Essential Tips for Training Your Hunting Puppy
It may seem daunting to properly train a hunting puppy, but with patience and a few tips, your dog should be responding soon. In this article, we’ll share tips for needed supplies, setting your dog on a trail, and blood hunting.
- Use gloves when handling the pelt to hide your scent.
- Likewise, wear rubber boots.
- Attach the bell to your dog’s collar before training so he associates it with tracking.
- The lead is for directing him if he gets off-track.
- Start small with blood hunt training. A straight drag of fifty yards would work well. Training sessions should be short or your dog will get distracted from too much input. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations for him.
Set the Trail
If you’re training your dog to follow a rabbit, introduce him to the rabbit’s scent by allowing him to sniff a pelt, perhaps chew it. When he knows the scent, locate a nearby rabbit, always verifying it is indeed a rabbit before starting.
Attach the tracking bell to your dog’s collar. Set your dog on the rabbit’s trail, even if the rabbit has moved on. Let him sniff the area to take in the scent. He should show interest in it and the goal is for him to sniff out the trail, barking with excitement. It may take a few weeks, but with consistent practice, he should become more excited and soon follow the scent.
Create a trail by dragging blood, the hide, or both. For your benefit, visibly mark the starting point of the trail. Sprinkle drops of the diluted blood on the ground beside your marker. Next, set your hide, tied to a rope, onto the sprinkled blood. Drag the hide, stopping intermittently to sprinkle more blood. At the end of your trail, leave the hide.
Attach your dog’s collar, tracking bell, and lead. Direct him to the blood, pointing it out to capture his attention. Give him a command, such as “track.” Let him follow the scent, guiding him back to the blood if he gets off-track. When he finds the hide, shower him with praise.
Train a few times a week. When he succeeds, extend the drag to one-hundred yards, increasing incrementally as he masters it. When the length isn’t a challenge, add twists or turns.
The Bottom Line
Four key points stand out for helping your puppy hunt:
- Scent Recognition
Whether of blood or hide, your dog must recognize its scent for successful training. Patience and consistency go together to avoid over-challenging your dog, which may intimidate him. Start small, and keep trying. Praise is the glue binding your work together. When your dog knows he did well, he’ll want to try again.
For reference to the top breeds for hunting like Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Dachshund, Beagle, Fox Terrier and others, the book “Top 10 Hound Dog Breeds: A Dog Care Professionals Textbook Guide To The World’s Most Popular and Skilled Hunting Dog Breeds”. It’s a great source of information.