For as long as I have hunted White tailed Deer, I have had blood dogs, because I had the dogs before I started hunting in 1986. What I didn't know at the time I started hunting was that my dogs were going to be very useful in terms of increasing my success compared to people who didn't have dogs.
A couple of years ago, so many people began buying my puppies to raise them up to be blood dogs and people started calling looking for started dogs, that I considered there might be a business niche in blood dogs. So I began to research the market and discovered that there was a serious problem out there that most people accept as "that's how it is".
The problem is we are shooting and losing more deer than we find. I first got that "estimated" proposal from state Wildlife and Fisheries biologists, and I didn't believe it. Then I set up a website at www.bloodtraildogs.com and started getting calls from people all over the country, and they confirmed the problem of lost and wounded deer as being a "major" problem.
I believe my reluctance to accept the proposal was based upon the fact that "I" have lost very few deer in my life, but that is me, with my dogs. When people started calling and sharing their failures of the last hunting season, I could see the problem was big, but not unsolvable. The real problem at this point as far as I can see, is people have accepted that shooting and losing more deer than you find is "how it is". But it doesn't have to be this way, not if you own and know how to use a blood dog.
I don't care if the blood stopped or the deer crossed water, a blood dog will 9 times out of 10 amaze you at how persistent and effective they can be when it comes to finding lost, wounded, and dead deer.
Breeding, raising, training, socializing, handling and the last aspect of major importance is diet. All of these are important subjects to study in using and training blood dogs, but the most important is diet, which could be in the category of handling, but is so huge, I want to put it in a category all its own.
The handling of a blood dog in the woods, on a blood trail, is very critical, but more importantly, how you handle or relate to the dog in raising as a puppy and obedience in everyday situations will determine how well that dog ultimately performs for you in the woods when on a blood trail. So, handling will be broken down in two parts; the handling of the dog leading up to the blood trail, and the handling after you get to blood.
If your dog is not obedient and submissive to your authority before you get to blood, the dog may not work at all on blood, because it may be rebeling and acting up and want to play. You should teach your dog to be obedient and well behaved before you ever get to blood, and know the difference between work and play. The puppy or dog should understand when on leash, it is time to work, and when off leash time to play. In time, an experienced dog can be worked off leash if you have verbal control of them.
As much as I prefer to work my dogs off leash, I have to advise you to train and start to work your dogs on leash because you have total control, and there will be times when that is the only way you can use them and the dog needs to be comfortable with that application too. In time, as you have a better verbal handle on your dog, you can start to work them off-leash and evaluate what works best for you and your dog.
The thing about a leash is it puts the dog in a relationship with you in which it is completely subjective to your control. Ultimately if you develop a relationship where you can effectively control your dog off-leash like I do, you can use your dog that way too, but for now, I am writing this as if everyone reading it, is a novice and is just starting out training a puppy or completely green and unexperienced dog.
There is two sides to handling a blood dog. Obviously, what you do in the woods on a blood trail is important, but the relationship you build with the dog before you ever lead them to blood is more important than the handling of the dog when you get to the blood trail. It is more important for the simple fact that no matter how well bred, raised, trained, and experienced a dog is, if you don't have a relationship that motivates that dog to serve you, they may not hunt for you.
About half the people who call me for blood dogs want a finished ready to go dog, that will not only find deer, but be perfectly well behaved. The problem with that perception is that I can train a dog to listen to me and it does so because it is obedient based upon our relationship, not the training. If I train the dog it will listen to me and most likely only me. If you want the same level of performance from your dog as I get, you need to invest time. No way around it. No matter how smart, obedient and well trained a dog is, the performance of that dogs working abilities is based more upon a personal relationship with you than training or breeding.
many people think, that a good dog will work for anyone, anywhere, anytime, and if it doesn't work it is not a good dog or may be it was not properly "trained" or experienced enough.
Now I know what they are thinking, if you spend enough money, you can "buy" loyalty, trust, devotion, motivation and love. But the truth is these things can't be bought, they must be earned. And it is between you and the dog. You must prove that you can be trusted to back the dog up. Now this is why raising a puppy is such a good idea, because you have to invest time, no way around it. The problem with raising a puppy is so many people who want "fast food" results when raising and training a dog is expecting too much to soon. I say let the dog be a puppy for two years. Meaning don't expect a puppy to act, think, and perform on the level of a seasoned dog.
I get this with my hog dog customers so much, that it shouldn't surprise me here with the blood dog business. People want to invest money and "no time".
They want to buy instant gratification, but fail to grasp that a working dog is part of a team that functions as a unit, and that unit or tribe, or family, or wolf pack, must be formed over time. You will get out of your dog relative to what you invest in time.
It seems that American consumers are programed to buy what they need and have lost touch with the reality of using working animals. Dogs are not tools, games, or machines designed to entertain or serve us, and then be left hanging on the wall or sitting on the shelf, or stored in the backyard shed until until we need them again. They operate on a natural instinct to be part of a pack of wolves and want to go everywhere you go and be there to help with any problem that arises.
If you spend time socializing your dog and developing a relationship of love and trust, then feed your dog a raw meat diet, and finally bring your dog to a blood trail, "when it is hungry", your dog may be a "natural" when it comes to blood trailing. Now I will discuss the handling of a blood dog on trail later, but if you do not connect with your dog as a friend or "pet", and properly handle(relate) to them "before" you lead them to blood, don't be surprised if they won't hunt for you, when you get to the woods.
Too many people are calling me, needing a dog to trail blood, and they already have Bloodhounds and Labradors that aren't working, so they think the solution is to get another dog, or mabe another breed. A lot of this appears to be the hunter is expecting too much too soon because the dog is still a puppy. But what do you do in the meantime, when you got a deer bloodied and down somewhere and the dog is not going the distance?
Maybe what they need is a new plan from the get go. Maybe the deer hunter needs to be trained, and not the dog. So that is where this publication comes in. I am offering deerhunters an opportunity to increase their hunting success by finding more deer with the help of mans best friend; the family dog.
In the mean time before my book is published, I may be able to satisfy your short term needs of locating lost deer if you can call me and we can get together for a hunt so you can see how these dogs work and maybe match you up with a started dog.
If the drive is not too far from Lafayette, LA where I live, I would be glad to go with some dogs and help locate your deer. If you are frustrated that you don't have a blood dog this season and can't afford a started dog, buy a puppy now, and be ready for next season.
I can be reached by cell phone at 337 298 2630. I am Marcus de la Houssaye.