“Molecular dogs” to find missing people

Dog trainer Silvia Barbieri  tell us more about mantrailing.
Silvia and her dog Lady

Almost everyone has heard of rescue dogs.When a person gets lost or there is a catastrophe, rescue dogs are among the first support to intervene together with the Fire Brigade, Police and Civil Defence. Mantrailing dogs have a distinct task: to find a specific person out of hundreds.   How is it possible? They can discriminate among various human traces and follow an exact one.

    1. What is mantrailing?
    2. What does “molecular dog” mean?
    3. Why a dog?
    4. How does it work?
    5. What training is required?

What is mantrailing?

It is an activity carried out by the couple dog/handler. It can be recreationally or professionally done. It takes advantage of the dog’s sense of smell, its most developed sense, to find people who have been missing.

What does “molecular dog” mean?

The dog with its powerful nose follows the trace left by the missing person. He will start from an input (which can be a personal object but also a trace left inside a closed place, for example a vehicle, or in a certain passage point). The dog will track the direction the missing person has taken and make us find useful clues such as samples for the scientific police to analyse.

Why a dog?

Porquê um cão?Why a dog? Did you know that our 4-legged friends can breathe in up to 300 times a minute and breathe out a single long exhalation? Find out more about the anatomy of a dog’s nose.




How does it work?

The dog is presented with a trace (called input) which he memorizes and from there begins to mark the track, indicates the way, communicates with the handler. The most complex job part belongs to the handler who needs to grasp and correctly interpret the signals that the dog sends.


What training is required?

For this very reason, training is long and demanding. The dog needs to get used to different environments, to understand how to work among people without making mistakes (for example picking the wrong person). He should not get distracted by other dogs, by smells or noises.

The handler, on the other side, needs to know his dog very well to be able to correct him promptly.

More info on this web site:  British Mantrailing Academy

This article was written by dog trainer Silvia Barbieri, learn more on her facebook and instagram.

Leave a Reply