When dog hobby carries you away – Anu and Linda Hausen think that special tracking is the very best thing!

1.12.2021, Kati Jukarainen

Scent trailing is a dog hobby where a person and a dog work as partners. Anu and Linda Hausen are a mother and a daughter who both are dog enthusiasts. They both share the dog hobby special tracking. We go out, rain or shine, to train, all year long.

’The best thing in scent trailing is doing things with your dog and fresh outdoor air’

Tracking based on a ground scent is exciting and intensive for both a dog and a person participating in the hobby with it. Linda Hausen is an enthusiast interested in various dog breeds, whose main interest is special tracking. Her own dogs, 7.5-year-old Mila and 3-year-old Ansa, train with Linda. Both dogs enjoy when they get a chance to go out scent trailing.

– In special tracking, a dog tracks a trail walked by a person, based on a ground scent. The dog’s task is to find items left on the trail, and to express that it has found them, usually by getting down, Linda opens their sport.

In special tracking, there are scent trails left by a person on a field, in the form of straight lines, arcs and angles. There are also items that need to be shown. A dog finds the trail working its nose on the ground. There are several different types of tests connected with scent trailing for dogs. It is no wonder, since nose work and using its sense of smell is natural for a dog and a meaningful task.

Dogs benefit from this hobby in other ways, too. Trailing and intensive work relax dogs. A dog sport may also be a way to unravel an active dog’s need to make a fuss. Even many quite lively dogs learn to trail and benefit this way from its balancing impact.

Like her daughter, Anu Hausen is equally interested in different dog sports, and special tracking in particular. Both women became familiar with trailing on a summer camp organized by Suomen Hovawart ry in 2014.

Even though this activity is practiced in the varying weather circumstances in Finland all year long, weather is not a problem. On the contrary! According to Anu and Linda, the best thing in this sport is training with a dog, fresh outdoor air and nice company in a relaxing environment.


A working pair is the most important objective of trailing

In special tracking, a pair consists of a dog and a person. Nevertheless, it is important that a dog drives independently. A person’s task is merely to help the dog to move more easily. This exercise requires self-discipline also from the instructor, because one must trust the dog in all kinds of situations. A good instructor knows how to read the dog’s body language and trusts his or her dog and its nose.

Scent trailing is an easy and rather inexpensive hobby. You can train alone or with someone else, regardless of the time. In addition to a location suitable for the exercise, you need a dog, a tracking lead and items to be found based on the scent. When practicing this hobby, you’ll easily get to know also people who are interested in the same things. If you have desire, you may also compete in trailing. Linda competes actively with Mila. The purpose is to compete with the younger dog, Ansa, the following summer. Currently, Anu competes in this sport with a dog called Strega, from Stelmo´s kennel.

A well-trained dog learns to avoid also stray scents, that come into being when a person or an animal has just walked over the trail that is being followed. Quality training and abundant training produce the best possible result also when there is a challenging trail to be followed.

– My aim is to train dogs motivated in scent trailing, who follow trails in a technically skilled manner. In trials and competitions, I pursue the best possible results! Strega is a fabulous mate in this hobby, following trails very independently and strongly, Anu praises her competition partner.

A competition situation may be as nerve-racking as exciting. Even though you are familiar with the dog, every day is different. The weather may also vary during the competition day.

– Competing in this sport is exciting. You cannot know exactly what kind of weather there is when it is your turn to perform in the competition. Even though you know basically what is the level of your own dog’s training, you cannot ever know exactly what there is to come, when competing together with animals, Linda tells us. 

A versatile dog hobby advances when both the instructor and the dog gather skills. It is easy to increase the challenge factor. The trail can be made more difficult using longer and angular tracks. The ageing period of trails has also its own impact on the level of difficulty – the older the trail, the more challenging it will be to scent. The most skilful dogs track scents also for example over ditches. Variations in weather circumstances affect also the dog’s working. Therefore, it is important to train in all kinds of weathers. 

Weather plays a major role in the ageing and conservation of a track. A heavy rain washes the track quickly away. A wind can also be challenging. It may transfer a scent away from its place.

As far as dressing is concerned, an outdoor dog hobby requires a lot

Changing weather, and the cold season continuing from autumn until spring in particular, are a part of the dog hobby. Both Anu and Linda think that cold and breeze are to a great extent a question of attitude and dressing. Both women rely on dressing in layers and merino wool.

– We’ll stay warm as we dress according to the weather. And in addition to this, we keep moving and have warm drink, Anu laughs. 

– This is a really down to earth sport. We go out to train it in almost any kind of weather, because you may face any kind of weather in trials, too, for instance a hard rain or a heavy wind, Linda adds. 

– When practicing the hobby takes place in a wide-open space, wind is a major cause of the cold in spring and autumn. Often you spend long periods of time on the fields, if you have several dogs with you. You always let the trails age, too, which takes time. Warm clothing has an important role. I prefer dressing in layers, wearing boots or hiking shoes, and when necessary, wool socks, a good wind resistant jacket, a beanie and gloves. I have also a rain jacket almost always in the car, Linda tells us about the dressing required by the sport.

By dressing in layers, you can also prepare for the weather also on site, because it is easy to adjust the gear by adding or removing layers. Dressing in layers helps you also to get more out of your garments, as you have several options to combine them. 

Linda and Anu have tested North Outdoor products in their exercises. Sensitive merino baselayer set, merino sweaters of the Nature collection and merino gloves that function with touch screens have been in a particularly heavy use.

– I think it is difficult to name just one favourite product from North Outdoor. At the moment

Sensitive merino baselayer set and merino gloves for touch screens are in heavy use. The touch feature in gloves is really good, for example when you like to shoot images or video during the training. Thanks to merino wool, the gloves are also really warm, Linda marvels. 

North Outdoor’s merino gloves function with touch screens, which means that you don’t have to take the gloves off, if you wish to use for example a phone with a touch screen.
#tracking #doghobby #specialtracking #dogs