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Thread: can ay breed be trained for tracking?

  1. #1

    can ay breed be trained for tracking?

    hi all,

    forgive me if i sound silly but im a newcomer and the owner of two dogs a staff mix bitch and a year old dog who goes by the name of jimmy. he is 50% bull mastiff 25% bulldog 25% rottie. he is mainly white with some tan patches, does this render him useless as a tracking dog as he is too visisble?

    any advice gratefully recieved. how would i go about starting some training myself or can you reccomend any groups in cambridge area for begginers? or should i forget about it lol

  2. #2
    In the late 1800's and early 1900's, the various british "bull terrier" breeds were very popular in South Africa with plainsgame hunters. Not only were they expected to track wounded game but also either pull it down or at least hold it at bay when it was found.

    The vast majority of dogs are capable of following a scent trail of a wounded deer to one degree or another, but some breeds that specialise in it excel (especially on older or more difficult trails) and have a more natural ability.

    With regards your dogs, if they are capable of basic obedience, I would certainly give them a try for blood trailing. You may have to work out a "style" of working that suits you and your dogs, but as long as it works, who cares?

    I would highly recommend the book "Working With Dogs For Deer" by Niels Sondergaard which covers the subject very well, albeit with a very Continental approach....



  3. #3
    Most breeds can be trained for tracking. As Pete E said read the Sondergaard book. Nothing wrong with the very continental approach .
    Give training a go you might be suprised how well the dog do's.
    Next time Stone has a dogs for deer day put your name down for that.

  4. #4

    Deer Dogs

    As a very experianced stalking friend of mine put it the most important criteria for a tracking dog is that it has a nose.


  5. #5
    All dogs have a nose
    What you need is a dog with steady frame of mind ie the dog knows whose boss.
    Rule 1. Command and control first, all all thing will come good in the end.
    Rule 2. Avoid taking a hound of the lead be that a bloodhound or a lurcher.


  6. #6
    thanks for the encouragement guys. i will get hold of the book the dogs definately have noses but im not sure whats going to happen till i get out there i guess...

    going back to te colour of the dog (mainly white) is this a disadvantage? has anybody put a camo vest on thier dog to make it inconspicuous?

    i gather from other posts that im going to need some deer blood and a bit of deer skin (does this have to be fresh or is a bit of hide ok?) or hooves. any tips? now where abouts can i acquire them? lol i was thinking of asking at the butchers that stock venison to get me some blood ect from wherever they get thier venison from, if i pay them?

    and a silly question, does all deer blood smell the same to a dog? does it matter which kind of deer the bood comes from?would it affect the dogs ability to track other kinds of deer diffrent from the blood he is trained to track?

    are there any people on here from cambridgeshie at all?
    cheers chloe

  7. #7
    Use hooves. Don't go dragging deer skin about. I use cattle blood as i can buy that from the supermarket here. I understand thats a no,no The UK though. Source some deer blood. The colour of the dog is not important.

  8. #8
    in my experience, it will not matter what colour your dog/s are
    as you are aiming to track a wounded or dead animal and using a tracking lead i would imagine,
    the Sight ,sound and possibly the scent of both you and the dog getting close to that wounded deer are going to be what the deer is going to be more concerned about than colour , a dead deer won't really care
    as for blood, hooves , skin and a little trail laying and tracking demonstration then if you can drive or hav some one to drive you and pick a sunday morning
    i will gladly help you out , but i am in warwickshire not far from the NEC
    the rest is upto you

  9. #9

    scent and colour


    The colour does not matter when it comes to visibility and though the dog does not need one for comfort, e.g. heat retention reasons, you could always consider a camouflage coat if you find your having problems.

    Interestingly the area where colour can affect the animals ability to track is in the actual detection of scent itself. The pigment colour in the olfactory areas is closely associated with the ability to smell. Most albino humans and animals have a defective ability to smell known as partial anosmia. For many animals anosmia lessens the chance of survival, if you are not high up the food chain then having little or no sense of smell means someone who is will get you . How rare are albino deer?, top predators such as tigers, leopards often have a poor sense of smell. Hence the use of ripe bait, it isnít that the leopard likes rotten meat over fresh its just easier to give him something he can smell.

    Dogs which have an extraordinary ability to process scent (macrosmatic) have a richer dark brown pigment in the olfactory areas and produce a brownish mucous , which is so important to smell processing. Ours (humans) is clear and our olfactory pigment a kind of yellowish pigment.

    The above is of course a very sound reason for retaining the richness of pigment in working dogs because as stated albino and certain breeds of very light coloured/ white dogs may have partial or almost complete impairment of smell.

    Just out of interest other physical areas which effect a dogs ability to smell are dogs with short noses which are subject to respiratory difficulties and the size of the dog. Very small dogs may not be as proficient as larger dogs because their brain size and olfactory areas are smaller.

    In practical terms this does not mean that most dogs can not be trained to track deer if other factors such as intelligence and motivation present. It just means that like various human talents some will be better at it than others. The key is regular practice which will improve the working ability of your dog and the discriminatory quality of his nose.

  10. #10
    Hi Paintandpins

    I read you post concerning colour and scenting ability with interest, my dog is dark liver, so she should be a cracker. However I have owned an English Pointer and he had a majority white coat. This breed always has a lot of white but also has an outstanding nose; this would seem to contradict your theory with regards to colour and scenting ability.

    Any thoughts

    Best rgds


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