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A Hound Dog's Journey and Why You Might Still Need a Tracking Collar

A Hound Dog's Journey and Why You Might Still Need a Tracking Collar

A heartwarming video on TikTok has captured hearts across the internet. Ali Bradley's dog embarked on an incredible journey to find its owner, sniffing its way through the bustling streets of LA.

The short video follows the determined pup navigating the city streets. Interspersed throughout are message snippets between Bradley and her boyfriend, who was with the dog, providing updates on the search.

This remarkable feat ultimately led the dog to Bradley at a hair salon, showcasing the exceptional tracking abilities of hound dogs. This video has gone viral, highlighting the amazing power of a dog's sense of smell.



Nothing like a hound dog 😂

♬ BIRDS OF A FEATHER - Billie Eilish


The Power of Scent Detection: How Hounds Do It

The secret behind a hound dog's impressive tracking abilities lies in their remarkable noses. Compared to humans with around 5 million scent receptors, hound dogs boast a staggering 300 million! This immense olfactory power allows them to detect and differentiate between a vast array of odors.

But it's not just the sheer number of scent receptors. The structure of a hound's nose also plays a crucial role. Here's a deeper dive into how hounds utilize their incredible sense of smell for tracking:

  • The Scent Picture

When a person walks through an area, tiny particles of skin, hair, clothing fibers, and other microscopic bits shed from their body. These particles, called "shed cells,"  create a unique scent trail in the air, like an invisible map.

  • Sniffing Powerhouse

A hound dog's powerful nose, with its enlarged nasal cavity and turbinates (bony structures), acts like a high-tech air sampler. It can detect these microscopic shed cells, even at faint concentrations, like a single drop of perfume in a large room.

  • Following the Invisible Trail

Unlike humans who sniff in short bursts, hounds take long, deep inhalations, constantly analyzing the air. By continuously sniffing, they can follow the scent trail left behind by their owner.

  • Distinguishing the Unique "Scent Fingerprint"

The incredible number of scent receptors allows hounds to not only detect faint odors but also differentiate between them. They can identify their owner's unique scent signature from the multitude of other smells bombarding them in the environment.

This exceptional ability makes hound dogs invaluable partners in search and rescue, tracking missing persons, and detecting illegal substances.

Top Hound Dogs with Incredible Tracking Abilities

The story of Bradley's dog isn't an isolated incident. Many hound breeds are renowned for their tracking prowess. Here are some of the most notable hound dogs, revered for their remarkable tracking and scenting abilities:

1. Bloodhounds

Often dubbed the "ultimate tracking dog," Bloodhounds possess an unmatched combination of a powerful nose and tireless stamina. They excel in search and rescue missions, trailing criminals, and tracking missing persons over vast distances.

A Bloodhound Walking

2. Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds may appear comical with their short legs and floppy ears. However, they boast a keen sense of smell and exceptional tracking skills. They can follow scent trails closely, making them excellent in tracking wounded animals or locating lost people in dense undergrowth.

A Basset Hound in the Yard

3. Foxhounds

As the name suggests, Foxhounds were bred to hunt foxes. Their superior sense of smell allows them to follow scent trails over long distances, even through challenging terrain.

An American Foxhound in the Park

4. Harriers

Similar to Foxhounds, Harriers were also bred for fox hunting. Their excellent tracking skills and stamina make them well-suited for following scent trails across fields and open areas.

A Portrait of a Tricolor Harrier Dog

5. Dachshunds

These short-legged hound dogs are surprisingly adept trackers. Their keen sense of smell and low-to-the-ground build make them perfect for tracking small animals like badgers and rabbits.

A Dachshund Dog Striking a Pose

6. Beagles

These cheerful and vocal hounds have a fantastic nose for sniffing out prey. Originally bred for rabbit hunting, their keen sense of smell also allows them to stay on their trail during a chase. Their distinctive baying helps hunters track the rabbit's movements.

A Beagle Dog Outdoors

This list just scratches the surface of the amazing hound dog breeds renowned for their tracking abilities. Many hound breeds have been bred and trained for their tracking and scenting capabilities.

Why Tracking Collars Are Valuable

While the viral dog's feat was impressive, it's important to remember that even the best trackers can get lost. Factors like distance, unfamiliar territory, and exciting distractions during walks or hunting trips can overwhelm their abilities. 

