Dogs Can't Track You Through a River

GNC

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Maybe someone can clear this up: can a tracker dog follow your scent through a river or body of water? You see it certain films, the escapee getting away because they crossed a river (apart from in No Country for Old Men, which provides a twist on that cliche), but is it true in real life?

I have a memory of a TV programme decades ago that had the presenter trying to get away from bloodhounds across country, and he thought it would be a good idea to run along the river nearby to shake them off. But at the end, the dogs' owner said it actually made it easier for dogs to follow you if you went into the water. So which is true?
 

escargot

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Dunno. Common sense says dogs can't pick up a scent in the water but they might be able detect it on the opposite bank. Wouldn't the fugitive's feet be too wet though, so they smell of mud and waterweeds?
 

Mythopoeika

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Maybe someone can clear this up: can a tracker dog follow your scent through a river or body of water? You see it certain films, the escapee getting away because they crossed a river (apart from in No Country for Old Men, which provides a twist on that cliche), but is it true in real life?

I have a memory of a TV programme decades ago that had the presenter trying to get away from bloodhounds across country, and he thought it would be a good idea to run along the river nearby to shake them off. But at the end, the dogs' owner said it actually made it easier for dogs to follow you if you went into the water. So which is true?
I guess it depends on the individual dog and its capabilities.
 

Xanatic*

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Surely it's not crossing a river but moving through it downstream that works?
 

gordonrutter

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Mythbusters investigated this twice and found that the bloodhound they were using was able to track them when they went in a stream.
More details below along with a link to watch some of the material, there are two links from the website below depending on where you are located

https://nationalpurebreddogday.com/can-you-best-a-bloodhound/
 

madmath

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Remember the dog is (generally) accompanied by a human, who with eyes and brain can spot physical changes to the environment a dog wouldn't, and thus guide the dog to potential sites of interest up and down the water course on either side.
 

GNC

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Remember the dog is (generally) accompanied by a human, who with eyes and brain can spot physical changes to the environment a dog wouldn't, and thus guide the dog to potential sites of interest up and down the water course on either side.
In the old TV show I remember, the dogs were quite a bit ahead of the handlers, who were merely following wherever they were headed. You might be right, but I suspect the truth is somewhere in between mighty nose power/human guidance.
 

gerhard1

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It is said that a few dogs can track through scents left in the air. This was allegedly done in the 1960s in Pennsylvania, in the Peggy Ann Bradnick kidnapping case, in which an FBI agent was killed. These dogs, one of which was killed by the kidnapper, were able to follow trails that were very old.

At least that's what the book I read said.
 

IbisNibs

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French police use scent collection pads to collect the smell of perpetrators, who are then identified by trained dogs:
"Trace Scent (TS) collection.
Olfactory traces of
control subjects, suspects and crime-scene objects were collected similarly. For this, a technician placed 1 to 5 Kapp Péterné® cotton squares directly in contact with the object or clothes, using sterile clamps."
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0146963

I saw a documentary where investigators used one of these cotton squares to collect the smell from the driver's seat of a getaway car.
Can't get away across a stream, get away up a tree, can't get away in a car. Geez, might as well give up crime.
 
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