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Thread: Blood or Not to Blood that is the Question

  1. #1

    Blood or Not to Blood that is the Question

    Had a conversation today with Jamross over the aspect of using blood/not using blood to lay a trail for a young dog. This is not a for or against, it is an information seeking thread from which I would hope to learn.

    Here are my own thoughts and reasons for using blood.

    I bought a BMH pup knowing that from his pedigree I should be buying a dog that was capable of tracking deer. My aim is to have the dog's ability developed and working for me. There is no doubt in my mind that success breeds success. Watch any young child who achieves a task. With praise from his parents etc the child will be willing to have another go and will happily attempt more difficult tasks to achieve the same success and praise. The child will build from the easy task to more complicated tasks. My first object is to have my pup follow a track which by his breeding he can do, but I want him to do it for me. To use his ability to find what I am looking for. Why not use the easiest track to follow. Blood/liver. He gets to the find at the end of the track whether under his own efforts or through a combination of his efforts and your encouragement. Praise/food/play whatever rocks his boat to get him to think the boss is happy I will do it again. In laying tracks I always have used 250 mils of 50/50 blood/water. As the tracks get longer/older the same amount of blood is distributed over a longer distance. I now introduce cleaves. The basic want to track is there and the dog quickly realises that by following the scent from cleaves he finds that old familiar scent of blood is still there. As the distance increases yet further the distribution of blood becomes less and less.I can now lay a track with no blood only cleaves. I now have a dog that will follow what may be expected from a shot beast. Heavily bleeding, spotting or spraying blood as it runs, no blood at all.

    I can see substance in not going down the blood path. Shot deer do not always bleed but always leave cleave scent but to initially establish the want to track and the basics of using his nose to find a reward is the blood route a means to the same end.

  2. #2
    Gazza,

    That's a good thought out post, infact I couldn't have put it better myself! I agree totaly in what your saying. I can however see the argument for the no blood track. I think if you treat your dog as an individual and use whatever methods work for you and your dog you won't go far wrong.

    The more tools you have in your bag mean you can deal with any situation.

    No matter what you train your dog to do we normaly break it down into stages making each stage as simple as we can before adding all the stages together. You wouldn't put a young dog on a peg on a thousand bird day you would bring it on slowly. It seems to me if you teach a dog to retrieve you start with easy seen dummys then move on to marked then blind retrieves where the dog has to work hard to find them.would it not also be the same for tracking dogs? Search dogs are trained in a similar way until they are searching for minute particles of the item.

  3. #3
    Hmmmm,what age was that teckel the day???
    No blood as blood is too easy for a dog to track.
    Get them on skin,then cleaves then blood,blood splattered over the ground I think any dog can follow this kind of track,I mean any!!
    14 week old teckel tracking a 15 hour old track today kind of proves this theory,now then get that dog to enjoy following cold tracks without blood,different matter.
    Last edited by Wolverine; 26-05-2012 at 20:58.

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  4. #4
    Gazza

    Really enjoyed catching up with you and the guys today. Some interesting chat and a good laugh. The dogs all did well given our varied experience and different stages of training. Thanks also to Davie for the not inconsiderable effort in arranging the day.

    This is an interesting topic, and as Gazza says, why not use blood if it achieves the same goal? Just to clarify, from what I have been taught blood will be used in conjunction with cleaves but only once the young dog is proficient at tracking cleaves on their own and on a cold track.

    The theory being that cleaves always present, blood not so...

    Blood should be easy for the dog to follow. It can hold its head up and work the track fairly quickly as the scent of the blood rises to meet it. But at what cost? The dog may well step over a sign left by the injured deer if it is working the track too quickly. A piece of bone, hair, gut material, whatever but a sign nonetheless to perhaps tell the handler what type of injury has occurred, which in itself may dictate what type of conclusion to expect.

