Tracking is a well-known sport for dogs wherein they follow scent trails to locate objects. Dog organizations from around the globe hold competitions and tournaments for tracking dogs with prizes and titles awarded to the dogs and their owners.
What breed are Tracking Dogs?
All dogs can track. They have a very keen sense of smell – around 100,000 times stronger than humans – due to the abundant olfactory receptors they possess. This means any breed can qualify for a tracking dog title.
However, training is required to be able to complete the different courses and levels of difficulty in the field. Proper exercise, diet, and training for the tracking dog candidate is a must, especially for courses that may take time to finish. Knowledge of the physical limitations of the dog breed is also helpful.
What are Tracking Dogs Titles?
Dogs compete for different tracking dog titles, namely: Tracking Dog (TD), Tracking Dog Urban (TDU), Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX), and Variable Surface Tracking (VST). A Champion Tracker (CT) title is achieved when a tracking dog has earned all three titles. More information regarding the different titles and how they are achieved and judged are provided by the American Kennel Club, one of the most well-known dog organizations and when it comes to companion events.
Tracking Dog Jobs
Tracking dogs are not only for show. Because of the training received by tracking dogs, they could go on to be police dogs, search and rescue Dogs, hunting dogs and more, making them invaluable to the community.
Overview of Tracking Dog Wearables
With the rise of technology, different gadgets have been invented not only to help humans but also our furry companions. Among these are pet wearables that have a variety of uses, from tracking your dogs’ location to tracking their health.
Why Use Pet Wearables for Tracking Dogs?
Since tracking dogs undergo mild to extensive training, tracking dog wearables that monitor activity would be a great help to handlers in assessing their dogs’ progress. Some pet wearables also have training features to help correct behavior with tones and vibrations, helping tracking dog handlers to motivate their companions.
GPS Tracker for Tracking Dogs
In a tracking exhibition, tracking dogs will usually have a lead and harness. However, some dogs are more eager than others and have been known to excitedly bound towards the trail. If the tracking dog is being trained beyond just acquiring the titles, handlers can have them track unharnessed or unleashed. Pet wearables that can locate a tracking dog are helpful, preferably GPS enabled, are also suitable for courses that have a wide coverage area.
Ideal GPS Tracker Features for Tracking Dogs
- Light weight – For tracking dogs, the ideal GPS tracker should be lightweight, which will allow them to move freely to find a trail.
- Waterproof – Tracking dogs will also benefit from waterproof GPS trackers if they have to go through areas where there is dew on the grass or if it has been raining.
- Long Battery – A GPS tracker with a long battery life is also recommended for tracking sessions that might last a few hours.
- Geofencing – Some GPS trackers have invisible fencing or geofencing features so your tracking dog is limited to a designated tracking area. This will be particularly helpful in the event that a tracking dog gets too excited or motivated to track and then decides to search on their own, which means leaving the safety of their home.
Click here to see GPS trackers for tracking dogs available in the market.
Activity Tracker for Tracking Dogs
Did you know that around four million of the United Kingdom’s dogs are obese? Did you know that some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to hip dysplasia compared to others? Some dog breeds need plenty of exercise while others can get over stimulated. Do you know how healthy your dog is compared to others of the same breed?
Tracking dogs are professionals and need to maintain good health for optimum performance in their field. This includes maintaining their weight, maintaining a proper diet, and getting enough sleep and exercise, to name a few.
Ideal Activity Tracker Features for Tracking Dogs
- Breed specific information – Since tracking dogs can be any breed of dog, it is important to note just how much exercise a certain breed should have, along with what food and how much they consume. How long should you engage your tracking dog when it comes to exercises and drills? What type of food should you use during training that won’t compromise their health?
- General information – No two breeds are the same so activity trackers for tracking dogs should ideally include information regarding the different breeds and could offer a baseline for the needs of each breed. Activity trackers like the FitBark have this helpful feature. It can compare the statistics of the tracking dog not only to other dogs of the same breed but to that of other breeds as well.
- Personal Statistics – It also takes into consideration the tracking dog’s age and weight. All this information is available through the app that comes with the pet wearable.
- Accelerometers – Aside from statistics, activity trackers can also monitor your dog’s sleeping pattern as well as their play time using accelerometers. This gauges their rest time and their active time which becomes the basis in determining whether your tracking dog is sick (lethargic) or anxious (restless). The amount of sleep they get each night is also an indicator of their health condition.
Healthy dogs are happy tracking dogs. They can easily be motivated to continue tracking even during long hours to cover wide areas. Using activity trackers, handlers can estimate if their tracking dog is excited to be doing the exercise or if it is too tired. They will also be informed of the suggested diet required by their tracking dog.
Click here to view activity trackers for tracking dogs.
Smart Collar for Tracking Dogs
Most, if not all, tracking dog wearables are considered “smart” since they use “smart technology.” Smart collars are often a combination of pet wearables already mentioned above. They have a built-in tracker for locating your tracking dog, as well as an activity tracker to monitor your dog’s well-being.
Smart Collar Features for Tracking Dogs
- Training Aid – Some features of smart collars for tracking dogs are training related. Take for example WÜF’s built-in speaker, which allows two-way communication and lets handlers give voice commands from a distance. Other features include alarms and timers which alerts handlers when time is up during tracking exercises or when it’s time to reward your tracking dog with a treat.
- Apps – The most notable feature of smart collars for tracking dogs are the apps that come with them. The apps are able to display all the statistics and features offered by the devices without the hassle of checking the collar yourself. Just download the apps, which are usually available in both the Android and iOS app stores, to view your tracking dog’s details in full.
- Customizable/Programmable – With the app, the smart collar is programmable so the users are able to set the time, browse through information, and basically modify the device features specifically to meet the tracking dog’s
Click here to see more smart collars for tracking dogs in detail.
Future of Tracking Dog Wearables
Tracking dogs are prized for their ability to pick up a scent and locate the object required. As such, great care should be placed on their health, especially that of their noses.
- Interactive Training Aid – With the steady evolution of technology, it won’t be long before tracking dog wearables will include interactive training instructions on teaching your dog how to track. It might even have sensors indicating whether or not a certain area contains overpowering odors that could harm or overwhelm a tracking dog’s olfactory receptors.
- Companion Accessories – A good feature to add would be an automatic treat dispenser whenever the tracking dog has picked up the correct scent or is in need of motivation. Perhaps pet wearables aimed specifically at tracking dogs will include companion accessories that emit or imitate different odors for practice. At the same time, the scent emitted by the accessory would be safe for both humans and dogs.
- Full Body Pet Wearables – For dog breeds that are small or fragile, pet wearables may include lightweight vests enabling them to track in rough or ragged terrain. These vests could also act as a temperature moderator when tracking in environments with harsh weather.
- SOS Feature or Signal – While tracking is a relatively safe sport for dogs to participate in, tracking dogs that will be assisting the police or the military might traverse suspicious locations and take part in dangerous situations. An SOS feature that only alerts officials and the handler would be a nice addition to pet wearables.
- Stimulators – If the object to be tracked down is dangerous, like a bomb or illegal drugs and substances, tracking dogs are trained to stay at a safe distance. But as an added measure, a stimulus release by smart collars to calm them would be ideal. That way, even if the object is right in front of them, the tracking dogs will not feel the urge to pounce or get closer.
A lot of Kickstarter campaigns are already in the works for making the best pet wearable anyone will ever need, with some including two-way cameras and others with a longer battery life, which can last for at least a month.
There is indeed a lot in store for these hardworking tracking dogs. Here at PetNuity, we aim to be the top pet wearable authority by keeping you up to date with the latest news, reviews, and innovations available on the market.