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Thread: Basic puppy scent training, Nature or Nurture

  1. #1

    Basic puppy scent training, Nature or Nurture

    aplologies in advance, i'm probably going to make a right a**e off writting wot i'm thinking, so no change there then

    Over the last few years been reading and learning a lot on here as well as a few reccommended books on 'continental' scent training and some off the succes that a few off u are get is alomst unbelievable, infact if some off u met me in the pub and told me ur dog can track scent only x hours old and y meters long, i would off called u a liar. It just blows my mind wot some off u and ur dogs/hounds are doing.

    The way they start there puppies off very early doing mini puppy tracks, do u think it is absolutely crucial in 'awaking/switching on' either some part off the nose or brain and really gettin ur dog tuned in to it's own nose, and then go on to the very high level u are training ur dogs to.

    Or do u think u could 'inherit' a dog very similar (and i know its not possible and a lot off if's and but's) of same breed and similar decent working stock say at a yearish old that is pretty much untouched training wise but also has no real flaws/bad habits. Do u think given time (and i would expect it would need longer being older) u could train it to the same standard as the pup. Or do u think that critical pup say 3-6 month stage is critical to truely switching the dogs nose on, so if u miss that stage ur dogs nose/brain will never get as 'tuned in' as the pup's would be?
    Hope that makes sense to u.

    My 2nd question.
    Do u think any aspect off scent hound training could be transferred to the very basic stages off puppy training for a gundog? (and i'm talking about a gundog that will be 100% bird dog with no interest i deer) Basically to try and improve ur gundogs nose for later in life. Thinking about it now most off the puppy dog training/play i do is very much sight orientated play throwing things in short grass type thing, don't get me wrong i do throw dummies into longer grass for hunt type play but ur always trying to get succes without u boring the pup.
    I must admit my dogs have no problem with lack of nose/game finding (plenty of other problems thou) but just wondering if there is any way i could adapt my training to improve my next dog

    The reason i'm asking is been on the grouse the day and for all my dogs done pretty well, grouse can be absolute pigs to pick at times and there was a couple off grouse that my dogs never picked that i expected them too (and so did the gun), and i began to doubt them a bit. But in fairness thinking back probably only 1 runner that i know i've missed. A couple off the others must have been picked by beaters as dogs were keen on puff's of feathers yet no bird close to the path they walk and i said to 1 of the other pickers up who is a neighbouring keeper to run his pack over the area to double check and they came up empty too (althou that doesn't mean there wasn't a bird there) and they're very exp grouse dogs. So in reality they done alright. Just that last bird hunted for ages (last picker up of hill again) after the last drive, really annoys me if i can't get them

    Just wondering if/when i get my next pup if there is something i could do to really improve/utilise it's nose to it's full potential like u scent boys are doing with ur dogs

    Cheers hope that makes sense to u, to long to think about things between drives

  2. #2
    hey CB

    not sure if this is along the lines of your thinking
    if a dog does not have natural ability
    Or has not had the training or experience to do anymore than you ask it
    then the answer is yes
    It is crucial to put the work in at an early stage

    as for those that say their dogs can only follow tracks a upto x hours old... I believe them... Some dogs will and once they reach a certain point where the scent is not strong enough they will lose interest ... Not every dog has that built in ability or carries the same drive as the rest of the their litter may.... Not every dog with in the breed type will make it as to the purpose it is bred for

    which is why I try and choose a pup from a breed line of proven natural ability in the direction I am hoping to use the dog for
    from there with training i would hope to get the best I can from the pup as it matures

    my only advice would be to choose carefully/wisely on the pup front ..... Get a bit of directional training and from there let the natural ability of the dog show you what it can achieve

    a little incident a few years ago
    my old spaniel Stone was an awesome game finder... Very few dogs to touch him in his ability to track down the hardest of runners..... In fact he was a dog the picking up team would call for if they were struggling to find a lost bird
    we just finished a partridge drive (i was beating) and a gun was going over the shot and where a partridge had dropped to the pickers up probably for the 3rd or 4th time
    the gun's dogs had worked the area and so had the picking up team
    we were all gathered around the said few trees where it was marked

    Several dogs were still looking for this bird when I arrived... I cast stone off into the trees watched and waited as he hunted
    moments later he stopped at that point I knew he was on it .... Even with all the dogs running around him he kept his nerve and waited as if he knew they would not find it and he had time to pin point the exact position of the bird
    seconds later he went it and as he backed out he was holding a lively partridge in his mouth from approximately the same place the gun had marked it in
    my old dog was what I would call a specialist in this field.... I'm not sure I will ever get another spaniel to match him either
    i am not saying all the other dogs were poor but once in while you will get that dog
    Don't think you can train for that thou... It just had exceptional natural ability

  3. #3
    It is quite a 'deep' question and really just trying to figure out if i can change how i train my dogs to improve or maximise there sense of smell

    Was just thinking that for a dog following a track 24hrs+ old (and esp with the weather) there really will be a minute amoount off scent about, and it is an amazing feat that they can follow it (and i know it's a different type of scent)

    In theory a dogs nose should be fairly similar biologically speaking, esp of the same breed, so it must just be the way that 'line/strain' and individual has learned to use its nose to it's full potential. But like u say some may not get to the same high level depending on the genes
    And i was just wondering if some changes or something is 'awakened' in that early stage which lets the dog use it's nose/brain better
    So really u think it is really all about the breeding, (so it should be possible to trainan older dog to the same high stndard as u can a young dog, althou probably far more work involved)

    Not really due for another pup for a while but was just thinking/wondering if u could adapt some of the scent training principles to improve my next dogs nose or atleast get the full potential out of it.
    And i would only have a pup of decent working (not trialling) stock

    I have a springer that is the same as ur's stone, would happpily put it up aggainst any dog on game finding ability. (but already know i'll probably never have a dog as good as it again)
    Last year at the grouse he had 3 or 4 fantastic finds that where also witnessed by either the keepers or moor owner (althou doesn't make a difference, it is nice when folk notice and say) after 15 or 20+ dogs had been over the area behind the butts, and there is some very good dogs there, esp on 1 moor where there usually is a few A panel judges and triallers in the picking up line.

    I will say a lot off it is luck too, but some dogs seem to be far luckier more often then others!
    But unfortunately good as he is, he does not pick them all, and i'm just wondering if there is something else i could be doing to help pick the odd 1's

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