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I have a new 3 year old basset hound that I got from the shelter about a week ago. I love bassets for several reasons, BUT one of the top 2 reasons that I got him is because we have 4 children. My 4 year old daughter was missing last year. She was recovered safely, but I made up my mind that I would have a hound after that incident. How can we train our basset to track a child's scent if this ever happens again?
 

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Where are you located? There should be a local Search and Rescue group that may be able to help you or at least point you in a direction to someone that can hep you. If you do go that route, think about volunteering for your local SAR (Search and Rescue) group. They are always in need of help :)

If you give me your location (like state) I may be able to point you in a direction on where to look :)
 

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I don't think a tracking dog will be of much use in this situation. If a child has special needs and keeps wandering off, there are organizations that will help provide tracking devices and containment equipment (special locks, video surveillance, etc.) for families who can't afford it themselves. If a child is abducted, a tracking dog won't be of much use, because abductors usually use vehicles. If a child who does not have special needs keeps wandering off. . .idk, teach them not to, or watch them more closely if they're too young.

Although training a dog to track can be fun, too, so if that's what you want to do, that's great! But just don't expect this to take the place of more proactive methods of keeping track of your kids.
 

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I've used Esther to track Molly and my daughter's schnauzer, Zeke. She does it instinctively, and she's good at it.

I don't know if I'd count on her to find a missing human family member, though.

Still, a basset is a lovely family dog and you and he are lucky to have found each other.
 

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A friend "played" with me and Mandy last summer in Sweden. We took her favorite ball and I threw it out in the forest so Mandy could see. Then I removed Mandy from the area. (I put her in the car) My friend walked into the forest way over on the side, made sure she came to where I threw the ball, picked it up and continued with it for quite a bit before she dropped the ball on the side of the her track 50 yards/meters or so later. (the whole thing then made a T)
I brought Mandy after about 30 - 45 minutes and let her go out where she saw me throw the ball. She picked up my friends track right away, first she walked a few steps in the direction my friend came from, before she turned on her own accord and followed her track until she found the ball. The dog knows ... we just have to make it clear what we're looking for.
She REALLY liked this "game" and we played it several times. After the first few times my friend (or I) walked into the forest, without her seeing us, with the ball and dropped it after about 100 - 150 yards/meters. She very clearly followed our track ... and she very clearly was very good at it with no "teaching" what so ever.
We can't 'teach' a dog to track, they have the nose and we don't really know what they smell. Even if they track something we don't anticipate, we don't know so the dog can't ever be "wrong" ... we just have to praise what we want.

It's a GREAT 'game' ... but, if you want to do it more seriously I suggest you find a SAR group to work with.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the suggestions. The child is not special needs, just verrrrry mischievious! She was actually hiding when this incident happened. But she stayed in hiding until the police dogs found her. She THOUGHT it was a fun game. I just wanted a little EXTRA help in the form of my sweetie hound, Roofus......THANKS YOU GUYS!!
 

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For the most part, a good dog can be the first best solution to finding a person. I've never trained a bassett for this kind of work. When I was 9 months old, a Dobe pup was bought for me. She slept on my dirty clothes under the baby bed. The sole purpose of her life was about keeping track of baby. You'd have to understand how my mother did this was the dog (even as a pup) was not a play, play, play dog. Not by the adults. No games. She was allowed to play with us kids but Mom started out by saying, the dog's name & would ask where I was by name. "Where's (the kid's name)?" was a command to find me. No matter what she was doing at the time, she stopped & went on the hunt for me. When I got to the point of walking real good, I started following our other Dobermann holding her harness & the other female was a hunting dog. My parents, 2 sets of grandparents went on a baby hunt. It's surprising how far a child can go in short time. Mother said everyone freaked out when they found me holding to Dodie's harness & my dog had me by the seat of the pants pulling me away. That was one SMART dog... the other dog was hot & was headed to the lake & I would have went right with her but I didn't yet know how to swim. Who knows I might have drowned. The sun didn't set before mother had the king of all yard fences around the yard like she wanted to begin with. People can critize all they want but a child can slip away even with the best of care. I had a doll with the same color hair as mine & I'd set it in the sandbox. Mom thought she was seeing my head but when there were no dogs she dried her hands off & came to look as something was wrong. Even as a baby the dogs were always close. My mother was the sort that gave children the illusion of freedom... but she was always at the window, always looking out the door but that danged doll fooled her for just enough time for me to make a get-away. I was too young to remember it. I wasn't being ornery, I was following a dog.

Just tonight I started training my new pup to track me. We're a little behind in our lessons as I got her as an older pup. We live in the country so I can turn her loose unrestrained so long as I have a solid recall. I let her wander around until she's not paying attention & I step out of sight & then I'll say her name or I'll whistle. I don't move, I don't make a sound & when she finds me I praise her lavishly. Next round, I'll slip around a building or what have you to lengthen the track. Always her reward is the find & the praise. We don't do toys or food for a find. Everything is done in stages but the key point is to get the dog using their nose. Then when my dog is solid I'll have someone she doesn't know handle the track line & I'll hide (short short short distances at first) & teach her to track by calling her. At first there's no line used, then I add a tracking line & teach the dog to pull against it. Finally I'd have the kids involved.

With kids I tell them they're helping train the dog. I don't really treat this as a game. As you well know, when you're child is missing you don't feel in 'game' mode. Keep in mind on the day that dog's needed, if you're stressed & freaking out the dog can't work for you if he's been taught this is all fun & games & now suddenly you're rushing & a wreck. And yes, before anyone goes there... I have done this live. The person handling a tracking dog when someone's lost has to keep it together. It's okay to have fun with what you're doing but I always train the way I'll work when we're called upon.

You'll want to keep your basset in fit condition. For the most part the hope is that he'd only have to go a short distance to show where the little one is 'hiding' (& scaring you half to death) but if little britches did get to chasing butterflies & get farther away, you don't want your dog to poop out because he's not in shape.

I LOVE to get the older kids involved. Truly I encourage every family that has a dog to do a little tracking with their dog. I've had a couple of families whose dogs saved their kids from being hurt & one tracked a child who was autistic... & it wasn't even that dog's child.

Happy tracking.
 

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Training a dog to perform Search and Rescue work is no easy feat. I just finished reading "Scent of the Missing", which I highly recommend if you're interested in this sort of thing.

I guess if you're looking to try to teach the dog to track one person in particular (your daughter), my best advice would be to stage lots of hide-and-go-seek games. You can start easy where she's just hiding inside the house, in plain sight, and then work up to harder finds outdoors where the dog really has a challenge. Make sure you practice a lot and give lots of high value rewards.
 

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Training a dog to perform Search and Rescue work is no easy feat. I just finished reading "Scent of the Missing", which I highly recommend if you're interested in this sort of thing.

I guess if you're looking to try to teach the dog to track one person in particular (your daughter), my best advice would be to stage lots of hide-and-go-seek games. You can start easy where she's just hiding inside the house, in plain sight, and then work up to harder finds outdoors where the dog really has a challenge. Make sure you practice a lot and give lots of high value rewards.
I am going to pick up this book as I am interested in doing SAR work. Looking forward to reading it.
 
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