The last few posts generated so much conversation, I need to do a part 2 and clear up some confusion!
First, I breed, train, work and hire out my Catahoula cur dogs to track wounded deer.
Now that being said, I understand that most people reading this do not have a clue what a de la Houssaye's Catahoula is. If you click on the links here, you can go to my other sites and learn what a Catahoula is and is not, for instance it is NOT a hound!.
But... my training methods apply to almost all breeds, and for instance:
#1. Hungry dogs hunt!
Which is why most dogs of any breed(INCLUDING CATAHOULAS) do NOT make a GOOD HUNTING DOG, if they are also a pet, because THE FAMILY DOG as a pet is almost always over fed 24/7/365, over weight, and that ALONE over rides what motivates a dog to hunt in the wild:
And if that is what motivates a dog to hunt in the wild, why are you not using that to train, motivate or handle your working dog in a domestic situation? Duhhhh!
Bottom line: the reason most dogs that are "made into pets" do not hunt is because they are NEVER GIVEN A CHANCE to eat raw meat, OR TO GO HUNGRY FOR A FEW DAYS and thus not conditioned by the diet to hunt for food.The only hunt that they need to engage in is to go to the back door every day @ 6 pm to eat dry dog food. Plus they are almost never ever fed raw meat, so they do not recognise the smell of fresh deer blood as associated with their regular DRY food diet and therefore do not regard it as something TO SEEK when hungry.
Yet bring a dog that eats raw meat on a regular basis to a blood trail when that dog is hungry, and watch what happens!
Recently some hunters called on one of the top trackers in the Southern Blood Trackers Association to come to their lease at about 9 pm and find a wounded deer that was shot at sunset a few hours earlier.
The dog would go to the end of blood and no further. Meaning it failed to find the deer.
The tracker claimed that the dog wouldn't track the deer because the dog could smell the hormones in the inter dignitary glands (click on link and go to this article for more info) between the toes, and knew from previous experiences that the blood was from a deer that was NOT MORTALLY WOUNDED. And thus the dog refused to waste time looking for the deer because the dog knew it was a waste of time to track a flesh wound on a deer that would not lay down and die!
The next day, at first light the hunters went looking for the deer WITHOUT a dog and found it in plain sight about 50 yards from the point of last blood. But wait, this happened more than once with these hunters calling on the same dog, and got the same lame excuse from the tracker when the dog failed to find or even hunt for the deer.
My analysis: This well bred German Bloodhound who found literally hundreds of deer over the years as a professional tracker was being over fed and thus had no interest in hunting for food. That is what a dead deer is to a dog right? FOOD!
And I have seen it again and again and again with people who want to buy a finished dog and take my finished dogs and do not follow directions from me who put years into the dog and it won't hunt for them. Other people get the same dog a week later and advise me that they have wanted a dog like this all their life. Why so different results from the same dog? Most likely someone is following my instructions regarding how to handle the dog and some one is NOT!
So, if you really want a finished dog... I got them , but:
Why are you trying to buy a finished dog from someone who bred, raised, socialized, trained AND HAULED THE DOG AROUND FOR YEARS, and YOU are not following the breeders/trainers program?
Because you think if it did it for me, it will automatically do it for you. You are AMONG 95% of the people who shop for finished dogs, and you are wrong.
Come on think about it: if the dog hunts for me, why is it not hunting for you? Because you think you know more about this dog training thing than me, and you think you know more about the dog in less than one week, better than me who put years into that dog?
Hiring a Catahoula cur tracking dog is like hiring a taxi, meaning it comes with a driver: as in yours truely.
Now should you want to hire my dogs without me, I suggest you come to my house and visit regularly and camp out and live with them like I do, so my dogs can get to know you BEFORE you call upon thier services to track for you, otherwise they most likely will not hunt for you like they do me.
I regularly camp out in my training facility, complete with a campfire, and sleep under the stars.
AND... as you get to know them and you learn how to be a part of a blood tracking team, you will learn to guide, assist, AND TRUST the dogs natural instincts. You see the world, and dogs smell it, put those together, and you have a team which works together to help you find the deer.
I breed, train, work and write about Catahoulas in their infinite expression of natural working abilities. I also have a pure bred wolf as you can see in the photo above.
My dogs have taught me a great deal about loyalty, honesty, devotion, courage, service and instinct.
Do I get credit for anything here? Yes, I was humble and just barely smart enough to recognize that my dogs were smarter than me when it came to hunting, and from that point forward I began to learn a lot more from them than I ever taught them.
Very important point here: I do not NEED to do anything to train my puppies to hunt except haul them around with my older finished dogs, and track deer WHEN it is deer season and they(the puppies) learn from the older dogs example.
So If you ask me, "What is the best way to train a puppy to track wounded deer?
My honest answer: "Use an older dog, and wait until deer hunting season!" It is OK, to make liver drags, and lay out blood trails during the off season, etc, etc, but don't expect too much in terms of performance when it comes to off season training, the rubber meets the road during deer season as the dog will learn more in ONE day of actual deer season blood tracking than you will ever teach them "by training them" in the off season.
That's how I train 'em. I USE AN OLDER EXPERIENCED FINISHED DOG! Duhhhh!
And... because most people do not know how to train a dog to do anything, much less hunt, AND because raising and training a Catahoula puppy requires patience and at least two years input, but worse they do not have an older dog to help to train it for them, I recommend buying a finished or started dog from me that was raised and trained by my older dogs in my blood trail dog training facility to be your family pet AND help you track wounded deer.
Now if you ask me, "What is the best TIME to start to ttain a puppy to track wounded deer? I don't care what age the dog is, the best time to start training them is DURING DEER SEASON!
This is Simon who found his first deer before he was 2 years old.
So... why is deer season the best time to start to train a puppy? Because for all the mock trails you create and the games you play in the off season, nothing will interest or "motivate" your dog or puppy to hunt for you like taking them into a REAL LIFE treasure hunt that results in them getting a belly full of fresh meat WHEN THEY ARE HUNGRY!
If you are interested in buying a dog or asking questions,
I am Marcus de la Houssaye, and I can be reached by cell phone at 337 298 2630.