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Mantrailing is the fastest growing dog sport in the UK. You can think of it as recreational search and rescue. We will train you and you dog to work as a team to find a specific person who is "missing", starting from an article with their scent on. Be warned - it is addictive!


Darwin's Dog Training School offers mantrailing, a sport focused on teaching pet dogs to track humans by scent. The game is simple - a person has disappeared, leaving behind an article of clothing that they have touched. From there, a mantrailing team (made up of you and your dog) will take the scent from the discarded article, and find the "missing" person. As your skills progress, there might not even be a discarded article. We might take scent from a car door handle, a gate post or an apple core. The key to mantrailing is teamwork. You cannot find the person without your dog's incredible nose, and your dog will need your help as a handler along the way. We are qualified with Mantrailing Global, the largest mantrailing organisation in the UK.


If you are looking for a sport that your dog will naturally excel at, mantrailing is for you. Dogs are mentally and physically designed to trail - even the breeds you wouldn't expect! Mantrailing is low-impact, so is suitable for dogs of all ages. It is incredibly mentally engaging, and naturally rewarding.


We always work one dog at a time, and always on lead. If you are working through reactivity or nervousness, mantrailing will give your dog a safe way to build confidence and get their daily exercise. We trail in locations in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas (up to 20 minutes outside of the city by car). We choose locations that will build your skills as a mantrailing team, giving you opportunities to trail in urban, rural and coastal locations. 

Getting Started

The first step in your mantrailing journey is to book an introduction session. Your introduction session will include fundamental skills you will require for trailing. We will also talk through the science of trailing. Once you have completed an introduction session, you are welcome to join any progression session. You will also be able to join any progression session with any Mantrailing Global instructor (which we would strongly encourage you to do if you have the chance!) 

Progression sessions

Progression sessions are booked as single events, as and when it suits your schedule (rather than committing to a regular slot). Progression sessions are typically around 3 hours long, and you will work with 3-4 other mantrailing teams. Depending on the training objective of the session, your team will do 2-4 trails in that time. You will also learn the art of trail laying for other teams - we all pitch in and it is great fun! 

What do you need to get started? 

You don't need much to get started on your mantrailing journey, but there are some key pieces of equipment that are necessary for safety. You will need a well-fitted, Y-fronted harness for your dog. We cannot trail dogs on collars or tightening harnesses for safety reasons. You will also need a 7-10 metre longline - any sort is fine, but you may find you have a preference for the type of material you like to trail with. You may like to wear gloves while handling a longline, particularly if your dog is strong. If you don't have a suitable harness or longline, please get in touch and we will do our best to lend you suitable equipment.

Other things you will need are:

  • 6 small pots of food (something really smelly and wet is ideal - tuna, sardines and cat food are popular choices!)

  • A reward toy if your dog uses one

  • A lightly worn article of your clothing, in a ziplock bag

  • Your dog, dressed in their normal flat collar and lead

  • Weather appropriate clothing for yourself and your dog (we trail in all weathers, as long as it is safe to do so)

  • Poo bags, water, regular training treats

Ready to get started? 

Click the links below

Bookings      FAQ's

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