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Thread: Training a 3 year old labrador for deer

  1. #1

    Training a 3 year old labrador for deer

    In all field sports i think it is our duty to have a dog to account for any possible wounded animals ,i have a rock steady 3 year old lab that is fairly well trained and has a decent nose. do you think that i would be able to train him to track deer or would he be to old to start ? and how would you go about it ? Thanks in advance for any advice DF
    Last edited by Double four; 16-03-2011 at 13:48.

  2. #2
    You might get several different answers here but in your position I would get the next pluck that comes along your way, go out into a field and drag it for perhaps 100yds leaving at the end of the trail, preferably out of sight. Remember where the trail starts and ends. Give it a couple of hours and then go back with the dog. Walk towards the beginning of the trail at right angles to it allowing the dog to cross it. Watch for an indication that he has picked up the scent. If he does a bit of vocal encouragement but then leave him to work it out. Hopefully he will follow the scent to the pluck and you can reward him with food/play. Give it a couple of days and do the same again (same pluck can be used). Once he has learned what you want from him, time to try the same but with a blood trail.

    If in the first instance he shows no sign of indicating the scent trail or wishing to follow it, encourage him to scent the trail, work your way along it with him till he reaches the pluck, much praise/food. Take him back and try again. All you are trying to do is asking him to trail a scent to a reward. If the reward is big enough he will soon get the idea.

    I think much will depend on his training/work up till now. If he is a cling to the left leg dog he may find this being the leader and being out in front a bit strange but a lab certainly has the nose for the job it's a matter of switching it on to what you want.

  3. #3
    if you are going to have you dog with you at heel while you are stalking i would do as follows ,

    start the dog on liver drags , as you say he is 3 yrs old and has a good nose get a deer liver and cut it in half and mark the start of the track with a stick so you know where ypu are starting from then attach said liver to a bit of string and litterally walk off dragging the liver behind you for 100yds or so. then at the end of the track place a deer skin with the head attached , and with the liver you dragged place it on the neck so he has a snack to find at the end .

    put the dog on it and see what happens , he shoud find and follow the track no problem .

    do this once a week until he gets the hang of it , then swap to blood .

    with blood what i do is start the track with a good splodge then squirt blood from a washing up bottle 50%water /50% blood , firstly heavy to start with , for the same distance 100yd or so to a deer skin . as he again starts to get used to it you can use less blood and increase the distance .

    and once you have got him tracking blood over say 300 -400 yds you can go one step futher if you wish and add foot scent with a set of tracking shoes (i really rate them but bloody expencive at 80 ish) .

    lay blood trail as before while walking off with the shoes on starting off with a reasonable distance so the dog can find the skin nice and easy and as he gets the nack of it use less and less blood over a greater distance and in the end the dog should be able to follow a track of a shot deer even if it stops bleeding .

    also let the dog play with a deer skin and always offer him the neck so he knows which end to grab hold of . and i found with my lab if you track them once a week , its better then 3 times a week but thats just my expierence with my dog .

    oh and make it fun with lots of encouragement . this is what i did and it works for me !

    hope this helps

    cheers lee

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  4. #4
    Hi Double 4
    In the next few weeks you have the chance of going to the NGO dog tracking day on the saturday to get unbiased advice and to try out the dog as a novice.Look at the forum
    Both of the above advisors have given you good basic advice about what to do with the dog and as it is steady there is no reason not to use it for deer.
    I from a personal position as an amateur dog handler found that a classroom situation is of great benefit as there are other handlers at your level to bounce ideas and disasters off without any preconceived notions.
    Read up on the subject.The Guy Wallace leaflet is a good start as it has a no nonsense style about tracking ,then possibly the John Jeanneney Book.
    Buy nothing until you have read these books and had a play with the dog because a harness or a leash is and expensive bit of kit that could hang in the garage doing nothing.
    Visit me at the Gamekeepers show Catton Park if you want to look at some gear but try the NGO Course or the BMH tracking day next month before you make up your mind.
    P.S tracking shoes are 85 plus postage
    www.muntjactrading.co.uk
    Rember never test your dog always train it as you never want it to fail
    Have fun
    KIt

  5. #5
    Interesting, & timely, thread as I'm just about to start a young dog blood tracking (when I get time).

