Thursday, December 16, 2010

Staying On Track

I got an invite to hunt in St. Francisville, La. this week and brought a truck load of young dogs to allow them to run down some blood trails and learn the ropes. Along with the young dogs who were learning, I brought along a few of the "professors".

There appears to be a lot of articles and forum posts coming out on the internet with a lot of different opinions as to "How to train a blood tracking dog". And for someone researching the internet to try to learn from all these conflicting opinions, it can get frustrating to know which way to go. Now bear in mind, I have a lot of dogs of varying ages to work with, so I know that what I am about to propose doesn't fit as a solution for most peoples predicament of starting a training program for a new and unexperienced dog.

Very important to get young dogs on a hot fresh trail as soon as possible because there is a long and steady process of becoming a great dog someday. And I am talking years, but why not use the years already in an old dog to set an example for a young one?

As complicated as it is for us to follow a blood trail visually, it is much more complicated for a dog, because their ability to scent is so profound, and a young dog can get distracted and confused easily by so many different scents in the woods. Laying blood trails in the yard, can get too easy and you need to take them to the woods as soon as possible, and with an older trained dog if you can.

The more experience they have the better to learn to differentiate and unravel the puzzle leading to the dead deer.

Experienced dogs learn to follow the deer with the "blood scent" and not get side tracked.

Good idea to use an old experienced dog to set a good example for a young dog. And on that note, I must admit, "I" don't train my young dogs as much as my old dogs do.

I take young started dogs to kill sites and let them discover the blood on their own if possible, if not, I lead them to the point of impact or "first blood" as we say and get them started, but try to stand back as much as possible so they are not following me.

If they are interested, I give them as much time to anylyse the scent as they need. Never try to rush an upstart on a new location! Dogs are naturally curious about scents. We "see" the world, and dogs "smell" the world.

I like to turn out a young dog, and evaluate their progress, and if they find the deer, great. If not, I then go get the older, more experienced dog to show them how it is done. As much as we might like to take credit for training a young dog, there is no better teacher than an old dog to take a blood trail to the next level and teach a young dog to not quit!

But... it can get much more complicated than that, as you will see in the article below.

Here is an exerpt of an excellent article in a great website at United Blood

The title is: Staying on the Right Line
written by By John Jeanneney © 2005
It is copyright protected and shared here for your pleasure,
I sure enjoyed reading it and I hope you do too.

I remember once we were tracking or trying to track a leg-hit deer in dry, dusty snow. We could see the tracks all right, but it was an averaged-sized deer running with a small herd of other average sized-deer; there was not enough track definition in the loose snow to tell which deer was which. Clary the tracking dachshund was the only one who knew what she was doing.

The tiniest drop of blood would have shown up on that pristine white snow, but there wasn’t any blood at all. One deer cut off and left the rest, and that was the one that Clary followed. Trust your dog! We followed and the long tracking leash kept us together. After a hundred yards we saw one drop of blood. Of course the dog knew the scent of that individual deer.

A tracking dog often has to deal with cross trails where a deer has been dragged out of the woods. Even young dogs learn to handle this pretty well. There was one case last year that was tougher than this.

Aunt Sabina dachshund was tracking behind her young nephew Alex. There was some tidying-up to be done, but basically we let the young dog do the work. I wrote a year ago about how disappointed Alex and the hunters all were when we tracked up to a still-warm pile of guts. It was from a paunch shot deer just like the one we had been tracking. The only one in our group who understood the situation was Sabina. She trailed past the pile of guts, went another 50 yards into real thick stuff, and there was the deer we had been trailing, also shot in the paunch.

If you would like to read the article in its entirety the link is here:

If you need to call me for blood tracking services, to purchase a dog or puppy, or for consultation, my cell phone is: 337 298 2630

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