This is where tracking collars come in as lifesavers:

1. Technology to the Rescue

Tracking collars come equipped with different technologies:

  • GPS Tracking: These collars use GPS technology to pinpoint your dog's location on a map accessible through a smartphone app or handheld remote.
  • Radio Frequency (RF) Tracking: These collars emit a radio signal that can be picked up by a handheld receiver. This allows you to follow the general direction of your dog within a certain range.
  • Cellular Network Tracking: Advanced collars utilize cellular networks to track your dog's location almost anywhere, offering wider coverage than RF options.

2. Beyond Half a Mile

Dog tracking collars offer a significant advantage when it comes to locating lost pets. These collars can extend your search radius far beyond half a mile, with some models reaching up to 10 miles.

3. Navigating the Unknown

Unfamiliar territory can overwhelm a dog's sense of smell, with new and confusing scents making it difficult to track their way back. However, a tracking collar can be a lifesaver, providing a reliable way to locate and find your lost pup.

Choosing the Best Tracking Collar

The best tracking collar for your dog depends on your needs and budget. Consider factors like:

  • Coverage Area or Range

Consider your environment. Basic local tracking with a shorter range (RF) might be sufficient for city dwellers. However, adventurous pups or hound dogs may require a wider-range tracking collar, such as those utilizing cellular networks.

E-Collar Remote and Dog Collar Connection in Terms of Range
  • Features

Decide on features like GPS tracking, battery life, and subscription fees (if applicable). A GPS tracking collar provides your dog's real-time location on a map. Battery life is also important, as a longer lifespan translates to less frequent charging. Additionally, tracking dog collars may incur subscription fees, so factor that into the overall cost.

Features of the Dogtra Pathfinder 2 GPS Tracking Collar
  • Dog's Size and Activity Level

Choose a collar that's lightweight and fits your dog's size comfortably. A bulky collar can irritate or hinder their movement.

  • Your Budget

Tracking collars range from affordable RF options to feature-rich GPS models with cellular network tracking. Decide which features are most important to you and choose a collar that fits your budget comfortably.

Some of the best dog tracking e-collars with GPS functionality include the following:

1. Dogtra Pathfinder 2 Remote Training Collar with GPS

Dogtra Pathfinder 2 Remote Training Collar with GPS Transmitter and Receiver Set

The Dogtra Pathfinder 2 is a game-changer for tracking and training your furry buddy. With this e-collar, you can keep tabs on up to 21 dogs, even if they're 9 miles away – all free through the app.

Plus, there's a helpful LED light for spotting your pup in low-light conditions. And the coolest part? With the smartwatch app, you can check your dog's location and status with a quick glance at your wrist.

2. Dogtra Pathfinder 2 Mini Remote Training Collar with GPS

Dogtra Pathfinder2 Mini Remote Training Collar Set

The Dogtra Pathfinder 2 Mini is a compact version of the Pathfinder 2. This e-collar packs all the tracking and training features of its bigger brother but in a size that suits your small explorer.

This GPS collar covers up to 4 miles and has a handy Beacon & LED Locate Light for an easy tracking experience. It's the perfect combo for big adventures packed into a small, convenient package!

3. SportDog TEK Series V1.5L GPS Tracking Only E-Collar

SportDOG TEK-V1.5L TEK Series GPS Remote Training Collar

The SportDog Brand® TEK Series V1.5L GPS Tracking Collar boasts a 7-mile tracking range, keeping you connected to your furry friend during adventures. This GPS collar transmits your dog's location and activity in real-time to the easy-to-use handheld device. The V1.5L tracking collar allows you to monitor up to 12 dogs simultaneously, making it perfect for hunting or training outings.

4. SportDog TEK Series V1.5LT GPS Tracking +  E-Collar

SportDOG TEK-V1.5LT TEK Series GPS Remote Training Collar

The SportDog Brand® TEK Series V1.5LT takes the V1.5L GPS tracking collar to the next level. This all-in-one system offers everything you loved about the V1.5L. These include an impressive 7-mile tracking range and real-time updates on your dog's location and activity. 

But the SportDog V1.5LT GPS tracking e-collar goes beyond just tracking. It boasts a comprehensive suite of built-in training features: tone, vibration, and 99 continuous, momentary, and rising static stimulation levels.

Remember: While dog tracking collars can be a valuable safety net, they are not a replacement for responsible pet ownership. Always ensure your dog is properly leashed and supervised in public areas, especially busy environments.

Final Thoughts

The story of Bradley's dog reminds us of the incredible bond between humans and canines. It also highlights the remarkable abilities of hound dogs, whose powerful sense of smell makes them champions of tracking. Even with tracking collars, responsible pet ownership and proper leash use are still critical to keeping our furry friends safe.


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