular interest in sniffing things out. For scent work she needed to learn to sniff out a clove scented cloth from a range of objects and locations and she needed to learn to indicate she had found it.

The first couple of lessons didn’t look promising despite copious amounts of ham and treats. After several weeks of persevering she showed signs of catching on and I started to see her working in a steady and methodical manner. I also started to read her signals (indications) which were tail wagging and licking where the scent was. She then needed to build on the strength of the indication as she definitely wasn’t like an enthusiastic gun dog. With much encouragement this also improved.

Scentwork UK Level 1 Trial consists of 4 searches:

  • Bags and boxes
  • Tables and chairs
  • Vehicle
  • Various articles outdoors

The examiners said they liked how she worked. She might not win a trial but should pass the levels with ease. Having said that she did correctly indicate all 4 scents and came 4th overall much to my delight.”

Rachel & Sundae

Personal experience of Mantrailing

“Mantrailing is rapidly growing in popularity in the UK and is basically using a dog’s natural
scenting ability to follow a human scent and find someone hidden.

Similar to search and rescue, it can be done anywhere in urban or rural environments, you just need someone to hide, someone to keep a watch for you and your dog. Ideally the dog is on a harness and you need a long line. Once the dog has taken the scent from an article belonging to the person who has hidden, then it is up to you to be able to read your dog and let them use their nose to find the person, where they are then rewarded using really tasty food. All breeds can participate and it is great for Smooth Collies, allowing them to exercise and tire out their brains with all that sniffing.

I recently took part in an introduction to Mantrailing with my friend’s 2 year old Smooth Collie bitch. She knows me very well and quickly picked up what was required of her. She loved finding a person, especially as they had some yummy food for her.”

Elaine & River