Working Dog Forums banner

"Scent in a Bottle" Tracking Method

6293 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Tim Martens

What do y'all think of this?
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
I don't know about tracking techniques but I'm inclined to go with whatever the heck my trainer tells me, he's been doing this for some 16 or 18 years n taken hundreds of dogs thru tracking, police dogs, schutzhund dogs etc, so I'm inclined to just follow his instruction knowing that the result will be good, rather than trying to go off and do my own thing that might not work with what he's gonna tell me on Sunday n Wednesdays... not saying the link above is a bad way to train, I have no clue, didn't even read the whole thing --- but if you have a trainer to do tracking with, I'm inclined to say just go with what that trainer tells you if you trust their knowledge.

With that said, in the interest of learning new techniques n gathering information -- what is peoples opinion of the above linked tracking method?
in the interest of learning new techniques n gathering information -- what is peoples opinion of the above linked tracking method?
That was my reason for posting it, Mike. I don't know why it posted twice, either. Someone'll have to delete the double post. :oops:
That is Steve White Seattle PD, retired, I think. (I did not read the link) but when training a scent discrimintory urban trailing dog it is an intriguing concept. Elminate the contribution of the footprint and focus on the human scent by hydrating it and controlling where the bulk of it is deposited.

Not dissimilar to a technique in "Tracking for Search and Rescue" using a scented string ...... I don't know how widely used it is .... I would think it would be great for VST people but maybe not so much for schutzhund sports folks.

I have not applied it in real life but it sounds reasonable. Not thinking too much about tracking or trailing until Grim is operational on cadaver...
Well anyway USPCA has some more comprehensive articles on method and some good tracking articles
Steve is running Seattle PD's K-9 unit again last I heard. This method has proven to work well. I observed a trainer from an agency who took a K-9 from another agency after their program had folded. The dog had only been taught to air scent. After conventional methods finally got him to trail on vegetated surfaces, he was forced to try this method on other surfaces as the dog would not attempt to look on the ground for any scent on non vegetated surfaces. It worked, and the team went on to have several track captures before retiring.
That is impressive; I have always heard that once a dog is started in airscent that conversion to trailing was difficult at best....

..after Grim is operational in cadaver I will have to decide whether to work him on trailing but I wonder if the air scenting associated with the cadaver work will create problems there...I had thought, though I would like to START a dog on a hard surface with SIAB approach .... .

We decided to start with cadaver as that is really what we need the most right now. He will be an asset even if that is all he does (that and water after we get down land cadaver)
I've never used this method but I can see where it is a good method. SAR will benefit by this, I would think.
I use method for all my hardsurface work, slightly modified. I typicaly use use hand held squirt bottle with mist then I tuck the day before socks insideout in rear of shoes. Spray and walk into it let age and dry up for about an hour "depending on experience" most dogs have no problem following this in almost a footstep look usually steady and straight. The water just makes "scent picture" concentrated and confinded as it adhere's to surface from moisture. I later than fade the socks and then the water.
I learned most my tracking via hunting community & LE hardsurface people so I rarely use food or fade as soon as possible so dog doesnt get use to it being part of scent picture. It is just another effective tool as you advance in tracking so I would recomend have someone show you method that is familliar with, I know some who start their new dogs like this but they have lots of experience. (The money is in the details)

Dan Reiter
I have seen this method used as well. I actually was taught this method for use in VST and for starting my dog on turns and corners. He caught on real good using it. I'm not currently using it, but again it's just another tool in the shed in case I need it.
I am going to start my new PSD pup "my last" :cry: before retiring once and for all on hard surfaces utilizing this method. Once he is proficient on hard surfaces doing turns, I will go to vegetated surfaces utilizing conventional methods.
You are correct in stating starting air scent first can be a headche when teaching tracking later although there are several SAR folks who will disagree with your remark.
In the military we utilized food a lot to get them to get their heads down as tracking was not a mandatory task and our MWD's were taught only scouting and building search. Once we started getting our dogs from over seas especially the shepherds from Germany many of them already had tracking imprinted and it was no problem getting them to track again as well as article indication if you wanted to teach it.
Fortunately I am hearing more and more and more in SAR these days say start in trailing - even if you only plan on doing airscent because (1) it does give you a more versatile dog and (2) you will learn a lot about reading YOUR dogs body language.....

..also people are coming around to the idea (no thanks to ARDA) that air scent dogs CAN be trained in scent discrimination and trailing is the easiest way to get the dog to associate the scent article with one person and ignore contaminating scents. IOW you can take care of training scent discrimination before you ever start to work air scent problems.

In our air the scent discriminating air scent dog has real value since having your dog run over to alert on a ground team in a nearby sector can be a real hassle and a waste of time...particularly if you are in some of the rugged mountains in the far western parts of NC.
I had never tried this. I have always taught to track using articles left by the person the dog is tracking.

I have been trying this since the post came up, as I saw nothing in the method that would cause problems with what I had done so far with my dog.

Well...Live and's working fine for me. By the book. The speed is good, and the nose is in a more reduced scent cone than before.
Nice of you to try it and give feedback! :D
Kristen Cabe said:
Nice of you to try it and give feedback! :D
i used this method on my 2nd dog. for the most part, i started his tracking/trailing on hard surfaces using SIAB. the results were good. i would be inclined to say that starting hard surface tracks early on is more important than the actual method used. as we know, dogs are creatures of habit and if we spend SO much time teaching tracking on vegetation, it is that much more difficult to bring the dogs nose down on hard surfaces (especially if the dog has already been trained in area searches).

don't know why, but i haven't done this with my current dog, and by no coincidence, he has troubles tracking on hard surfaces. i'm glad i just noticed this thread as i will start using it again with my current dog...
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.