How To Evade Search Dogs – Your Survival Guide

How to evade a search dog, does pepper spray work on dogs

If you’re like most preppers, you’ve thought through a plethora of scenarios ranging from the inevitable collapse of the US Dollar, to Nuclear War and possibly even an Invasion By Foreign Troops…  Regardless of the scenarios, have you considered what you will do if they have search and attack dogs?  Do you know the six simple tricks to evade them, whether your bugging out or sitting at home?

Tracking Dog in SHTF, How to evade a search dog, does pepper spray work on dogs

German Shepherd picks up the scent of a person evading.

As many of you know, I have spent much of my previous life as a professional magician/illusionist and parrot trainer – skills that went side by side.  I’ve since tried to leverage those skills into post-apocalyptic skill sets… including training dogs to track as well as hunt.  If you haven’t read my article on training dogs to work after TEOTWAWKI, I highly suggest you read that post after this article: Training Your Dog For SHTF

During my research and field testing while training my german shepherd, I discovered that there are a few very effective mistakes that I could potentially encounter that would make my dog worthless from a tracking perspective.  Realizing these vulnerabilities made me ask myself, “What if I was the one being pursued?”  This question, of course, led me to the following tips.

  1. Early Detection – Know you’re being chased; whether by early detection sensors, seismic alert systems, radio interception, or other methods.
  2. Navigate Through Heavily Populated Areas – If you’re in an urban environment, stay in heavily populated areas.  This will keep the dogs from being able to pick up your scent, and watchful eyes will have to pick you out of a massive crowd.
  3. If In The Woods, Watch Your Step –  Try to use river beds when possible.  If there’s snow, seek dry ground.
  4. Pee On Three Different Trees, In A Triangular Pattern – I don’t mean to draw a triangle on three trees, but rather to use your scent to mark three different trees in different directions.  This will buy you some time.
  5. Understand Dogs’ Weaknesses – Dogs that are trained to track scent.  They are restrained by their owners. Be in better shape than their owner, and you greatly increase your odds of evading search dogs.
  6. Carry Pepper Spray – Or as I often refer to it as “Prepper-Spray”.  If you have a rail mounted pepper spray, you’re always ready to repel an attack, or confuse their scent.  Spray a square on the ground, and spray your feet.  The scent is too painful for dogs to willingly choose to follow.

During the filming of another short-episode for InfidelBodyArmor.com, I was able to test this theory and put it into the video.  Now, you certainly don’t have to have a rail mounted pepper spray, but if you do, then you’ll never have to worry about misplacing it.

In our last video, you see how effective this is on another person, now watch the newest video for yourself to see how it confuses tracking dogs.

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29 Responses to “How To Evade Search Dogs – Your Survival Guide”

  1. Kendra Lynne Says:

    I thought I’d considered every scenario, but it never crossed my mind that I might be chased by dogs one day. Great tips, and awesome video.

    Reply

  2. Amy Says:

    I think you are pretty much doomed in the woods. My dog loves to track through river beds, will work out the problem with the pee trees in no time, and work tirelessly forever. She can also do scent specific trailing in urban settings as well, but the woods are her favorite. She also works through pain, so the pepper spray won’t work either. her hunt drive is through the roof!

    Reply

    • Dave Says:

      From a training perspective, if you’re dog is willing to work through severe pain, nothing can stop it except for the owner’s fitness level. On the other hand, most dogs won’t. So certainly it’s not a 100% method, but it’ll greatly increase your odds against most dogs.

      Reply

      • Christen Warner Says:

        There are a couple of more things you need to take into consideration: a well trained tracking dog can be up to 1 mile “off track” by wind scenting. Not all dogs use ground disturbance only so, take into consideration the mace PLUS your dead skin cells that are drifting in the air being pushed toward the dog and now you have made yourself even more of a target. That far away from the track and the dog won’t have any issues with pain. River beds leave prints, a good handler that stays with the dog will see them. If you choose to move into the water and move either up or down stream, you might have a better chance. However, good handlers should be working in teams of at least two and having one handler cross to the other side of the water and walk down stream with the other will surely enable one or the other dog to pick up where ever you choose to get out of the water. Truly, the best way to avoid tracking dogs is to back track in your exact steps if possible and circle around back behind the dogs and handlers, making sure to stay UP WIND. If you really want to mess with a dog’s nose, carry bear pee with you and use that instead of the mace. That is truly the only thing that ever shook my dog up.

        Reply

        • Christen Warner Says:

          Sorry, I need to correct that….stay DOWN wind from the dogs! Also, urine or blood from a female dog in heat can really buy you some time. If you can get up high, in a tree or on top of a building, once you have shaken them off your trail….it is very difficult for the dog to pick up your scent with either wind scent or ground disturbance methods. STAY OUT OF THEIR SCENT CONE and Good Luck!!!!!

