Working with the tracking dogs... What you can expect

What you should expect

Although the goal is to find and recover your pet there are five different outcomes that can result when hiring a handler and tracking team. These outcomes are explained in the contract. We are not wizards and we don't have magic wands. We perform an Investigation and search similar to that performed by law enforcement in missing person cases. In any search there are circumstances that can happen and are out of our control.

Lead dog Cade

You should know a little about Scent and your pet

There are many factors that affect scent and a tracking dog's ability to easily find and follow your pet's scent trail. Time, weather, heat, strong winds, heavy rains, ice, snow, nicotine from cigarette smoke, or heavy contamination by chemical, auto fumes, diesel or gasoline can all contribute to a poor or difficult scent trail. Personally, it is rare for my dogs to have difficulty picking up any scent trail but it is necessary to note the possibility.


 Rain and Snow...
Contrary to popular belief, rain and snow do not wash scent away but inour experience actually refreshes it and makes it easier for most dogs to detect and follow. (A flood or large scale puddling however will make scent difficult and maybe impossible for the dogs to follow).

It is also important to note that pets, especially dogs can travel great distances depending on how long they have been missing. The best Scent detection K9s are trained to follow the most recent scent trail they can find but if your pet has been out in the escape area for a length of time and has cross over his own tracks, this can make detecting the correct track difficult and time consuming for the dog team. Also be sure and alert the Field Agent/Handler  if prior to his disappearance, your pet spent time in the escape area besides inside his own home, car, yard, etc.





The Scent Article

It is a necessary requirement to have an article that your missing pet has touched, laid on, used, played with or somehow has accumulated the pet's scent on it. The article must be free of scent from other pets. This article is how the tracking dogs will sort out from all the millions of scent particles in the atmosphere; those that belong to just your missing dog.

We do not use the actual article but instead have the pet owner prepare a group of scent pads that we present to the Scent Detection dogs. We use gauze for the scent pads as this is the easiest material for most pet owners to get. Rolls of gauze cut into 8" lengths or gauze 3X3s or 4X4s in the package are also fine. Just make sure nothing is scented with medicine, perfume or aroma.

Take at least six (6) gauze pieces, (if you are using packaged gauze 4X4 pieces take them out of the wrappers and unfold them), and roll them inside the selected scent article with your pet's scent. Place the article and the gauze inside a Zip-lok bag and seal the bag. The scent from the article will permeate into the gauze and we will open the bag and place the now scented gauze in a plastic bag for presentation to the dog team at the beginning of the search. We prefer that the gauze and article are sealed together in the bag for at least 12 hours.

Other things to have ready for the arrival of the K9 team:

 Posters & hanging materials: Have at least five posters pre-made and ready to hang. As the search and Investigation unfolds, it may be necessary to get public help when your pet's direction of travel and location are discovered.

 Fliers: Have at least 30 preferably color but at least black and white to hand to people as calling cards as the search proceeds.

 Color photo of your pet. If possible place this photo in plastic or have it laminated. We will use this photo extensively as we continue to find members of the public that can confirm when your pet was in the area based on the trail. Leads and evidence we are following.

 Dress in comfortable clothing and running shoes: We may cover a lot of ground especially with a dog at large so if you are going to "run behind the big dogs", be prepared.

 Bring your missing pet's favorite smelly treat, a squeaky toy, whistle or anything that your pet may respond to that is sensory, auditory or visual.

 Leashes, carrier, collars, harness, etc. Be prepared with someway to keep your pet contained should we locate him while searching.

 If it is believed that the pet is at large and we can ascertain a location, be prepared to set up a feeding and comfort station as well as have humane traps available nearby.

 A car or truck that can transport a  Field Agent/Handler and one dog.
Sometimes the trail gets long, hard and fast and it is best if the pet owner can follow or at least have transportation nearby. We have used golf carts, farm trucks, SUVs and even a sports car. Dogs and people get hot and tired when working a long trail. It's great to be able to drive back to the base where the van is rather than walking the whole thing. Out in the wilderness we may not have much choice and walking in and out maybe the only route available.

NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE... Time permitting
 Call ALL the local TV news stations and local newspapers.
Make them aware that in the search for your missing pet you have hired an out of area Pet Detective with Pet Detection tracking dog teams to help look for your missing pet. Create a story angle using facts and anything interesting or heartwarming about your pet or your situation. At this time most pet owners are able to get news coverage about their missing pets by letting them know we are coming. (Exception will be if they have reported on something similar recently).

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