Type of dog

East Coast

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A hunter once told me that it's better to take any old dog bird hunting then not have a dog at all.  Does anyone agree with this?

The reason I ask is I have access to a number of dogs (pitbull mix, boston terrier, etc) for hunting. Since they are not hunting dogs or trained for it I am not sure if they would do more harm then good.

EC
 



Irish Lad

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No, it is not true. A dog that is not trained can ruin a hunting trip. It might run off chasing rabbits or not come back when called.
 

Bill W

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It probably depends on the dog and the degee to which he is obiedence trained. I've seen more than a couple hunts ruined by poorly trained "hunting dogs", their breeding notwithstanding.  

The non-hunting breeds don't have have the instinct but if they enjoy the "game" and are well trained enough to behave then they can do o.k.

I had a big Samoyed (fluffy white sled dog).  He obviously had little to no hunting instinct.  However, even his nose was about a thousand times better than mine.  He also loved to play fetch which qives some hint as to retrieving instinct. I often took him quail hunting and while he obviously would not point birds he would certainly flush birds that I would have otherwise walked by. He regularly found cripples and he retrieved about as well as some pointing breeds I've seen (i.e. when he felt like it).  It was kind of funny, but I've got several pictures of him proudly posing with me over a limit of quail or dove.

He did chase a few rabbits but he was well behaved enough to come back when I called.  He didn't have the instinct but it was game to him that he learned to love.  And in all honesty, I've got to say that he would get just as excited when I got out a gun as my current Lab does now.

JMO

Bill

(Edited by Bill W at 9:11 pm on Dec. 2, 2001)
 

East Coast

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That sounds like fun Bill.  I think I might take out my friends Boston Terrier.  Lou (the dog) is obedient, comes when he is called and does not run too far ahead (when hiking anyway).  Also, I believe Boston Terriers were bred to go after rats so there has to be some instinct there.

EC
 

Bodie

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One thing to consider before taking any old dog out hunting is whether or not a gun has ever been fired around the dog.  If the dog never has heard a gun go off right next to him you might just scare the living s**t out of him.  If you scare him, then he will probably be worthless from that point forward.  Most likely in the future everytime he sees the sight of a gun he will get scared and stressed.  

When training a dog for hunting the introduction of gunfire must be done carefully.  I usually start out with a cap gun from a distance and then work me way closer.  Eventually I will do the same thing with a variety of guns that I think I might ever fire around them.

One other thing to consider is rabbits.  If your dog decides that he wants to chase one, you might find out that your dog, which you thought was obedient, no longer has the ability or desire to hear or listen to your commands.  Sometimes an e-collar is the only thing that works to stop a dog from chasing a rabbit.  

Here's a hypothetical situation.  Say your dog takes off after a rabbit and he won't listen to you. Now you have a dog that is going to run a long distance (say one mile plus) away from you and quite possibly end up lost since it is in unfamiliar territory.  Now you are going to spend a good portion of your hunting trip trying to find your dog.  During this time you are going to do a lot of walking, a lot of sweating, and a lot of worrying whether or not you are ever going to see your dog again.  The worst part is the last thing, the worrying about every finding your dog again.  
 

Mojave

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I hunt using a mutt (small, part-retriever) to flush birds, since I lost my Brittany just before the season opened. He is somewhat useful, but only because of four reasons: 1. He is not gunshy. Didn't train him to the gun - It just doesn't bother him. 2. He will perk up or point at a rabbit, but is too lazy, or not interested enough to chase one. 3. He is "snake-smart" - jumps back at the buzzing noise, instead of poking his nose at the snake. 4. He gloms onto myself, or another hunter with me, and doesn't wander off too far. On the other hand, his bird sense isn't so great that he will retrieve a quail out of the bush; When dove hunting, he just lies down by me; He sometimes jumps the birds behind me, or out a little too far. If you want to, give your dog a chance to get out with you - just don't blame him for not hunting like a trained champion bird dog!
 

Hogskin

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Good points given.  I have a female lab that I take bird hunting with me, although she's completely useless (as a bird dog).  She's a good friend, though, and I like having her with me.  

Regards,
Paul
 

Thonzberry

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East Coast,
I've got a 6 yr. old chocolate Lab (male) he's a good dog. I took some time before he got the hang of hunting, he acted like a teen ager, everthing I tought him, he acted like he forgot everything, then it kinda clicked. one thing is for sure if don't take your dog hunting or just a couple of times a year your chances of having a hunting dog are slim, you will end up with a house pet.
Just a thought if anyone has a female lab and would like to breed her drop me a email and we can talk I'd do it for a new pup no cost involved. Good Luck

(Edited by Thonzberry at 7:45 pm on Dec. 3, 2001)
 

Bill W

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Since I was talking of my "hunting samoyed" I thought I'd post a couple of pics as proof:





Thats a limit of quail piled up on the ground.  One of many that dog helped get. I had to put "Polo" down about six months ago at 14 years of age (sniff, sniff).  He was about eight in those pics.  I've got one poining lab  now (yellow female) with another yellow female pup pointing lab I'm due to get in six weeks.  There's no question that with proper training the real hunting breeds display a level of performance that is in a different universe from a non-hunting breed, but if all you got is all you got, then it may be worth giving it a try.  It worked o.k. for me.  

Bill

P.S. That is the Cuyama area (North of Ventura) we are hunting.


(Edited by Bill W at 8:07 pm on Dec. 3, 2001)
 

Qbn Hunter

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Bill,
Was it tough to teach your lab to point? Did you get your pup from pointing lab stock?
 

