SC: (843) 823-0660 GA: (770) 721-(MYK9)

Sport Tracking


Sport Tracking for Your Dog!

We are in an amazing period in the World today. The use of dogs for specialty detec8on work, human assistance, and medical purposes has skyrocketed. There has never been a 8me in our history where Canis familiaris has been more in tune to the human experience than now. From the primi8ve beginnings of mankind when the wolf first shared a meal with a humanoid to modern 8mes and the detec8on of early stages of cancer in the human body, the dog has evolved on par with us; perhaps more so.

Dogs can perform tasks with their noses that no machinery could ever duplicate at a cost that is negligible all while ac8ng as a calming agent for our souls. They ask for nothing other than a meal and our companionship. Their loyalty is beyond any human experience ever known. Just think about it

for a moment…how do you feel when you engage with your furry friend aFer an incredibly long and arduous day? When everything that could go wrong, did go wrong but in the end, who was there wai8ng without a comment or complaint? We all know who that was. Each one of us opens to our dogs in ways unimaginable with another human. The rela8onship is self-evident but oFen not equitable. Most of our companions rarely have the freedom to express their ins8ncts openly and regularly. But we owe that to them. Our dogs deserve to be dogs whenever possible. They have a right to use their abili8es with abandon and nothing s8mulates their mind and their bodies more than hun8ng. The basis for everything dog is the hunt and all the ins8ncts that go with it. We harness this drive to produce every single job that they do for us.

And here is the cool part…you do not have to be a hunter, a police officer, or a military working dog handler to do the same thing with your dog that they do! You simply must apply the hunting art and the principle to your pet dog. All dogs, not just working dogs, have the hunting instinct deeply imbedded in their being. It does not matter if you have a Chihuahua or a French Bulldog, they too have the wolf like instinct to hunt and track wild game. Believe it or not, but from a DNA perspective, these diminutive breeds are not all that far removed from their wolf cousins and have the same desires and drives; we simply need to harness it.

Tracking is the act of following a specific odor from a place last seen to and ending location and finding that thing, human or animal. Wild dogs do this for food, pack mates, enemies, and reproduction. This

same instinct is in our everyday house dog, but they rarely get to use it. You may have even observed some of these things play out around your house and yard when the dogs seem to get attracted to something on the ground and begin to follow it from one place to another. This is tracking and we can take it to an entirely new level where your dog gets massive stimulation, mind, and body. All while you’re having tons of fun! With our game we teach you how to stimulate the tracking response and then follow along with your dog. Anyone can do this on or off leash depending on safety issues.



Well, humans have been hunting other humans with dogs for centuries with some of the first writings on the subject appearing in Scotland where bloodhounds were used to hunt William Wallace and Robert the Bruce in 1307. The basis for this work came from hunting wild game with tracking dogs.

The basis for tracking is rooted in hunting game for food. The earliest practitioners of dog tracking work needed to put food on the table daily and in the old world, this was no easy feat.

Starvation was a real and ever present threat to survival. Observation and interpretation are two strong human traits and our ancestors easily saw the benefit of dogs following wild game scent. The question was how to turn that into job working for us?

Our forefathers realized that half of the equation was the thrill of the hunt or chase and they used this trigger to simulate their dogs into hunting certain target species. We use this ancient training model in our system.

Tracking dogs are used widely today on every continent on the planet for everything from saving missing people to hunting down poachers or criminals. As a matter of fact, this is how my career started way back in 1994. I was a new police K9 handler for the City of Alameda with the very first single purpose tracking bloodhound used full time in a municipal police department. Ronin and I were partners for close to a decade and worked every manner of search possible throughout California as well as other states. We worked over 400 man hunts to include the Carry Stayner serial killer case as well as Eric Rudolf, convicted abortion clinic and Atlanta Olympic Games bomber. I wrote about our escapades in my book, Red Dog Rising. Since that time, I have retired, opened a dog training company, Georgia K9 NTC, and written five other books on the subject, primarily how-to. I spend my time now professionally training others to do what I did!

Every persons’ scent is unique and no two are alike!

I train new handlers how to work their dogs and teach them to be scent specific. In other words, getting the dog to track and teaching them to find only one human based on that human’s unique odor. Everyone has a different scent, and our dogs can discriminate one human from another.

A human track may be in the woods, a field, a rural village, or deep in the city and tracking dogs can work all these places if they have become accustomed to them. A big part of what we do is not teaching the dog to track but more importantly, how to track in certain places all while staying locked on just one odor. Believe it or not, dogs can track effortlessly for many miles and over hours without stopping. The longest track I ever worked where I caught the people was over 12 miles and 11 hours of constant work. I was useless at the end, but my dog was ready for another go!



