Getting lost is a scary ordeal – not knowing where you are or how long it will take to be found is a terrifying situation.
Appalachian Bloodhound owners and operators Dave and Sandy Weik hope to alleviate that terror by having well-trained bloodhounds who are able to track anyone as quickly as possible.
Last weekend at Cass Harvest Days, the Weik’s trained with a dozen bloodhounds in the art of man-trailing.
“What we’re doing is basically training the dogs to track and trail,” Sandy said. “We get people with scents and we have them go run a trail, we hook up the dogs, have them smell the scent and then go find the person. It’s just basically practice for them to find what is built into them.”
Although they are large in stature, the group of six dogs training Sunday are still pups, so the trails they ran were short.
“They’re all under a year old,” Sandy said. “We’ll do runs from down at the pavilion up to the depot and then we’ll go up into town.”
Although the dogs are new to the man-trailing concept, the ability to know when they are at work and when they are able to play is engrained in their DNA.
“When they’re snapped on to the harness, it’s like a switch for them,” Sandy said. “When you put them on the regular collar, they’re off the clock.”
Along with training the dogs, Appalachian Bloodhounds made use of the weekend by “training” the public to know the process of using dogs to track lost people.
“We don’t want any interaction with them while they are training,” Sandy said. “When they’re working, we want them to concentrate and not have distractions.”
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org