Target search

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Target object search (ZOS) is the learned activity of a dog to find objects, initiated by the dog handler . The basis of the ZOS is the special ability of dogs to seek out, locate and display (in the place position) hidden search objects. For advanced users, the distinction between smells (differentiation) is decisive in the ZOS.

The ZOS is not a dog sport recognized by the Association for the German Canine Industry or any other umbrella organization .


Items searched for at ZOS are marked with

  • specific material smell of the search object
  • Handler and dog smell
  • numerous overlaying smells

During the training, the dog gets to know a limited number of such objects (usually three, initially only one). With the help of a specific keyword for the respective object, it is conditioned that precisely this object is to be searched for. The dog therefore always works with exactly the same objects that the handler keeps in such a way that they largely retain their specific smell.

At the ZOS, comparatively small objects are used so that the hiding places are more varied and thus the challenge for the dog is higher.


An essential element of the ZOS is that the found object is indicated ( referred to ) by the dog , but not recorded. The dog is trained in such a way that he sees the object sought as a sought-after search object, but receives confirmation of his display behavior from his dog handler, e.g. B. through special praise, receipt of the favorite toy or "treats". In this way a direct impact (e.g. scratching, scratching or picking up) of the dog on the object to be searched for or on its immediate surroundings is avoided.

The dog thus learns to linger quietly close to the found object (if possible, nose contact with the source of the odor) and to wait for the handler to approach through its passive display behavior .

Different search positions

With the ZOS there are different ways to hide the object. The general different search positions are

  • free terrain
  • Debris field
  • Parcel Street
  • Search wall (a wall surface provided with smelling holes)

In the open area, the dog searches for his object, among other things, in an area delimited by marking. In the rubble field, the dog looks for his object hidden under a rubble object in an area with a large number of different objects (e.g. stones, buckets, boxes). In the parcel line, the item is placed in a container (“parcel”) that has air openings. Several such parcels are laid out ("street") and the dog has to find and display the parcel with its object.


When looking for a target object, the dog's natural abilities are used to achieve effective physical and psychological utilization and thus to reduce any undesirable behavior that is caused by insufficient exercise of the dog. No special spatial conditions are necessary, but training can also be carried out in a small apartment without additional effort. In addition, there is training in short time units and the dogs learn not to be distracted. Dog and handler work closely together at the beginning (search - confirmation), which can strengthen the social relationship if the dog's trust in the handler is strengthened, but also that of the handler in the dog.


ZOS needs very fine conditioning in the beginning. Mistakes that are made during this time (dog is allowed to pick up the search object, dog is confirmed incorrectly) lead to the dog losing the joy of working, not achieving the goal or making the same mistakes again and again. The performance that the dog provides here is quickly underestimated, which can lead to the dog being overwhelmed. The handler needs patience and has to watch his dog carefully. Especially at the beginning, it is recommended that the dog handler be instructed by a ZOS-experienced trainer.


There is a registered German logo / word mark target object search by the owner Hundezentrum Baumann GmbH and a European word mark ZOS by the owner Ina Baumann-Samuel.

Individual evidence

  1. German trademark register, registration number 302010015782
  2. European trademark register, number 011641231 ( Memento from September 8, 2013 in the web archive )


  • Thomas Baumann: searching for objects , (series of articles) in the dog , 02/2007 to 05/2007, German Bauer Verlag Berlin, ISSN  0323 to 4924

Web links