Kind of by accident actually! This all began for me about ten years ago when I taught my first school on the subject in Germany for search and rescue personnel. Amongst some of my students were just regular dog people that wanted to try tracking simply for the fun of it. We quickly discovered that their pet dogs were every bit as good as some of the working dogs

e put some of these pet dogs through their paces and not only did they do amazingly well, but their owners were also having a lot of fun working them! And that is where it all started. My first German hosts became our first European GAK9 trainers for sport tracking and from there it blossomed. One trainer became two which then led to other countries and hundreds of new students. We now have over 40 trainers throughout Western Europe and now as far away as Australia. Our trainers are so busy that they are often booked months in advance and can’t take on new clients.

Why is Sport Tracking so wildly popular?

It is very simple…pure fun, great exercise, and happier dogs than ever before. You can’t ask for a better combination. You can also do this anywhere with a minimal amount of equipment or cost. You only need a harness and tracking leash for your dog, and you are all set. Most people see immediate results on the first day of training. Our system is based on the dogs own natural instincts to track so we are not teaching them something they do not already know. We are just stimulating the instinctive response for tracking and rewarding with love, praise, food, and/ or toys. I call it the pleasure principle. We make something so fun and exciting that the dog goes crazy with desire to do it. With most dogs, the thrill of the hunt dominates their

minds already. This is why the Labrador incessantly chases the ball and brings it back to you. The act of chasing and catching is what fulfills the evolutionary requirements for survival, but it is the thrill or excitement of the hunt that pulls that trigger. We capitalize on that emotion and help feed it with positive reinforcement.

At the end of the day, your dog will be tired, satisfied, and happier than ever before all because they fulfilled an instinctive requirement for survival. A happier, more satisfied dog also means a reduction in unwanted behavior such as digging or chewing, better physical fitness, and a far stronger bond with their human partner than ever before. It is simply win, win, no matter how you look at it. As the dog becomes happier, more energetic, and fitter than ever before, so do our human clients. It is truly a symbiotic relationship.

Class sizes are usually super small from a single student per trainer to five max. The whole idea is to maximize leash time for everyone. Most dogs will work 3-4 trails a day with a distance of 100 yards or so in the initial training and then up to about a mile or so depending on the dog and handler’s capabilities.

Our training locations vary but usually start in the woods or fields free of human activity. We need this to ensure the dog

Your dog is gonna love this!

stays focused on just one odor while they build their skills. As the dogs’ progress, we change locations to rural, sub urban, and then ultimately, urban locations. We actually have a 16-level certification program that goes along with each of these locations; four levels per location. Remember that little Frenchie in the beginning of this article who had just started with very short trails? This is Bubbles after only a couple of days of training: Blanco Lechon



Click on the link below and you will be directed to our main landing page for sport tracking. Simply fill out the inquiry at the bottom of the page and hit send! We will have a trainer call you to schedule an evaluation. The evaluation is free if you come to us, and it takes about 30-45 minutes to complete. Our

trainer will test your dog for ability and determine how and where you should start training. That’s it! Its’ that easy to get into one of the best things you can do for you dog. Call us today! SC: (843) 823-0660 GA: (770) 721-(MYK9)

GAK9 Trainers at the Charleston Riverdogs

GAK9 South Carolina dogs and trainers will be at the Charleston Riverdogs home games every Monday night!  Come to our table near the concessions area to talk about dogs and dog behavior.

GAK9 dogs retrieve bats off the field during the second inning of home games.  Czabin, is a Belgian Malinois, certified for explosives detection, and Havoc is a German Shepherd certified for narcotics detection.  Both dogs trained by GAK9 entertain fans as they retrieve bats off the field during the second inning.

GAK9, located on Edisto Island, is the South’s premier K9 training company.  Our trainers have nationally recognized dog handlers and our clients are nationwide! We pride ourselves on our knowledge and experience with dogs and offer information on every breed of dog and every behavior problem.

We have a staff of certified professional trainers that will teach your dog proper behavior as well as help educate you, the owner, on how to fairly and effectively communicate with your dog. GAK9 at Charleston Riverdogs  Whatever your needs may be, GAK9 trainers will work with you to achieve the relationship you have always wanted with your dog.

Our Obedience Training begins with Puppy Preschool and offers programs through Elite Obedience, giving you control of your dog off leash under distractions. Our Environmental Training and Socialization program will give you and your dog confidence to spend time in all types of public places with many types of distractions.

