Trail Barking Training – NZ Hunting Products
THE FIRST STAGE
If the prospective of a Pig Hunting Dog is not from the above-mentioned ground scenting breeds it is wise to start to accustom the dog to use its nose on the ground from as young as possible.
Say from two months onwards. In case you reckon this is too early think about with what unerring accuracy the still blind puppy sniffs its way to its mother’s teats soon after it is born. For the same reason will the hungry puppy work out a short scent trail to the feeding bowl.
- Begin by feeding the puppy in one place at the same time for about a week to get it used to the routine. Etc Always put food in where it sleeps, this will (Because it’s there way) make the Dog Shit in its Run, not where it sleeps)
- Then move the full bowl a meter or two to the side and create a scent trail to it with bits of Food. Place an empty bowl in the usual place and bring the puppy to it. It will be surprised that the bowl is empty but will soon notice the food trail. Before long it will work it out and surprise, surprise will find the food. Praise it for its clever work and repeat the exercise every time you feed it. If you feed your Dogs in the Kennels I Always encourage the puppy with the words “Get In”. And when the pup is moving towards its resting area I throw the food where it sleeps. That then teaches the pup to eat where it sleeps and will “Get In” when it knows its feed time.
- As food is the only thing the puppy is interested at feeding time it will work out more and more difficult food trails. In that way the dog relies from a very early age on ground scenting rather than air scenting or the use of its eyes to reach its goal.
- When the young dog has become used to being on a lead clip it on at the start of the trail and let the dog guide you to the food. For that purpose, acquire a 10-meter leash which you should never use for anything else. You can now control the tracking process and at same time condition the dog to regard the mere sight of the blood leach as an unmistakable tracking signal. If Feeding a Dog in its Kennel? Then teaching it to jump up in the Kennel then Food is the easiest way. All these variations are designed to make the transition to the serious leach work on the real food trail a lot easier. Food is such a powerful magnet that the dog does not even realise that it is being trained.
- Progress slowly and be happy with your Hunting Pup. While most other Hunting Puppies are still tearing up slippers and digging holes in the garden you are already guiding young instincts in a useful direction.
- Whenever you have the opportunity to observe fresh game tracks let the young dog work them on the long Lead or Hunt the Pup with only one Main Hunting Dog. Spur it on with the words of your choice or words that you used while training your other Hunting Dogs. You should show that you are interested by kneeling down, touching the tracks; even calling your main dog over, the Pup will follow. Always praise the Dog/Pup for working with a deep nose as long as it is following the trail. When it has lost it or you are no longer certain that it is following the trail finish the exercise by Calling the Pup back. Yes, lifting it and putting it down some distance away! Never pull or yank it off the trail as this could send the wrong signals for its serious work later on. You could end up with a dog that fears the Boar smells. For the same reason never be punish or roughly handle the dog while it is tracking, even if it loses the trail.
- Use every natural Boar/Pig Trail as a training aid. Of course, choose easy trails at first to ensure that the dog will succeed. Always put it on the leash to control its exuberance and/or to help the dog when the going gets difficult. Once the Pup learns the smell of a Boar/Pig Trail then remove the lead and from there it has and well learn the rest. When the dog leads you to the kill, praise it and reward it. Let the Pup Bail on its own, it will (On first, second and even more pigs) just stand off and move around the Bail up watching the other Dogs do their thing. This will fortify the connection between the trail and what should be at the end of it.
However, there are many cases where the Pig is badly wounded but still manages to stay alive with the dogs on it or bailing it. When the Boar has enough strength to flee again or fight allowed the Pup to chase and re-bail it. In this case the sooner the dog chases and bails it the faster the Dog/Pup learns that speed and smartness is the way to catch it.
Adult Boars can put up such a good defence against a single dog that it is safer for a dog to bail than to attack with the aim of pinning the animal down. Don’t be too hasty to put your young dog to the test because before it becomes a reliable bailer a dog needs to have developed its courage on lesser game or acquired the necessary experience from assisting an older dog. Even so Trailing Barking is fraught with difficulties and disappointments, frustration to the owner can be upsetting, well for the Pup its bloody frustration more.
This is why training with a lead to the Boar Trail, to the Bail up is so important at a young age, it learns what to do, doesn’t make major mistakes, has its Owner/Favourite Dog mate beside it which also gives the Pup better confidence. If the Pup after a while starts to Trail Bark after it knows the Boar scent don’t get frustrated and start punishing it, start Hunting the Pup & ONE main Dog in more open areas, open Pines, Tussock or Farm areas. Make it easier for the Pup at first then slowly more the Pup to heavier Bush areas. No two situations are alike which makes the wonderful work of great hunting dogs all the more memorable.
What started off as a puppy’s search for food gradually develops into the hunting obsession of the adult predator. Through this graduated learning process your dog has become your most potent tool when your bullet has failed to make a clean kill. The long hours of training are now being put to the test as you both head off along a trail of quickly fading scent.