Bill W

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I don't think you can really "teach" a dog to point.  You can teach a dog to stop and stand there when it gets close to a gamebird, but that doesn't look anything like a real point.  A dog either points or it doesn't IMO.

I got my current dog as well as the one that's supposed to be whelped this week from pointing lab stock (Current dog comes from Brocks Golden Nugget x Slocum Trails Pepper.  The one I'm waiting n will be from the Brock's Golden Nugget x Mellow Yellow breeding).  The breeder is Hunter's Point Kennels in Indiana and I have nothing but good things to say about them although there are other quality pointing lab breeders.  They and a number of other breeders have been selecting and breeding labs that point instinctively for a number of years now.  The American Pointing Labrador Association have developed a feild trials regimine to identify and title dogs that point with varying degrees of mastery.

My lab is a 18 month yellow female. From the first day we had her she would instinctively point anything that was thrown and came to a stop before she got to it.  For example, if you threw a tennis ball and she chased it, if it stopped before she got to it she would lock up solid. (All four paws on the ground, tail sticking straight out behind her, and head extended forward, and her whole body quivering just a bit.) She'd stay that way for maybe two or three seconds and then she'd pounce on it.  I obiedience trained her and worked on the "whoa" command with her and she got relatively steady (although not rock solid).  She is an extremely driven dog with a nse every bit as good as my uncle's drathar and had hunted and retreived many dove, quail, wild pheasant, ducks and geese by the time she was eight months old.  Her hunting and retreiving drive is almost too strong if there is such a thing.

I personally had her very well trained on hand signals, whistle commands and basic blind retrieves by the time she was fourteen months old. Unfortunately, she was hit by a car four months ago and lost her left hind leg. Her right hind leg also suffered significant ligament damage requiring thjat sythetic ligaments be implated.  She is a loved family pet and my little girl's playmate so I spent a bunch of money and was able to save her.  She has recuperated well but I think her days of quail,  wild pheasant, or chukar hunting are probably behind her.  I think she'll be fine in a duck blind or on pen raised pheasant, but that's about it. I have relatives up north with lots of prime waterfowl and pheasant land so I ordered another pointing lab to train and hunt with so I can take advantage of that access.

Lots of dog breeds point, but it takes a labrador to be a a lab.  I've always loved labs.  

Bill

(Edited by Bill W at 4:14 pm on Dec. 4, 2001)
 

Brian S

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I have a beagle and took him out after jack rabbits last year for the first time. He ran like hell after the first  2 but I wacked them before he got to them. THe next one bolted at about 30 yards the dog again took off  but I got the feeling after the first couple times hollaring at him he wasn't coming back. Thinking of what the kids would say about me losing their dog I lobbed a load of 8 shot rain in his direction damned if he didn't turn right around and come back to me. I don't recomend this training method shock collars are probably more effective.
Brian
 

Bodie

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Brian S,

I had a Beagle up until about two months ago.  I got her as a puppy and she was almost four years old.  Everything about her was incredible, except for the extreme wander lust factor.  

I live in the country and there are jackrabbits everywhere.  If I had the e-collar on her while out in the fields I could manage not to loose her most of the time.  However, she became an escape artist due to her high desire to want to go out and hunt/chase rabbits.  On several occasions, over the last four years, I have lost her or she has gotten out, however, eventually I was always able to find her or she would come home.  Unfortunately, she got out while we were gone about two months ago and she never turned up.  Spent a lot of time searching, posting flyers and going to the animal shelter, but we never found her.  It was and still is very heart breaking.  I spent more time with that dog then anyone else in the last four years.

Not sure if I would ever own a Beagle or hound breed again.  They make incredible companions, however, the wander lust thing makes it difficult and stressful at times.  It is tough when every time you let the dog out you have to be worried about it taking off.  No matter how much training you do, their desire to wander overrides it.
 

Brian S

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Bodie, did your dog tend to reek between baths. I can wash my dog and 3 days later it stinks and his dog house stinks. I have had other dogs who I wouldn't have to bathe more than twice a year and still wouldn't stink like this guy does after a few days. Any tips?
Brian
 

Bodie

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Brian S,

Only had a problem with my Beagle smelling bad a couple of times.  Once I figured out what was causing it, I used corrective measures to prevent it from happening again.

The problem was impacted anal glands.  Usually, when your dog is seen by a vet (which is rarely) he will drain the anal glands (a simple, quick process).  What can happen is, if your dog produces a high amount of fluids it can cause the anal glands to build up to the point were they start to slowly drain.  When this happens it STINKS.  I am fortunate to have a fiance who is a fourth year veterinary student at UC Davis and she would drain our Beagle's anal glands on a regular basis to prevent them from becoming impacted.

Another possibility is a skin condition called seborrhea.  They are two forms of this, one when the skin and coat is dry and flaky and the other when the skin and coat is overly oily.  I know a dog with the oily form of seborrhea.  It causes him to stink.  If you bath him with normal dog shampoo it helps a little, but not for long (like a day).  What you need to do is use a shampoo meant to combat seborrhea.  After you use this shampoo twice a week for one or two weeks and then as needed in the future (anywhere from one week to one month) it works wonders.  The shampoo is a little harsh on the coat, as the dog will shed more then usually after an application.  However, the results are great and the cost of the shampoo is cheap.

To find out if your dog has either impacted anal glands or seborrhea I would suggest contacting your vet.  Seborrhea can only be diagnosed through the taking of a skin biopsy, which is a little pricey.
 

Brian S

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He does have a skin problem, I thought it was because he would bed down on dirt. I have heard about the anal gland problem and I saw him dragging his rear in the grass last week. I think I will check him in to the vet. I don't want any part of having to ream his rear.Thanks
Brian
 


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