          Reply

          • Jamie Says:

            if the man dog team walk a base line, they will pick up your scent cone. no doubt. searches are done in grids with a team in each search grid. a baseline is the fastest and most accurate way to locate a person.

        • Jamie Says:

          The best way to stop a man dog team is a J turn ambush. this gives you line of sight on the man dog team and a solid firing position. but that’s only if the team is tracking. if it’s trailing your stuffed. most modern militaries trail rather than track.

          Reply

      • Jamie Says:

        fitness has nothing to do with it, scent last 24 hours so the team can keep chasing you all day long. many military dogs are trained to perform off leash and with armed support teams. the simple fact is you cant conceal scent. the harder you run the more potent the scent. fear scent is created through times of fear. the body dumps adrenaline into the blood stream and the dogs can smell this. dogs use more than a single method to detect a human. wind scent, urban detection, trailing and tracking are the primary tools used to locate people.

        Reply

    • Jamie Says:

      Amy your correct, most serious tracking dogs and military/ police dogs have what we call a high prey drive. these dogs are bred this way. some breeds its naturally occurring like grey hounds. this prey drive is what pushes a dog to locate its reward and having done many real time track there is not a thing you can do to stop them chemically. a lot of prevention ideas are based on a big breath of pepper powder etc, but dogs can smell easily smell pepper from a few meters away, so how does the dog get dosed? it knows to avoid it. and through scent discrimination it follows the scent exit from the pool scent and keeps on tracking as if nothing happened. Sounds like you have a great dog. keep up the great work!

      Reply

    • JOSE Says:

      What if you have a gun that shoot out a hook with a rope , especial forces –military use it to climb buildings—mountains —trees , so you can swing from tree to tree ?? the dogs will have to circle until they find where you came down from the trees, that is the best way to evade the dogs…

      How about cloth on your boots soak with pepper ???

      Also the best time to move in the woods if dogs are chasing you is when is raining , dogs can’t pick you your scent.

      Night time walking ?? No one will be chasing you in the dark, hide during the day.
      But being fit is your best weapon , if you can out run the dog handler ?? You can beat the dogs , if you are fat and out of shape ??? you are screwed. Marine vet.

      Reply

  3. Gino Schafer Says:

    I have trained many tracking dogs for police work and Schutzhund. I have won the north American tracking dog championships and competed in the world championships in Germany. These tricks would not even slow my dog down. You place a massive amount of scent on your shoes which makes a properly trained dog’s work much easier. He will not stick his nose in the scent burning his nostrils, he will smell it yards away and avoid hurting himself. Dogs are not stupid. A trailing dog, like a police dog, air scents, they do not footstep track like a schutzhund dog. So all you have done is made your scent stand out and made the trail easier for the dog to follow. In short, you have just painted the trail for the dog to follow. Regarding different terrain, my dog could track you on concrete and through water. There is mud on the creek bottom, it spreads to the surface of the water. Dogs track ground disturbance. Again it won’t slow down a good dog. HOWEVER, many police dogs are not properly trained, so your best bet is to run on varied terrain hoping the trainer did not do his homework. Good luck, and you better hope my dog is not on your trail. Because it will be a short one for you.

    Reply

  4. Jim Ginovelli Says:

    I don’t think spraying your shoes with anything will keep the dogs off you. You might actually make it easier for them to find you. Instead of following your scent won’t they just follow the scent of the pepper spray?

    Reply

    • Dave Says:

      There are a lot of ways to evade dogs. Pepper Spray technique is taught by some special forces units (I’m told. I am clearly not SF) When you get into the science of training, MOST animals will not do something for a reward when the pain outweighs the rewards. Pepper spray burns their noses and is too painful to follow in many cases. I don’t think there’s a 1-shot solution… but rather a whole gambit of options to choose from… this is just one of them.

      Reply

      • Jamie Says:

        that’s incorrect, SF avoid dogs altogether. usually they will take the man dog team out altogether rather than risk early detection and compromise the shock factor of a mission.

        Reply

  5. KV Says:

    Hi Dave,

    So did the Pepper Spray actually stop the search dog from following the trail?

