Good Evening All,
This is my first post after picking my BMH up from Europe. I just though I would give a little post on what I have done so far with her and what I hope to achieve over the coming weeks.
Since picking her up about 4 weeks ago I have completed 3 liver/lung drags (one a week), ranging from 1 metre to start and then moving to approx. 15 metres.
The first was not great because obviously she didn't really get what her job was but she wasn't over strained or bored, just not understanding what I wanted from her. However, the following two were great and she followed both with nose down but not rushing. After the first two trails I tried rewarding her with food but she doesn't seem interested with food so I changed tactic. I've found that she loves to bark at a deer head after the trails and then to have a chew and play with a cleave, so I will now stick to what she likes.
Last Sunday I did her first trail with Fahrtenschuh (tracking shoes). I used a rear and front cleave and the blood from the same animal for this first proper training trail. I was amazed by how well she took to this first trail. Because it was her first one I kept the conditions pretty easy; it was damp and little wind, and I aged the trail for about an hour. At the start I dripped blood and dropped a few deer pins that I had kindly been given. She had her tracking collar and lead on and after studying the start she then headed off down the trail, which was approx 50m. Head down but not rushing, and not missing the trail at all. Once she reached the head she began barking and I was a very proud Daddy!
I have been taking Bayer once a week to the local Tierpark (animal park) here in Germany; there are sika, boar, red and fallow here in this park and I think this may have helped give her an appreciation for the smells of the animals to the smells of the trail. There are also many birds and other animals and I'm very pleased to say that she isn't jumpy or excitable around any of them, which bodes well for in a year or so when she's out stalking with me!
Anyway, I just thought I'd give a bit of my experiences so far and I welcome anyone's comments of what they do differently, what they think I could improve etc.