    For the first few tracks do you pay particular attention to the weather conditions to make scent conditions optimal or just get on with it when time permits? Also do you set the first tracks into or with the wind as I have heard conflicting advice?

    For a 6 month old pup how far would you make the first track? To be honest I was hoping to have him started a while ago but work and family life has been hectic so hopefully find some time wiyh the light nights coming in.

    Thanks

    Stephen
    "Imagine you're a deer. You're prancing along, you get thirsty, you spot a little brook, you put your little deer lips down to the cool clear water... BAM! A f**kin bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces! Now I ask ya. Would you give a f**k what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearing?"

  6. #6
    Best deer dog I had started at 7 years old so I am sure your dog will be fine if properly trained.

  7. #7
    Simon, what breed was it. I have a black lab who has always been used on pheasant/partridge/duck etc. and presumed it was too late to start on deer.
    So much to learn and so little time left

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by NigelM View Post
    Simon, what breed was it. I have a black lab who has always been used on pheasant/partridge/duck etc. and presumed it was too late to start on deer.
    not at all , my lab was 6 when i started his deer training , being already trained for birds !

    Discretion assured
    - call us anytime, free on 0800 689 0857

    please visit our web site:
    http://uksha1 or find us on facebook
    Sponsored proudly by Pfanner, Blaser, Clark Forest.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringer View Post
    Interesting, & timely, thread as I'm just about to start a young dog blood tracking (when I get time).

    For the first few tracks do you pay particular attention to the weather conditions to make scent conditions optimal or just get on with it when time permits? Also do you set the first tracks into or with the wind as I have heard conflicting advice?

    For a 6 month old pup how far would you make the first track? To be honest I was hoping to have him started a while ago but work and family life has been hectic so hopefully find some time wiyh the light nights coming in.

    Thanks

    Stephen
    The basics are getting the dog to understand what you want of him. At 6 months his nose is more than capable of following a fairly lengthy track. First tracks should be shortish. With over the top enthusiasm from you when he reaches the end. He needs to know that trailing the scent and making a find means great joy/food/play with the skin or whatever makes him happy. I started with food and praise but later found that throwing an old tennis ball pleases him more. On a live situation I always give him something to eat from the shot beast. A bit of heart/kidney/lung.
    Once he gets the idea of what you want, increase the length of track, increase the time it is left but keep the amount of blood you use to the same amount. A good dog will thrive on the tracks getting more and more complicated but don't track him everyday. I started at about two a week and now at 17 months I give him a training track once a month or so but he is out stalking several times a month. If he gets a good track during stalking I will leave out the training exercise.
    I have found that weather especially cross winds can play a part in tracking, but rain does not wash away a track and in my experience can make the blood scent stronger.
    Lay your first tracks with the wind. You do not want the dog air scenting the skin at the end of the trail. You want the dog to work his nose close to the ground. Working with the wind forces him to track close.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Gazza View Post
    The basics are getting the dog to understand what you want of him. At 6 months his nose is more than capable of following a fairly lengthy track. First tracks should be shortish. With over the top enthusiasm from you when he reaches the end. He needs to know that trailing the scent and making a find means great joy/food/play with the skin or whatever makes him happy. I started with food and praise but later found that throwing an old tennis ball pleases him more. On a live situation I always give him something to eat from the shot beast. A bit of heart/kidney/lung.
    Once he gets the idea of what you want, increase the length of track, increase the time it is left but keep the amount of blood you use to the same amount. A good dog will thrive on the tracks getting more and more complicated but don't track him everyday. I started at about two a week and now at 17 months I give him a training track once a month or so but he is out stalking several times a month. If he gets a good track during stalking I will leave out the training exercise.
    I have found that weather especially cross winds can play a part in tracking, but rain does not wash away a track and in my experience can make the blood scent stronger.
    Lay your first tracks with the wind. You do not want the dog air scenting the skin at the end of the trail. You want the dog to work his nose close to the ground. Working with the wind forces him to track close.
    Good stuff, thanks Gazza. Kind of confirmed my own thoughts and research. Just need to get out there with him.

    thanks again

    stephen
    "Imagine you're a deer. You're prancing along, you get thirsty, you spot a little brook, you put your little deer lips down to the cool clear water... BAM! A f**kin bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces! Now I ask ya. Would you give a f**k what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearing?"

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