    An experienced dog will read all the scents available to it, but not just the easy one. It has to be able to acknowledge all scent available. Now if a young dog is brought up on blood alone, what happens when that easy scent it is used to disappears? I would guess it will begin to track around trying to pick it up again ignoring perhaps the cleave scent that is still available. But a dog that has been trained on cleaves first, will be confident in what that vague smell means and involve the smell of blood when available as well, which as we have said, is not always present depending on the wound.

    I hope some of the others on here that are far more learned on this matter get involved in the discussion.

    Just to make a point though about the strength and lure of blood scent, when my dog was on her track today, which had been laid last night so was a good few hours old, and it had been made at my request by using cleaves and a piece of dragged skin only, no blood, she started off raising her nose into the wind coming from her right and moving off in the direction of whatever she could smell. She did it 2 or 3 times before it was pointed out to me that a track had been laid a few yards away using blood and cleaves. Now such was the strength of the blood scent it was drawing her away from the cleaves she was already on. She is only 7 months old but was instinctively looking for the strongest easiest scent available to her. Now what if she got on that track and lost the benefit of blood...

  5. #5
    Blood or no blood depends on the individual dog,most dogs have the ability bred in them through generations of selective breeding, but not every dog has that thing called drive.Drive can be the difference between an average dog and an exceptional dog. Some dogs which have a good drive will get by without the use of blood but others may need some blood to encourage /reward them. Most of the time it is down to the trainer not the dog to bring it to the desired level.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sakoson View Post
    Blood or no blood depends on the individual dog,most dogs have the ability bred in them through generations of selective breeding, but not every dog has that thing called drive.Drive can be the difference between an average dog and an exceptional dog. Some dogs which have a good drive will get by without the use of blood but others may need some blood to encourage /reward them. Most of the time it is down to the trainer not the dog to bring it to the desired level.
    You are correct, which is why it is important from an early age for the dog to be taught to track cleaves, because any dog will instinctively track blood.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Gazza View Post
    Had a conversation today with Jamross over the aspect of using blood/not using blood to lay a trail for a young dog. This is not a for or against, it is an information seeking thread from which I would hope to learn.

    Here are my own thoughts and reasons for using blood.

    I bought a BMH pup knowing that from his pedigree I should be buying a dog that was capable of tracking deer. My aim is to have the dog's ability developed and working for me. There is no doubt in my mind that success breeds success. Watch any young child who achieves a task. With praise from his parents etc the child will be willing to have another go and will happily attempt more difficult tasks to achieve the same success and praise. The child will build from the easy task to more complicated tasks. My first object is to have my pup follow a track which by his breeding he can do, but I want him to do it for me. To use his ability to find what I am looking for. Why not use the easiest track to follow. Blood/liver. He gets to the find at the end of the track whether under his own efforts or through a combination of his efforts and your encouragement. Praise/food/play whatever rocks his boat to get him to think the boss is happy I will do it again. In laying tracks I always have used 250 mils of 50/50 blood/water. As the tracks get longer/older the same amount of blood is distributed over a longer distance. I now introduce cleaves. The basic want to track is there and the dog quickly realises that by following the scent from cleaves he finds that old familiar scent of blood is still there. As the distance increases yet further the distribution of blood becomes less and less.I can now lay a track with no blood only cleaves. I now have a dog that will follow what may be expected from a shot beast. Heavily bleeding, spotting or spraying blood as it runs, no blood at all.

    I can see substance in not going down the blood path. Shot deer do not always bleed but always leave cleave scent but to initially establish the want to track and the basics of using his nose to find a reward is the blood route a means to the same end.
    Hmm
    I would very much hope that a BMH always has an urge to track and there is no need to encourage him to do that. It comes naturally.
    The aim of teaching a tracking dog is to copy as closely as possible real life situations from day 1 of training.
    That way when he switches over from an artificial to a real track he will hardly notices the difference. These dogs are good enough to track cleaves without any blood at a young age. And why dilute the blood?
    I would agree with your method if you had a non specialist tracking breed. There encouragement might be needed but not for a BMH.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jamross65 View Post