    Reply

  6. Jamie Says:

    I am a former military working dog handler who has spent a lot of time tracking real time targets. This video is designed to sell you a product that’s useless and more so detrimental to you as it singles your scent out from the naturally occurring scent of the wild. you really need to understand how scent works in order to escape. firstly scent lasts for up to 24 hours in the environment. which means unless you can get a 24 hour lead on who is chasing you, the tracker can take his time regardless of his fitness level. scent is created by microscopic particles unique to you and the environment. dogs are trained to focus in on a single scent pattern and exclude all other scent in order to succeed. this means that in an urban environment saturated in scent the dog can still operate very effectively. in a bush/forested environment its even easier to detect and follow scent as scent is created by your footsteps crushing dirt mud and plant matter. That doesn’t even include what scent is generated by you while trying to get away. rivers and areas filled with water are still only a minor obstacle as scent floats and is captured by the reeds and grass on the side of the river bed. dead ground and hills only roll scent over. strong wind is no obstacle as its even easier to clear a very large area by switching from a track to wind scenting. urinating in a triangle pattern would only intensify the scent helping the dog track you and the dog is taught to search for the track out of a pool scent which is what you would have created. a pool scent is a very large volume of condensed scent. pepper does not bother a dog and by adding an agent such as pepper only adds a stronger identification marker to the scent. You want to remove scent not add to it. the clear and simple fact is you can not prevent your body from generating scent and humans create scent by moving through the environment. scent is crated by the putrification of microscopic particles as they break down. these particles are effected by temperature in the way that they last longer in the cold and have a shorter life span in high heat. they are moved by naturally existing ground currents and your bodys own natural air current that lifts your own particles around 2.5 meters into the air before settling onto the ground and surrounding environments. Man dog teams, never work alone. whilst a dog can find you anywhere you hide, quite often their job is to refine and locate a very small area as to where you might hide. then man dog teams call in support armed support teams to finish the job with the dog. Their are ways to ambush a man dog team while they are searching for you however i’m not about to post it in any forum.

    Reply

    • Frank Says:

      Jaimie… you are spot on. I know someone who is at the top of the dog training game and from what he has shared with me and I have learned and been taught you’re the only person who offers a realistic and honest assessment. Even one of the family’s miniature poodles can find me if I move out of his sight and into another room. And I never trained him to follow scents either by step tracking or airborne tracking. It’s a natural ability. This notion of being able to magically evade dogs is one of those legends created by some armchair nut or those who know nothing about the science or the process of training dogs. Others may disagree with your comments, but I understand and know that you’re right and simply stating what is true, proven and happens in reality versus an action movie.

      Reply

    • Richard Speights Says:

      Come on, Jamie. Tell us how to ambush a pursuing patrol. :)

      Jamie is right. Spraying any strong odor on your person only gives the dog a stronger scent to follow. Water does not always hide a scent, and peeing on three threes–that’s a new one on me. (Although, if you climb high into a tree and then pee on it, the dog might stop trailing you, thinking you have gone nuts.) If you want to know how to elude tracking dogs, ask an ol’ coon hunter (raccoons). You’ve got to be good to get away from tracking dogs. Raccoons are experts eluders, and they don’t always get away. There are ways to lose a dog or even a team of dogs, only if you know what you are doing.

      Reply

  7. late2theParty Says:

    A couple of things come to mind here – Why not create the pool, do the backtrack and then get into something like a wet suit including sealed mask – something that reduces the scent given off? If they can’t smell you, they can’t find you.

    Would trading clothes, including shoes, with another person increase tracking time? Sure they smell both as the both persons, but could you buy time this way?

    Jamie mentioned scent floating on water. Given a water craft and a large fan to disperse the scent, wouldn’t that reduce the efficiency greatly? I’ve heard that their sense of scent is up to 100,000 stronger than ours; I can see why this makes them such good trackers.

    NOTE: I love animals and would do anything I can to not harm them (I rescue.) – If you are down to ANY means necessary, wouldn’t a trail of chemicals, say ketamine, help confuse the dogs? Basically anesthetize them until they can smell nothing. It temporary and LIKELY not to hurt the dogs.

    What are the animals reactions to flash bangs? Is there any way to make a ‘vomit light’ in scent? I know there was some studies looking for worlds worst scent and supposedly they had found a chemical that 1 drop could have a crowd of 100 losing their guts. Might that work?

    Reply

  8. Gary Duffie Says:

    “I love animals.” Really? Even when they are leading a kill team to you and your loved ones. Just surrender if you’re that stupid. Most people don’t have the mind set to actually survive in a life or death situation. If any of the following bothers you, just surrender. Just for grins, read the book “First Blood.” Rambo didn’t just wound his pursuers, he KILLED them.

    If you want to survive, go Sun Tzu on their butts. Their strengths are their weaknesses.
    1. They are going to make more noise than you.
    2. They are following you, set the pace and the track to your advantage.
    3. Air scent or footprint track, the dogs nose and handler tend to have a very narrow situational awareness. Keep yours broader, think ahead, and behind.
    4. If armed with a long gun, while moving look for good ambush locations to take them out at from 50-200 yards. Shoot the handlers first. Dogs don’t really understand the concept of “taking cover.” The shoot the dogs. Center mass shots unless body armor is worn, then aim for points where body armor ain’t; head, neck, thigh or even knee shots. Shot them in the front, side, back, butt or face. You are fighting for your life.
    4. No rifle? Set up dead falls, punji sticks, any traps or hazards you can. Even a 2 inch sapling sprung from a bend trap hitting handler Joe or Jane right in the nose or solar plexus is going to give you more time. Put a wooden spike or two on the sapling. A smaller sapling released from a tight bend aimed at the dogs front knees is going to hurt. The opportunity to harm a dogs walking instruments are twice that of a human. Leave something behind to wound their four widdy piddy paws.
    5. Can you say “forest fire.” Watch the wind or you might BBQ yourself.
    6. Circle around, works well for deer, and if armed take out the support teams. Look for the handlers address in his car and leave a note you are going to go kill his/her family, or head to his/her house to either affect their judgment, making them think you are going to kill his or her family or go and actually kill his/her family. All is fair in love and war.

