JONNY PHILLIPS: Meet Tyson. Tyson is a 3-year-old German shepherd. Now, meet Tyson's nose. It's black, shiny and cold, like most dogs' noses. But Tyson's nose is special. Because Tyson is a general purpose patrol dog. In other words he's been trained to track.
Now we've all seen it in the movies. A man scales the prison walls and then embarks on a desperate escape attempt. But despite every evasion tactic he employs, the baying of the pursuit dogs just gets relentlessly closer.
But is this fact? Or just a bit of film fiction. Well, I'm about to find out. This is Mark, Tyson's handler. They are going to give me about a half an hour head start and a big bit of Yorkshire to play with. And Mark reckons, as long as I don't hop on a bus, they're going to catch up with me in under an hour.
I was going to do my best to prove Mark wrong. And Tyson's mood gave me all the incentive I needed. My objective was clear. I needed to put the dog off the scent.
So first I headed for a cowshed.
Then for the open countryside. Where I laid down the next of my fiendishly clever decoys. A bit of good old-fashioned back-tracking.
Of course I'm not expecting them to get this far. But just in case. I'm going to throw down a few of these nice Cumberland sausages. Just to put his mind off the job. I reckon, with a few of these inside him he'll probably just want to curl up and have a nap. Here we go. Tuck in. Right.
Finally I resorted to the ploy practised by all criminals running before the hounds. I plunged into running water.
Meanwhile, 3 kilometres away, Tyson was setting off.
Within minutes, Tyson had reached the cowshed.
My hopes that a bit of farm-fresh sirloin would confuse him were quickly dispelled. He kept his head down and stayed rigidly on my trail.
Tyson's nose has 25 times more olfactory, or smell receptors, than a human's. Which means he can detect one drop of blood in 5 and a half litres of water. This amazing sense of smell applies to all dogs, not just German Shepherds. But the breed
Is favoured for this type of work because of their obedience and athleticism.
But I remained confident. Surely my excellent exercise in back-tracking would confuse the mutt.
No. He simply backtracked until the scent deviated onto its new course.
The sausages? Treated with contempt.
Mark has been training Tyson since he was just 8 weeks old and he's won numerous championships. So clearly a bit of dead meat wasn't going to distract him. Certainly not when the live variety was on the menu.
My last hope lay in the river. The scent on the water had long-gone. But not above it. Unfortunately for me, tracker dogs are trained to follow the scent on the air, not the ground.
So rivers rarely work as a decoy. And the weather was also counting against me. Hot weather encourages the scent to evaporate, but damp conditions help it linger. Today the scent would be good for at least an hour.
MARK TYSON: Who's that? That's a good dog.
JONNY PHILLIPS: I was fighting a losing battle. Desperation set in.
I've covered nearly 6 kilometres in 90 minutes. Mark and his brilliant dog had taken just 60 to hunt me down. After that it only seemed fair to let him have a piece of me.
So, is it possible to beat a tracker dog? Not this one.
JONNY PHILLIPS: Good boy Tyson. My God, he is strong.