Dogs can follow their noses to new course at obedience club

Glynnis McLaughlin and Paddy follow the scent in a tracking training session.
Glynnis McLaughlin and Paddy follow the scent in a tracking training session. Valerie Horton

UNLIKE humans, dogs are born with the ability to track.

So training will come as second nature to those dogs that take part in the unique world of tracking training at the Hervey Bay Dog Obedience and Kennel Club, spokeswoman Glennys McLaughlin said.

The avid dog lover and her beautiful black labrador Paddy are well known around the circuit for their high level of skill in agility, but the two are set to take on a new challenge when the beginner session of tracking starts at the Boundary Rd club on March 24.

Ms McLaughlin said about 12 dogs and their owners had already signed up for the sport that was fast growing in popularity world-wide due to its many positive attributes.

"For me, it's a really fun thing to do with your dog and something that engages the dog," she said.

"Dogs like to work. It's like us playing a game of sport - it's enjoyable and it's something they do naturally.

"You also tend to meet a lot of like-minded people and get to have a lot of social interaction."

She said tracking was a sport where a dog followed a scent trail left by a known person for beginners and an unknown person as the training advanced.

Some of the best competitive trialling dogs are able to track an unknown person's discarded items, along a 1200m long course that includes six difficult 45-degree turns and two cross-over tracks, left by two totally unknown people to try and entice the dog away from his original path.

Ms McLaughlin said the sport was suitable for any age, fitness level and breed of dog.

"Any breed whatsoever can do it. Dogs are born with the ability to track, we are not.

"It's one of those things where you don't actually train your dog to do it - you walk behind the dog and they do all the work.

"It really is quite interesting and wonderful."

All you need to take part is a sturdy harness, a 10m long line or lead and a desire to spend some quality time with your dog.

"You will also need a few pairs of dirty socks to leave as a trail."

Ms McLaughlin's aim is to learn something new with her beloved four-legged friend, but said it certainly couldn't hurt to gain some extra benefits along the way.

"I also wouldn't mind training Paddy to be able to find my keys if I ever lose them," she laughed.

Anyone interested in taking part can phone Debbie Plater on 0417 513 469 or email trackingwithdogs@gmail.com.

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