So please accept our invitation and look for GAK9 dogs and trainers at the game.  We welcome you to come by our table and let’s talk about dogs!  For more information on our Obedience Training please click the link below.

K9 Diet and Nutrition

What are you feeding your dog?

You are what you eat.  This is true regardless of species; human or dog.  Feeding your K9 poor quality dog foods can be directly related to:

1. Gastrointestinal problems

2. Hot spots and other skin problems

3. Ear infections such as chronic yeast

Human Grade Vs. Feed Grade

Basic Guidelines

  • Human grade ingredients are those that meet standards for human consumption and undergo stringent testing protocol to ensure quality and the absence of anything not fit for human consumption.
  • Feed grade ingredients are those deemed not fit for human consumption.  They include expired, moldy, and defective products.

Reading the Dog Food Labels

1. Dog food manufacturers are required to list all of the ingredients in their foods.  Each ingredient must be listed in order from highest to lowest by weight.

2. Some commercial manufacturers bypass the above standard to cover up less desirable elements.  An example would be when a reader  groups all of the wheat components together and they become substantially more than the meat product, such as lamb. Now the wheat becomes the primary ingredient.

3. Good protein sources are:Orijen six fish

  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Venison
  • Duck
  • Lamb


1. Bad sources of protein are:

  • Unspecified by-products
  • Unspecified meat and bone meal
  • Fish digest
  • Animal digest

Animal digest is a cooked down broth that might be from unspecified parts of unspecified animals.  These creatures can be collected from almost any source and there are no quality controls in place. Dead, dying, diseased, and disabled, (known as 4-D) protein sources that are banned in human food can legally used in dog food. Unspecified by-products often times are an element of a larger product; e.g.  waste elements such as hair, feathers, feet, claws, beaks, etc.   These byproducts are not part of a healthy diet. **Meat byproducts such as the heart and liver are perfectly acceptable byproducts Dry blood meal is an inexpensive source of poor quality protein in some foods and it is completely indigestible.


Preservatives and Ingredients

For the most part, pet foods are overcooked and their nutritional value is often compromised.  Things have to be added back in to the mix to make it more palatable.  These ingredients are fall under the GRAS guidelines, (Generally Recognized as Safe).  This does not necessarily mean they are good for your dog.

1. Good Preservatives

  • Tocopherols (Vitamin C and E)
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Ascorbyl Palmitate

1. Bad Preservatives and ingredients

  • BHT- Used to retard spoilage.  Some research has linked BHT to immune deficiency syndrome, spleen, stomach, and liver cancer, chronic diarrhea, liver and kidney damage.
  • Ethoxyquin- A known carcinogen that some studies have shown creates numerous other major health issues.
  • Artificial coloring
  • BHA- Some studies have shown this to be harmful to kidneys.
  • Corn syrup- This is pure sugar and can create picky eaters.
  • Mono sodium glutamate (MSG)- Used to disguise inferior food quality
  • Propyl Gallate- Spoilage retardant
  • Sodium nitrate- A possible carcinogenic preservative for red coloring
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate- A caustic detergent
  • Parabens


Good Carbs

1. Whole grains
2. Oats
3. Barley
4. Rye
5. Quinoa

Bad Carbs

1. Corn gluten meal

Good fruits and vegetables for your K9

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Papayas

Georgia K9 National Training Center is committed to K9 health.  We believe that there are three levels to proper health and they are all interconnected:

1. Physical
2. Environmental
3. Psychological

The means to this end starts with a good diet.  Without a properly functioning body working at peak capacity, our dogs can never truly reach their full potential.  We recommend to all of our clients to choose a body healthy diet for your K9. Yes, good dog food costs more than the average grocery store variety, but large vet bills due to food related problems or illness generally cost lots more. On the same note, quality foods are generally thoroughly digested, translating to less waste and feeding less with each meal.  There are quite a few excellent dog food products available at most pet stores and at your local Animal Clinic.  Here at Georgia K9, we use and stock two of them.   It is important to understand that the two foods we use are not the “be all, end all” of the dog food world.  They are simply foods that fit our K9‘s lifestyles.  We recommend that our clients always seek out professional veterinarian advice for the specific needs of their own dogs. As the majority of our personal dogs are working K9’s with incredibly active lifestyles, we have found the following foods to work best for them:

  • Orijen and Acana Diets
  • Canine Caviar (Grain Free)
  • NutriSource Grain Free diets
  • Pure Vita Grain Free Diets
  • Biologically Appropriate raw diets

We stock Orijen , Acana and Honest Kitchen in 30 LB bags for our customers. However, for those out of the area, repeat purchases might be best through one of our affiliate pet professionals in their particular neighborhoods. Please ask for a referral.