    If you are not prepared to do what it takes, quit talking bull—-, quit playing games, put all your prep stuff out front, have a yard sale and go see Auschwitz or Dachau or any holocaust memorial.

    Reply

    • Jeanne Says:

      Awesome……the realistic shock value that most laymen would not appreciate in your very detailed “survival guide” lol ….is fantastic.

      BTW: Bear track around and are expert ambushers….
      Cougars..circle around…take high ground and pounce…..

      The best offense is a great defense…quit running…circle around and fight.
      Use your brain and fight smart…if you die……die fighting…not running

      Reply

  9. Marko Says:

    Has anyone done any experiment with ozone gas? Ozone gas not only will wreck havoc with their nasal membranes, but it is unstable and is constantly electrically attacking small particles and changes from O3 back to a stable O2 state thus neutralizing the particles. It also damages protective linings of mucous membranes.

    If it doesn’t destroy enough of the scent, or leaves a trail of it’s own, I’d imagine that a few snoutfuls of that O3 might actually disable the dog’s olfactory tract long enough to buy you some time!

    Reply

  10. chow Says:

    Gary Duffie, you have the best advice of all. Kill or be killed I say and use everything necessary including love one’s of the pursuer.

    Reply

  11. jeffrey Says:

    I use mountain lion urine to keep my neighbor’s dog from dumping in my yard. The local sheriffs tell me that the drug carriers use wolf urine to scare away the drug sniffing dogs. I would think that either of those would provide some relief to tracking.

    Personally I would leave behind a rag with my scent for the dog/handler to use. Of course I’d have sprinkled it with powdered fiberglass dust. That would cause severe pain and internal bleeding to the dog when inhaled into the nose. I wouldn’t think that a nose full of blood would be conductive to continuing the tracking.

    Resulting scar tissue should also make the dog less effective in future tracking.

    Your thoughts.

    Jeffrey.

    Reply

  12. Jeff S Says:

    This is the type of guy I like to hunt. I doubt he has ever really trained any man hunting dogs at all. Because if he did, and was successful at it, his list of elusive games would be significantly different.

    Reply

  13. Scott Says:

    I’ve worked SAR with blue ticks and red bones, wolf (and coyote) urine doesn’t work with a well-trained hound. Like mentioned by Jamie, a properly trained scent dog knows what to ignore and what to pay attention to. They also are smart enough to know when a decoy has been set, they will expand their search right around that decoy area until they pick up the original scent again. While I’ve never worked with non-scent hounds, I would suspect the following to be true for them (though probably less strong): scent hounds can not only detect and track a scent, they can differentiate the age of the scent. If you are being pursued by a scent hound, you better hope there’s only one handler, that he’s inexperienced and has spent a life scarfing down Big Macs and watching TV. You will not out endure a hound.

    Reply

  14. slowfuse Says:

    ok, what I’m hearing is there are 2 situations (at least). 1. local law enforcement with dogs with a low level of training, and handlers that are not-so-athletic. that some of the methods like the pepper spray on feet “might” work, as well as moving faster than the handlers, and booby traps to slow down/discourage handlers. situation 2. military team/serious hunting dogs. ONLY chance is to circle back, and ambush handlers.
    what I’m also hearing is urban environment gives you better odds than rural. (jump a bus? lol). also, has anyone considered drugged bait? I know hard core dogs only accept food from their master. the the lower trained local PD dogs might go for it

    Reply

  15. Kennie Says:

    Someone said SF doesn’t use dogs, well you better do your homework buddy. We in the military use dogs way more than you realize obviously. Seals use them as well as the rest of our Operaters. They are a very integral part of the mission. As far as slot of these idea’s for evading good luck cause most will do you no good @ all. Plus alot of the teams involved in the pursuit will catch up with you one way or another. So all I can say is good luck if you ever have to evade & out manuever. And may God be with you on your future runs from whomever.

    Reply

  16. Ken Says:

    So after reading all the experts here I’ve come to the conclusion getting someone else to wear clothes for a day. Place them in a sealed baggy. If you get on the run change the clothes then seal your original clothes and leave your original clothes as decoys? Any ideas?

    Reply

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