Shed hunting has gotten very popular over the last few years. Maybe it is because you like to find the antlers and keep them as your trophies or if you sell them to make some extra cash. I for one have not and will not sell any sheds that I find. This is just my personal opinion and I enjoy looking at all my sheds I have found in years past.
In this post I am going to share with you how I trained my dog Otis to hunt and find sheds. I will start by saying I am no professional trainer by any means. This is just how I trained my dog. There is probably a lot better way to do this. I may have made some mistakes while working with my dog with how I trained him. All that I can say is that this worked for me and the proofs in the pudding!
I will be breaking my training down into 3 different posts. I feel this will make it easier to do into detail on my training technices without making it into a book. Ok let’s get going.
Where do I start? This is the question I get the most about my shed dog. I knew before I bought my dog that I was going to train him for shed hunting and that was it. He still retrieves pheasants and ducks but not like a dog trained to do so. I decided to go with the lab for a breed. Labs have a great sense of smell and are very smart. They are also very friendly and well-mannered dogs. I know of others using spaniels or setters as shed dogs. All of these breeds can be trained to shed hunt and make great family pets also.
At 8 weeks old I picked up my new puppy Otis. His parents had papers and were AKC certified but had no back ground in shed hunting. The first toy Otis had was a tennis ball with a spike shed stuck threw it. I also had him play with a small shed as a chew toy. I didn’t want him to have a bunch of other toys to keep him entertained. I wanted to have his focus on sheds. As he got a little older we started to play fetch with some sheds in the yard. This was at about 16 weeks. Also around the same time I would place sheds in the yard and have him find them and retrieve them to me.
I continued to play fetch with him till shed season rolled around that following January. I would take him to some timber where I had placed sheds in the woods and grass and have him find them. It was not easy at first and still can be challenging. I have seen him run by antlers and not even flinch. This is where I went wrong at first. I did as much as I could to get him to find sheds that I had set out for him so he would enjoy it when we started to shed hunt for real. Positive reinforcement is the best way to get results from your dog when training them.
This is the end of Part 1. I will bring you the next post here in a few weeks. It will go over what I did with Otis during the first few shed seasons. Subscribe to our newsletter and you will get all the great stories from us here at www.trophypursuit.com
Category: Shed Hunting