Does your dog love to sniff? Do you enjoy spending time with your dog outdoors? Wonder if your dog would be good at Search and Rescue? Start building a solid foundation in tracking and mantrailing with our online course, and/or in-person practices at Barrett Dog Sports (Calgary).

In Hunter's Heart Tracking & Trailing Foundation Course, your dog will learn to use their nose to follow the scent left behind in a specific tracklayer's footprints and indicate all the articles (aka evidence) they leave behind. 

Puppies enjoy learning as soon as they enjoy food rewards, but all ages and types of dogs thrive with our motivational approach. 

This Tracking & Trailing Online Course will help beginners to build a solid foundation for CKC & AKC tracking tests, Search and Rescue candidates, trailing, mantrailing, and finding lost items for deployments or NASDA competition. 

Let's get sniffing!


Building Motivation Using Errorless Learning

The secret to training great tracking dogs is that training has to be fun! 

Tracking is like a dance: in this course, you'll learn the steps to success without pressure, minimizing missteps, confusion, and frustration. 

While many trainers struggle to get their dogs to focus on a handler-scented article, we start by putting high-value food rewards on the glove for free. (For clicker-savvy trainers, this is classical conditioning, where the dog forms a positive association. The article makes the dog feel good because it predicts rewards.) 

By repeating this exercise, many dogs offer to lie down, waiting for the next reward, without ever making a mistake! (For dogs who don't offer to lie down, we show how to help them.) Then we gradually increase the difficulty. 

Our field-tested protocols are so clear, powerful, and that dogs of all ages can succeed. This video shows Andre's early training (from introducing the indication at 8 weeks to preliminary understanding at 4 months. (Since the video, Andre progressed to deployments and has titled in NASDA Lost Items Level I.)  


Learn Where and When It's Convenient for You

  • Our in-person classes provide hands-on practice in Calgary, plus you'll automatically be enrolled in the online course. Our field tracking classes are Barrett Dog Sports (Hwy 22X, two km East of the city limit). With 18 acres, there's plenty of room!
  • The online course is entirely remote. Follow the protocol to introduce your dog to tracking indoors first, especially if you're training in the Canadian winter! Then you'll transfer the skills outside.  You'll get answers to your questions right inside the lessons. You can post 2 - 3 minute videos of your training session for feedback from the instructor.  Troubleshooting is included in the price. 
  • When the course is done, you'll still have access to our private student and alumni Facebook group.
  • Looking for private lessons or seminars? Email Carla about availability. 

Start tracking today!

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  • Learn about the key success factors for tracking and trailing teams.
  • Motivate your unique dog to love finding scent, so distractions aren't as noticeable. 
  • Develop a reward sequence that practices the behaviors you want, and none of those you don't.  
  • Clear protocols that walk you through every step to success.
  • Learn about the most common errors, how to prevent them, and how to overcome them with customized troubleshooting. 
  • Develop a clear system of communication with your dog. 
  • Demonstration videos covering field and urban tracking and trailing.
  • Get answers to your questions on our private Facebook student discussion group. Coaching and troubleshooting by the instructor are included in the price. 
  • Have fun, guaranteed.If you don't enjoy the course, you have 7 days to request a full refund. Let's get sniffing!
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What You'll Learn

  • Preparing to Track
    • Learn about tracking, tracklaying, indications, and how we use component training to help dogs to succeed.
    • Get answers to your tracking questions and learn how to read the tracking maps.
  • Train your indication indoors in a distraction free environment first. Choose the reward that works best for your dog: either food rewards on a target plate, or finding a handler scented toy. 
  • Scent pads - Form a positive association with ground disturbance using food rewards left on a scent pad.
  • Gradually lengthen the footsteps leaving the scent pad into a short, motivational track. 
  • Once indication training is complete, combine short tracks with articles. 
  • Practice your start routine including putting the nose to the ground, with high frequency sniffing and a closed mouth. 
  • Motivate your dog to love tracking and trailing. 
  • We'll cover beginner tracks on hard surfaces (gravel is  preferred, but asphalt, concrete and cobblestones also work) and in fields. If you only have access to one type of surface, use what you have. 