For those of you who prefer raw diets, we stock:

  • Blue Ridge Beef Raw Foods
  • Honest Kitchen
  • Nupro

We are also proud to feature Omega QD, the absolute best Omega fish oil supplement on the market.  Ask a Georgia K9 Trainer for a custom designed diet for your dog.

Another GAK9 Hound Find

k9_deja_working-300x300Another GAK9 Hound find…they are coming every day! Great work Mike Mason and Deja from San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept.

Critical Missing 14-01985 7400 Cherry Ave (US Bank) 1336 hrs
Officers responded to the US Bank regarding a reported critical missing. RP XXXX reported that her mother XXXX (DOB: 040444) had walked away from the RP’s parked vehicle. XXXX suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s. An extensive area search was conducted by officers to include the use of Red Hawk 1, Detective personnel and an SBSO Bloodhound team. The Bloodhound team (Dep. Mason and K-9 “Deja”) tracked the critical missing throughout the Village of Heritage. Det. Goltara along with patrol officers searched the area on foot with the K-9 Team. The track concentrated in the northeastern portion of the village.

Prior to establishing a Command Post, K-9 “Deja” tracked the critical missing further east in the village and subsequently across Cherry, to the walking path between commercial warehouses. The critical missing was unharmed and in apparent good health. Com Center responded to check XXXX as a precautionary measure. XXXX was reunited with her daughter and removed from MUPS. Great job by everyone involved!
Team 1, Det’s, Red Hawk 1, SBSO K-9

Related Articles….

Bloodhound Deja helps deputies
Rancho’s New Bloodhound K9 Unit

Canine Influenza: Pet Owners’ Guide

Canine influenza (CI, or dog flu) in the U.S. is caused by the canine influenza virus (CIV), an influenza A virus. It is highly contagious and easily spread from infected dogs to other dogs through direct contact, nasal secretions (through coughing and sneezing), contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed to the virus.

Unlike seasonal flu in people, canine influenza can occur year round. So far, there is no evidence that canine influenza infects people. However, it does appear that at least some strains of the disease can infect cats.

Canine influenza symptoms and diagnosis

Greyhound resting on a blanket CIV infection resembles canine infectious tracheobronchitis (“kennel cough”). The illness may be mild or severe, and infected dogs develop a persistent cough and may develop a thick nasal discharge and fever. Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, reduced appetite, and low-grade fever. Most dogs recover within 2-3 weeks. However, secondary bacterial infections can develop, and may cause more severe illness and pneumonia. Anyone with concerns about their pet’s health, or whose pet is showing signs of canine influenza, should contact their veterinarian.

CIV can be diagnosed early in the illness (less than 4 days) by testing a nasal or throat swab. The most accurate test for CIV infection is a blood test that requires a sample taken during the first week of illness, followed by a second sample 10-14 days later.

Transmission and prevention of canine influenza

Dogs are most contagious during the two- to four-day incubation period for the virus, when they are infected and shedding the virus in their nasal secretions but are not showing signs of illness. Almost all dogs exposed to CIV will become infected, and the majority (80%) of infected dogs develop flu-like illness. The mortality (death) rate is low (less than 10%).

The spread of CIV can be reduced by isolating ill dogs as well as those who are known to have been exposed to an infected dog and those showing signs of respiratory illness. Good hygiene and sanitation, including hand washing and thorough cleaning of shared items and kennels, also reduce the spread of CIV. Influenza viruses do not usually survive in the environment beyond 48 hours and are inactivated or killed by commonly used disinfectants.

There are vaccines against the H3N8 strain of canine influenza, which was first discovered in 2004 and until 2015 was the only strain of canine influenza found in the United States. However, a 2015 outbreak of canine influenza in Chicago was traced to the H3N2 strain – the first reporting of this strain outside of Asia – and it is not known whether the H3N8 vaccine provides any protection against this strain. Used against H3N8, the vaccines may not completely prevent infection, but appear to reduce the severity and duration of the illness, as well as the length of time when an infected dog may shed the virus in its respiratory secretions and the amount of virus shed – making them less contagious to other dogs.

The CIV vaccination is a “lifestyle” vaccination, recommended for dogs at risk of exposure due to their increased exposure to other dogs – such as boarding, attending social events with dogs present, and visiting dog parks.
Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions (for pet owners)

Canine Influenza reference page (for veterinarians)

H3N2 Frequently Asked Questions (Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine)

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