Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bred to Hunt, Then Trained

I am in awe as to the gross myths people run with and inaccurate assumptions of people who call me looking for a good blood trail dog.

Myth #1. Most people assume if a dog has never been on an actual deer hunt and found a dead or wounded deer and thus has no experience, it won't work for them.

Truth: The only deer my dogs has ever not found were the ones where we were stopped by property lines, emergencies, lack of faith on the hunters part, and the hunter give up and called the dog off, or extended time and bad weather factors.

OK, I understand their caution and concern, considering the B.S. we have to hear from people, the media, politicians, etc. trying to sell us on lies everyday, not to mention the tall tales of fisherman and hunters in general!

But... everytime I have taken one of my dogs out for the first time to trail wounded game whether they were a pet, hunting dog, security, or cow dog, they blow my mind with their enthusiasm, scent ability and intelligence, not to mention the desire to serve and get the job done.

I have actually watched dogs go in the opposite direction that the hunter thought the wounded deer went, and we found the deer!

Here is a link to a great article about tracking
a deer with blood dogs:

Myth #2 Most people assume you need to use deer hide, deer blood, tarsal glands, etc, so the dog knows it is trailing a dead or wounded deer.

Truth: A blood trail is scented with blood, not the animals scent, and blood is such a strong order to a dog, that they can follow it days after the kill, right after a strong rain, across flooded wetlands, and through lots of other game scents and still stay on track, ultimately finding the deer.

Even if the deer stops bleeding, as is often the case in a hard to find kill, the scent of blood is usually on the deers feet and legs by the time the wound stops bleeding and the dog can follow it anyway. The point I am hoping to drive home here is that is not the scent of the animal, but the scent of blood that the dog should track, because in some hunting clubs with a lot of game and a variety of game, it is easy for a dog to get distracted before finding the kill.

If they are trained to follow blood, I don't care if it is a wounded calf, deer, hog, buffalo, human, or bird, they are on it!

Furthermore, a really good, well bred, hunting dog with a lot of drive and an obcession for live game, especially a yuoung one, will sometimes not stay at a kill site and wait for you. They want action and might take of and go find something on the move. For this reason I recommend using a leash on a new or young dog to help them stay on the job at hand.

After they figure out what you want them to do, based on several kills, having that experience behind them, you might see how they work off leash.

Below are photos my daughter took of me conducting a first time training exercise for a group of 6 month old Catahoulas on my property.

For a first time exercise I like to start the blood trail at the gate, before I let the puppies out of the pen.

After letting them out, we walk down a drive way, to establish the understasnding in them as to the line of service I am working on.

Next we head into a vegetated area
to exemplify the normal terrain of the tracking work,
trailing a deer.

At the end of the trail give everyone a taste of raw liver and it helps to let them bite and pull on some raw deer hide, as seen below.

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