What to Expect

  • No prior experience is required (for beginner teams). Suitable for all ages of puppies/dogs. (We’ll adjust the training accordingly e.g. puppies run fewer, shorter tracks.
  • Tracking is usually a vigorous workout for most handlers and dogs, over uneven fields that may have deep snow, making them slippery or wet. 
  • Tracking is usually outdoors, so come dressed in layers suitable for changing conditions. Don't forget water for you and your dog. 
  • You'll use rewards to build motivation for tracking. We’ll set you up for success with clear communication that minimizes confusion. We will not correct a dog for making mistakes. Instead, we will focus on showing the dog exactly what we want them to do. The beginning lessons are structured so errors are very unlikely. 
  • Once you get to the start of the track, pinch collars, e-collars, no-pull harnesses, and head halters are NOT appropriate on tracks because you want your tracking dog to pull ahead on leash, working independently.

Required Equipment

  • Start tracking training with a hungry dog and lots of high-value food rewards, e.g., tripe, steak, rollover. Highly visible, non-crumbling pieces are easiest to work with, e.g., cheese, if your dog loves it. Please bring double the amount of high-value food rewards you expect to use, and water for your dog. (Depending on the size of your dog, many teams bring a Ziploc sandwich bag. Over time, we'll gradually fade the rewards so the dog performs more work to earn their rewards, without sacrificing motivation.)
  • Do not feed your dog or exercise before tracking training.
  • For indication training, you will need a glove or article you can cut into pieces to make it smaller e.g., top of a yogurt container, food dish, rubber placement, or a cheap work glove.
  • Dogs should track in a buckle collar or tracking harness. (Do not use a no-pull harness with an area that tightens and avoid front clips.)
  • You’ll need a longline. Most teams use 20-40 ft Biothane longline without a handle. We get our lines from, and if you email Katherine to let her know you're a Hunter's Heart student, you well get a better discount. 
  • For in-person practices, females in season are welcome, but they must wear panties when indoors.
  • To mark your tracks (so you know when your dog is on track), you'll need tracking flags (for fields) and/or sidewalk chalk (for hard surface tracking). Flags are available on amazon e.g.
  • If you've purchased our beginner course in Calgary, you will receive 10 flags to get you started (included in the price). 


How do we train dogs to search for hours? The secret is to make training fun. Playing with you can become your dog's favorite game. If you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong and you need to fix it. We'll help you to succeed with your unique dog. Rather than vague advice like “build your relationship”, you’ll follow specific, easy steps to progress. We’ll minimize the common errors that lead to frustration and disappointment. And when you encounter challenges, we’ll help you get back on track ASAP.  

Are you ready to train faster, easier and funner?

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Your instructor is Dr. Carla Simon, a professional detection dog trainer, and owner of Hunter's Heart Scent Detection Canines. Since 1999, she’s trained dogs to find everything from bed bugs to human remains. Carla is the Working Dog Chair for CAPDT. Her proven protocols have already worked for thousands of teams worldwide, and have been translated into Italian and Spanish. Her materials have been used by African K9 Solutions (South Africa), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Response Rescue International England, Belgian Shepherd Dog Club of Canada and the SDDA newsletter. Carla has coached teams at Power Dog Training Centre (Italy) and was a popular presenter at the 2021 World Detector Dog Organization Conference (USA). Carla’s working dogs also hold CKC field and urban tracking titles, and have won High in Trial in Elite international nosework competition.

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The best way to reach Carla is to email [email protected]. (You can leave a confidential voicemail at (403) 813-9831, but the phone is off while we're out with the dogs so we can give them our full attention.)

Due to the volume of correspondence, we're sorry we can’t answer individual training questions by email. Please ask your questions inside the online course (scroll down to the bottom of the lesson and type your question into the Comments section), on Facebook, or schedule a private training session.

Paid students and Alumni are invited to stay connected, get the latest news, and discuss tracking in the Tracking Dog Training Calgary private Facebook Group. To participate, make Carla Simon your friend on Facebook and request and invite at:


If you haven't purchased a course, click the button to sign up. 


How to Log On to Courses

If you have already purchased a course, you should have received an email with log in instructions. Go to My Library (at the top right of the page in the navigation bar) and log in to access your course contents. 

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