Mantrailing has surged in popularity as a sport that harnesses a dog's innate ability to hunt, teaching them to locate individuals based on their unique scent. To delve deeper into this intriguing activity, Just Add Rover connected with Emma Cook, a leading instructor at Mantrailing Global, an establishment based in the UK committed to training and certifying Mantrailing aficionados. (Editor's Note: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.)
Mantrailing is more than just a sport; it's a mental and physical exercise for dogs, fostering a deep bond between pets and their owners and offering significant benefits, from confidence building to community engagement.
Mantrailing Global’s roots trace back to Lisa Gorenflo's passion, who, after being captivated by the sport in Germany, brought it to the UK.
Safety is paramount in Mantrailing. Through rigorous guidelines, training, and supervision, Mantrailing Global ensures that dogs and owners enjoy the sport in a secure environment.
Q: How would you describe the essence of Mantrailing to someone unfamiliar with the sport?
A: Mantrailing is a sport teaching dogs to find people by following their unique scent trail. All dogs have a natural ability to hunt, and Mantrailing provides them with an outlet to do this in a safe, controlled, and constructive way.
Q: What inspired you to bring Mantrailing to the UK, and how has the journey been from its inception to now?
A: Mantrailing Global was initiated by Lisa Gorenflo after she experienced Mantrailing in Germany. When Lisa couldn't find similar training in the UK, she decided to start her own club. Building on her existing dog training business, she incorporated Mantrailing, eventually earning her Certified Mantrailing Instructor title in Germany.
The sport quickly gained traction. Not only were pet owners keen to join, but other trainers wanted to introduce it to their clienteles. Recognizing the enthusiasm, Lisa ventured into training instructors. This gave birth to the Mantrailing Global Instructor course, an internationally recognized program emphasizing high-quality training standards.
Today, our instructor course is CPD [Continuing Professional Development] certified, and we are committed to offering top-notch training globally, making Mantrailing accessible to dog enthusiasts everywhere.
Q: What are some of the most significant benefits you've seen for dogs and their owners who participate in Mantrailing?
Mental Stimulation: Mantrailing provides dogs with mental exercise as they engage their sense of smell, problem-solving abilities, and concentration.
Physical Exercise: While Mantrailing is primarily a mental activity, it still requires physical effort. Dogs get to burn off energy during these sessions, which can contribute to their overall health and fitness.
Enhanced Bond: Working together in Mantrailing strengthens the bond between dogs and their owners. It's a collaborative effort that builds trust, communication, and teamwork. Owners learn to read their dogs' subtle cues and share the buzz of the trail together.
Confidence Building: Our training methods are tailored so that any pet dog can take part and enjoy it, even the nervous and reactive ones! Everything during Mantrailing is choice based, letting the dog lead the way, making Mantrailing a great confidence building tool which often transitions into their day-to-day life too.
Problem-Solving Skills: Mantrailing challenges dogs to use their problem-solving skills to follow a scent trail and make decisions independently.
Emotional Well-being: Engaging in Mantrailing can contribute to a dog and owners emotional well-being by reducing stress and anxiety. The mental stimulation and positive interactions, as well as it encouraging them to spend time outdoors, helps create a sense of contentment and happiness.
Community: We pride ourselves in the community we have built for our clients. Many of the dog owners who attend our Mantrailing sessions feel that the social aspect of our training sessions is just as impactful and important as the Mantrailing itself. Creating a space where you can be around likeminded people who share the fun of the trail has always been very important to us, and for those with reactive dogs, it also means they are part of an accepting and understanding community where they can enjoy spending time with their dog without judgement.
Q: Can you share a memorable success story or transformation you've witnessed through your Mantrailing training?
A: Aggi, an 18-month-old dog, suffered from meningitis which led to seizures and mobility issues. After intensive chemotherapy, she was mostly confined at home, which affected her socialization skills. Many encounters she had were with vets, causing fear towards new people. When she recovered, her owner Ellie introduced her to Mantrailing, helping her rebuild positive associations.
'’Mantrailing has helped Aggi enormously to make positive associations with people again, which has also noticeably transitioned into day-to-day life. Mantrailing isn’t just an activity to us; it has changed both our lives.'’ - Ellie Allsopp
Q: What differentiates the Mantrailing Global Instructor course from other dog training programs, and why is it essential for potential instructors?
A: We pride ourselves in our high standards of training alongside our commitment to developing our instructors to become the best dog trainers they can be in the field of Mantrailing as well as in other aspects of their business. We are proud of the awesome community we have built, promoting our instructors to work together. It is this ethos, along with our high standards of training, which has catapulted us into becoming the largest organisation teaching Mantrailing.
The Instructor Course is a great mixture of practical training and theory learning, creating solid building blocks of knowledge for a successful career in Mantrailing training. The learning doesn’t stop after you qualify as a Mantrailing Global Instructor either. After successful completion of our Instructor Course, you will be invited to join our optional online Instructor Guild to gain access to our large bank of resources, online support, and webinars from our founder, head instructors, and expert guest speakers to keep you current on training, coaching, and business support. We also offer in-person instructor development workshops, which will provide you with the opportunity to network with other instructors and gain on-going support, training progression, and coaching in-person from the Head Instructor team.
Q: Safety is paramount in any dog activity. How do you ensure the safety of both dogs and their trainers during Mantrailing sessions?
A: During our sessions, dogs are worked on a long-line at all times, kept under the control by their owner, and supervised and coached by the instructor at all times. Training is given to clients on how to handle the dogs whilst working safely in different trailing environments and risk assessments are conducted by the instructors at all venues that are used. Dogs are also only ever worked one at a time during sessions whilst the other dogs settle in their vehicles supervised by a member of the team between goes.
Q: With the expansion of Mantrailing Global, what vision do you hold for the future of Mantrailing as a sport and its global impact?
A: Mantrailing Global has, and always will be, an ever-evolving organisation that never stands still. We are really proud that we are now a global company after successfully establishing Mantrailing as a sport in the UK over the past six years, and we plan to continue to spread the word and our wisdom of Mantrailing across the world so that more dog and owner teams can benefit and enjoy the sport too.
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