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Mantrailing or person tracking is a dog sport that is not well-known in Europe yet but is widely popular in the field of service dogs worldwide. Its basis – searching for missing or escaped individuals with the help of dogs – has a long history. I’m not revealing any big secret by saying that dogs are more suitable than any instrument for successfully locating people, even based on tracks that may be several days old. In the animal kingdom, their unique cooperative skills and trainability, along with their excellent sense of smell, make this possible.

Mantrailing fundamentally differs from “classic” tracking.

The latter is part of IPO trials, where dogs are taught and expected to follow ground disturbances and scent tracks left on the ground with precision. In contrast, mantrailing is based on the fact that every person emits a unique scent over their entire body. So the tracks remain not only on the ground but also in the air. This is particularly significant when there are no ground disturbances. (This often occurs in urban, paved environments. Or when the person fled in a vehicle or water.. In such cases, classic tracking faces extreme difficulties and may even fail.)

  • K9 FullFlex kutya porcerősítő

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    • Treatment of cartilage wear and arthritis
    • To reduce the development of dysplasia and relieve its symptoms
    • To preserve the mobility of dogs
    57,00(19950 HUF)

Classic Tracking vs. Mantrailing

In classic tracking, the dog works with its nose close to the ground, following the track precisely and alerting to any potential discarded objects along the way. In mantrailing, on the other hand, dogs follow the scent with their noses held high, using air scent. May deviate several meters from the searched person’s path due to air movement. This method covers more ground and is faster.

This search method actually aligns more with a dog’s natural search behavior, as the hunting method of wolf packs also relies on air scenting. These two methods differ fundamentally in their execution and training techniques, so, as English and American experiences also support, training a dog for both methods reduces their effectiveness. Therefore, specialization is common among service dogs. (However, these search methods are not necessarily competitive with each other. One method may be more effective in one situation, while the other is better in another. For example, in the English police force, they often bring two dogs to the scene and decide which method to use based on the circumstances.)

A great way to tire your dog out

In addition to its practical benefits, mantrailing offers a sporting opportunity for both the dog and the owner. It’s an excellent way to physically and mentally exhaust the dog and provide an outlet for their energy through joint action with the owner.

Based on service experience, scent hounds, hunting dogs, and long-legged hounds are the most suitable for mantrailing. While German Shepherds and Malinois are more suitable for classic tracking. However, on a hobby level, practically any dog with appropriate fitness can participate in the sport. Good fitness is essential for the owner as well because, following adequate preparation, they may need to cover 10-20 kilometers in one session, following the dog’s pace. Overall, it can be said that a physically active owner and a dog who loves nature and adventure, and doesn’t shy away from a few thorny bushes or a water crossing, are needed for success.

Equipment Requirements

Mantrailing is not a typical team sport, but you definitely need a helper from the very beginning. (They will release the dog to search for us and later play the role of the missing person.) It’s advisable to choose patient and tolerant people as helpers because, at higher levels, you may have to wait for hours at the hiding spot.

For beginners, a 5-10 meter tracking leash and harness are necessary. The good tracking harness is comfortable and doesn’t hinder the dog’s movement. The harness also has another significant role. It “turns on” the dog and releases it from leash discipline, preventing unintentional pulls and frustration in the dog. Later on, you may need a mobile phone or GPS navigation (for possible contact with the “missing” person), a headlamp, drinking water, and a visibility vest.

Training and Initial Steps in Mantrailing

In this activity, it’s fundamental to trust your dog from the very beginning because the trail it follows is imperceptible to us. Moreover, the wind can carry the scent over long distances, so the dog may follow the trail in seemingly “impossible” places.

Training the dog is always done with positive reinforcement!


Motivation in the beginning can come from finding the owner or another familiar person, finding a toy or food with the missing person. For many dogs, the act of searching itself is rewarding, as Beagle or Coonhound owners can attest. Teaching other related tasks (such as signaling when they find the missing person through sitting, lying down, barking, or scent collection) is done using clicker training or other positive reinforcement methods.

The way the trail is laid is different from the traditional method; visible ground disturbances are not left behind. At lower levels, the searched person follows a predetermined path. Above a certain level, it’s not advisable for the dog handler to know the hiding place or the direction of movement of the searched person, as this could unintentionally influence the dog.

Starting Mantrailing

For dogs without prior training in activities like IPO (International Prüfungs-Ordnung) or those not specifically trained for search purposes, the training begins with the search for the owner. Initially, the dog sees where the owner is heading, but then no longer does, or only for a short distance. They can see where the owner is leaving, but afterward, they must rely on their nose. At this stage, the dog works without a leash over shorter distances. In the beginning, it’s essential to minimize distracting factors and create a situation where the dog uses its nose. It is important that the dog cannot see the owner. The owner should only make a sound if absolutely necessary.

