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Thread: Pulls like a train

  1. #1

    Pulls like a train

    My Labrador bitch is 21 months old. She is steady at heel and will stalk with me for hours. She has started to indicate deer ahead, sits and stays, is steady to shot (sometimes several) and will watch un-shot deer run past at close quarters without moving. She will sit under a high seat and watch deer approach without moving other than to indicate the deer and look up at me.

    Recall and stopping on the whistle is very good and I am very pleased with the control and steadiness achieved to date.

    Much of my stalking is in areas with significant public access, so any follow ups are time constrained. This means that the track is usually fresh.
    Ruby has always been trained to track on the long lead and has never been allowed to run free. She has never been allowed to run in, nor to find an easy carcass as I have been advised against such things.

    So where is the problem...? When she knows that the situation is for real, I take her to the shot site and put her collar and long lead on. At this she goes up several gears and gets excited. I let her find the strike signs, upon which she casts around until she picks up the line.

    Upon picking up the line she tries to take off at speed. Her nose is on the ground but she is pulling like hell and there would be no way that I could keep up with her. I think she would go so fast that she would lose the track ?
    I am keen not to dent her enthusiasm for her tracking but need to slow her down and avoid a coronary (mine not hers).

    I would appreciate informed thoughts on this situation and any remedy.

  2. #2
    Loop the leash from the tracking collar under the front leg. Take your time and if the dog gets too hot just stop him and make him sit. He's probably pulling because of the hot scent. Try him on a much older track and see if he still pulls.

  3. #3
    The facts are that on a fresh track the available scent is just so much that for a dog to follow that scent is just too easy and combined with the excitement generated by the anticipation of finding the deer she is ready and able to take off with great gusto. If the track was much older, less scent, the dog would have to work at it and would naturally slow up somewhat. Older training tracks will slow her down a bit but only on these type of tracks. It will not train her to slow down on fresh tracks. IMO you have recognised the start of what you are up against. "At this she goes up several gears and gets excited" Again IMO you must try and curb this build up of excitement. There will be several triggers to this. Being out stalking, being in a situation where she knows that she maybe called upon to track, hearing the shot, being taken to the shot site and even possibly your level of excitement going up a notch. I would try taking her to the shot site and have her sit whilst you made your examination of the site. Let the build up of excitement fade away for however long it takes, dont use any talk that will gee her up. Once calm cast her out. Immediately if she starts to pull hard have her sit and calm down a bit. I use the command "steady" You can obvioulsy slow her up a bit by holding back on the leash but this can lead into the dog pulling harder. I would also give thought to not taking her to every shot site. A fair number of deer that run short distances can be easily found yourself.

  4. #4
    I appreciate the tips and have tried some of them this afternoon, just as dusk was falling.

    I laid a trail of about 300 yards with 7 changes of direction and a few breaks in it. I used some bits of Muntjac, shot this morning but no extra blood. I left it for a couple of hours, then took her to the start. She was keen to be off but nothing like when it is for real. I think that the point of picking up on my excitement is well made and taken on board.

    I let her find the start then made her sit for several minutes before putting on her collar and tracking lead. I then made her sit and wait again before allowing her to start the track.

    Allowing the track to age just a bit, through cover and with the turns certainly slowed her considerably. Several times she had to cast about to pick it up at the turns and breaks. I also didn't let her have so much line so could keep better contact.

    I am pleased to say that she followed the trail faithfully and enjoyed her find and reward. She is very easy to 'gee-up' but I kept quiet and that helped too.
    I am now hopeful that adopting this combination of actions will enable us to get the right result.

    Regarding allowing the 'real thing' to age, this is a problem in some areas that I stalk as public access, particularly dog walkers who think that having a dog under control is when it is charging about two hundred yards ahead is ok, obliges me to recover a carcass as soon as practicable. At those locations where leaving it to age is feasible, I will give that a try too.

  5. #5
    Have you tried a harness on her instead of a collar? You might be surprised.... the excitement of the hunt along with the choking as she pulls the collar could just be freaking her out. You can also give her a firm tug without worrying about hurting her neck and you could let her drag the kill back for you also.

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