training to track wild game
I am going to start my Boerboel on training to track game. Are there any helpfull tips any of you could pass on??? He uses his nose ALOT!!! he is constantly smelling everything so I figured he would be good for tracking. I was reading somewhere to use deer blood and make some drops on the ground and at the end of the trail have a treat. Has anybody else used this technique??
If you check with your local dog training clubs, alot of times they have a group within the club that trains for tracking trials. I would make sure you start with a knowledgable and experienced trainer to avoid developing any counter productice practices at the start.
A few questions first.
Will you track live un injured game or wounded/downed animals?
Will your dog be used in a hunting capacity or a recovery capacity?
Will you track on leash or off leash?
Will you track a single species or multiple species with the same dog?
There are more questions but those are the first that come to mind.
I am thinking of teaching him to track injured game, be used for hunting. As far as I know (I have to double check)but dogs in a hunting setting have to be on leash. I still need to check the regs out for that. We want to start off with on species(deer) and eventually moose. I have emailed a couple dog trainers but we are 50km from any "real" town that may have a trainer. As far as i know any training vlubs are atleast 2 hour drive from us so email and internet is the best way for me to learn. I have also emaield a couple friends who train hounds for blood scent.
I have heard some suff though that somedogs may start to chase deer if they smell or see them even when they arent being worked.
The AKC has free pamphlets on tracking that might be helpful to you. They are also on the AKC website. State regulations regarding using dogs not only vary from state to state, but they also vary depending on the type of game. Many states do not allow dogs to be used for deer hunting.
Many dogs will chase animals simply because of their prey drive. However, you can easily overcome this with basic obedience training. I wouldn't want to take any dog hunting with me who would not "stay" when I told them to stay, in spite of the presence of something to chase. To do so is to invite trouble.
Also, the use of blood in not necessary, the animals put out a stronger scent from their bodies than the scent of blood itself, so teaching them to track the smell of animals may be enough. However, some training for recovery of downed animals might use blood to get them to persue injured animals only?
Last edited by Thomas; 12-13-2010 at 10:55 AM.
Thanks, Im in Canada so I will have to check out the ckc webstie and see if they have anything similar. I know we can use dogs here as long as they are on a lead. I plan on training him just for injured deer. Say we shoot a deer and it doesnt fall right away and it takes for running then I would us Bruiser to track it. He knows all his basic obedience and we work on it daily. Both my dogs (gsd and bb) get boerd easily so im constantly thinking of new games for them and working them daily. If I do decide to train him for tracking injured game I wont be starting until spring right now we already have a foot of snow and way more to come. He did proove to me yesturday that he loves to use his nose! we were out exploring an old cabin around a beautifull lake about 5km from my house. Bruiser stoped stuck his nose in the air turned towards me and I said ok. He started trotting smelling the air and found a moose carcas roughly a km away. I dont tihnk it will be too hard to train him since he does love deer and moose meat. Unlike my german shepehrd Bruiser doesnt like being more then 20 feet away from mehe usualy stops and waits for me to catch up. My german shepherd on the other hand will run for a km before she will stop and wait (shes being trained for duck hunting)
Here in Illinois we can't use dogs for deer. I too have a GSD that loves to track and a Boerboel. My GSD won't go far from me, but she is a deer magnet. Getting them involved in tracking is a great way to get them more active with a purpose. Good luck with the training. You can start thre training even in the winter with a command like "where is ______" and have a family member hide somewhere in the home with a treat. When the dog finds the family member they get the treat. It works on the same principle of them trusting and tracking with their nose and getting a reward at the end. And it keeps them actively engaged. It can also come in handy later if a kid comes up missing!
I have actually already taught them to "search" me or my boyfriend in the house its our faovrite game to play indoors while the weather is bad. I also place treats around the house and they have to search for those aswell. We also have balls with diffrent scents that we hide around the yard and house. This is another reason why I think Bruiser would be good for blood scent.
I think these few steps may help you to start with:
Place your puppy in her tracking harness and attach the 6-foot lead to the back ring on the harness. The tracking harness allows your puppy to move and track in comfort without a collar pressing against her neck.
Take your puppy with you to the tracking field, and have her sit while a helper holds her. Walk a few feet away from your puppy and lay a scent pad. A scent pad is an area approximately 4 feet by 4 feet that you walk completely over. Lay a few treats down in the scent pad to encourage your puppy to put her nose down and take in your scent while she’s picking up the treats.
Retrieve your puppy and walk to the scent pad. Give her the command to track, and point down to the treats, allowing her to pick up all the treats and become familiar with the scent pad. Praise her well for picking up all of the treats and sniffing the scent pad, and return her to your helper.
Return to the scent pad, and again walk on it and drop a few treats down. This time, however, walk a few very clear, deliberate steps away from the scent pad in a straight line, dropping treats in each of the footprints. Mark your track with the marker flags so that you remember where it is and you don't steer the puppy in the wrong direction.
Allow your puppy to sniff the scent pad and pick up the treats to get her to pick up your scent. Direct your puppy toward the footprints and encourage her to follow the short track you laid, picking up the treats along the way. Offer the puppy praise for completing the track, and return the pup to the handler.
Continue training on these short tracks, increasing the distance of the track and decreasing the amount of treats along the track. Decreasing the amount of treats encourages the puppy to track for just your scent and not for the treats, so this switchover is vital to your pup’s tracking success. Switch your lead to the 30-foot tracking lead and allow your dog to venture out by herself to pick up the scent, which will give her courage and allow her to learn to track by herself confidently.
Add bends and curves to your track as your puppy gains confidence and performs straight tracks with no mistakes. Always mark the track with the flags to make sure you do not lose sight of where you laid the track. You will eventually remove the flags from your track to allow your puppy to follow the trail by scent only and not rely in the visual markers of the flags for guidance.
Train your dog frequently on tracking to assure he understands the tracking theory and is accurately following your scent from the ground and not sniffing it from the air. If he makes a mistake at any time, slow down and revert to an earlier step until he completes that step with no faults.