Then, the training progresses with familiarization and searching for strangers and teaching scent collection. Additionally, it involves introducing distractions deliberately and gradually. (Longer tracks, time gaps, a richly distracting environment, other people, animals, overlapping tracks, wind, changes in temperature, and humidity).  Only one criterion changes at a time, so for example, when searching for a stranger, we initially reduce previously introduced distractions. In the beginning, the scent sample worn by the searched person should be for at least half a day or a full day. When teaching signaling, it helps if the searched person truly hides. At the end of a track, the dog has more difficulty indicating a person who is behaving naturally. There is no teaching of object indication in mantrailing.


If the dog makes a mistake, the search should be restarted from a known, correct starting point, encouraging the dog and avoiding negative effects.

Overall, mantrailing is a complex activity that effectively taps into a dog’s natural instincts, but it also requires well-structured training and a significant amount of trust in the dog. It is varied and exciting but demands dedication and perseverance.

Whatever sport you do with your dog, it’s a good idea to use supplements to help alleviate the increased physical strain.
Check out our Hip & Joint support products.


K9 FullFlex™

Food supplement rich in anti-cartilage wear substances, glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and chondroitin sulfate.

K9 FullFlex™ contains, in addition to the immune-boosting medicinal mushrooms (K9 Immunity™) contained in it, a large amount of high-quality natural substances specifically designed to regenerate and keep joints (connective tissues, cartilage and joints) healthy.

Areas of application

K9 FullFlex

K9 FullFlex

  • For large, fast-growing dog breeds, from a young age, to nourish and protect the bones, cartilage, and tendons, and to improve the general ability to move.
  • To alleviate the effects of increased physical stress on the joints and connective tissues of racing and working dogs.
  • For breeders, for the healthy development of the skeletal system (maintenance) of the individuals that most closely carry the breed traits.
  • In aging dogs, to preserve the elasticity and strength of the connective tissues, to delay natural wear and tear, and to preserve the dogs’ mobility.
  • For the additional treatment of injury and inflammation of connective tissues (bones, cartilage, joints, etc.), as well as various orthopedic surgical interventions, to shorten the regeneration period and to reduce pain.
  • Inappropriate housing and feeding, diseases due to ageing or diseases specific to the breed (arthritisosteoarthritis, various types of dysplasia, etc.) prevention, treatment and alleviation of symptoms.

Main ingredients of K9 FullFlex™ (4000 mg chewable tablet)

250 mg
It helps to maintain the health of joints, cartilages and tendons, helping them to regenerate and preventing further damage by maintaining and lubricating them.
Calcium carbonate
200 mg
A compound used to replace calcium, which is essential for the health of bones and joints. This breast relieves inflammation.
200 mg
Chondroitin sulphate is a major constituent of cartilage tissue due to its excellent water-binding capacity. Its water-binding capacity ensures the mechanical-elastic properties of cartilage.
(with Beta 1.3-1.6 glucan content)
185 mg
An immune-boosting ingredient containing medicinal mushrooms concentrates that, in addition to its general immune-boosting effects, accelerates the rebuilding process and provides the body with protection to prevent cartilage wear and tear.
185 mg
Thanks to its antioxidant action, it helps protect cells and supports the immune system. It slows down the ageing of cells, helps protect the body’s connective tissue fibres, inhibits wrinkling and preserves the skin’s water content. Its production decreases with age and external supplementation is recommended.
Protein obtained from hydrolyzed eggshell membrane (ESM)
100 mg
If either, it is one of the key active ingredients in K9 FullFlex™. It is produced by hydrolysis from a thin rubbery membrane on the inner wall of the eggshell for improved bioavailability. This protein solution has unique properties that make it one of the most important ingredients in the product, responsible for healthy joints. Among other things, the high ESM content (100 mg per wafer) distinguishes K9 FullFlex™ from similar products.
90 mg
Turmeric’s natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it a popular ingredient in joint care products, but its antioxidant content and immune-boosting effects are not negligible.
Boswellia serrata extract
70 mg
It is a natural NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) pain reliever. It acts on the same receptors as morphine, making it an immediate, long-lasting and powerful pain reliever. And it’s completely safe!
Bovine (milk) immune protein concentrate Colostrum
25 mg
Piper nigrum
10 mg
It can help reduce joint inflammation and muscle stiffness.

As well as

Calcium propionate, linseed, glycerin, lecithin, arrowroot, rosemary extract, vegetable oils and flavoring.

Contains eggs and milk!

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