    Just to make a point though about the strength and lure of blood scent, when my dog was on her track today, which had been laid last night so was a good few hours old, and it had been made at my request by using cleaves and a piece of dragged skin only, no blood, she started off raising her nose into the wind coming from her right and moving off in the direction of whatever she could smell. She did it 2 or 3 times before it was pointed out to me that a track had been laid a few yards away using blood and cleaves. Now such was the strength of the blood scent it was drawing her away from the cleaves she was already on. She is only 7 months old but was instinctively looking for the strongest easiest scent available to her. Now what if she got on that track and lost the benefit of blood...
    It sounds like you had good fun, I would have liked to be there but doing 1000 miles for one day is a bit much. Hope to catch up in March.

    And your last paragraph is the reason why on more formal tracking tests, tracks should always be a minimum of 100 yards apart.

    Sounds like Whisky is coming along nicely. Rudi will be a happy man.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jamross65 View Post
    Gazza

    Really enjoyed catching up with you and the guys today. Some interesting chat and a good laugh. The dogs all did well given our varied experience and different stages of training. Thanks also to Davie for the not inconsiderable effort in arranging the day.

    This is an interesting topic, and as Gazza says, why not use blood if it achieves the same goal? Just to clarify, from what I have been taught blood will be used in conjunction with cleaves but only once the young dog is proficient at tracking cleaves on their own and on a cold track.

    The theory being that cleaves always present, blood not so...

    Blood should be easy for the dog to follow. It can hold its head up and work the track fairly quickly as the scent of the blood rises to meet it. But at what cost? The dog may well step over a sign left by the injured deer if it is working the track too quickly. A piece of bone, hair, gut material, whatever but a sign nonetheless to perhaps tell the handler what type of injury has occurred, which in itself may dictate what type of conclusion to expect.

    An experienced dog will read all the scents available to it, but not just the easy one. It has to be able to acknowledge all scent available. Now if a young dog is brought up on blood alone, what happens when that easy scent it is used to disappears? I would guess it will begin to track around trying to pick it up again ignoring perhaps the cleave scent that is still available. But a dog that has been trained on cleaves first, will be confident in what that vague smell means and involve the smell of blood when available as well, which as we have said, is not always present depending on the wound.

    I hope some of the others on here that are far more learned on this matter get involved in the discussion.

    Just to make a point though about the strength and lure of blood scent, when my dog was on her track today, which had been laid last night so was a good few hours old, and it had been made at my request by using cleaves and a piece of dragged skin only, no blood, she started off raising her nose into the wind coming from her right and moving off in the direction of whatever she could smell. She did it 2 or 3 times before it was pointed out to me that a track had been laid a few yards away using blood and cleaves. Now such was the strength of the blood scent it was drawing her away from the cleaves she was already on. She is only 7 months old but was instinctively looking for the strongest easiest scent available to her. Now what if she got on that track and lost the benefit of blood...
    Absolutely +1
    Drive(of dog)and handler input to a 14 week old teckel on a 15hour blood track,answers please?

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  10. #10
    IMO The "finished dog" is one that will track whatever a wounded deer may leave after being shot/involved in RTA be this cleaves only, cleaves and blood etc. My question is on the method of reaching this point and what are the pros and cons. The breeder of my dog introduce him to deer blood at 6 weeks by feeding him by hand covered in blood. Before I took possession at 10 weeks the pup would happily follow a dragged liver. I thereafter used blood, gradually increasing the length and age of track. Along the way introduced cleaves. My dog will now track just cleaves or cleaves and blood. Are there advantages in going down the cleaves only route? What are the disadvantages going down the blood route? Does using blood have a detrimental effect on the dogs potential to track cold tracks? I have gradually increased the aging of laid tracks and so far have not encountered any disadvantage. John Jeanneney in his book Tracking Dogs for finding Wounded Deer although not specificially addressed at BMH or HS certainly uses blood yet I can see the reasoning behind not using it.

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