Dogs are always the perfect companions for sports hunting. They make the experience more enjoyable and exciting. While not all breeds of dogs serve as good hunting partners, choosing a breed suited for hunting is better. Border Terrier training depends on the type of game, there are several types of hunting dog games to choose from.
Beagles are the best rabbit-hunting dogs. They possess the best noses for picking scents combined with their speed and agility. Like most dogs, the best time to teach them to hunt is when they are still puppies.
In this article, we take you through step-by-step information on training dogs for hunting.
Border Terrier Training For Hunting
Part 1: Training Your Dog To Track
Start with basic obedience training, as this will make a lot of difference besides enhancing a great opportunity for bonding. Let your dog learn commands such as sit’ and stay’ long before introducing rabbit hunting lessons. One of the most important commands is recalled’, your dog should obey your orders when you call him back to you. This trait will help to counter the predatory tendency of your dog and prevent him from harming the tamed rabbits used in the training session.
Begin The Training When The Puppy Is About 4-6 Weeks Old
The perfect starting point for teaching your dog hunting tricks is at their young stage of about 4-6 weeks. At this age, you can start off by letting your puppy start smelling things such as dog food, biscuits, or any other scented objects. This activity will help your dog develop the ability to both search and find objects based on their scent. It is important to note that puppies at this age have a short attention span, and it is best to keep training sessions between 10-15 minutes. This should be repeated twice or thrice a day.
Scatter Pieces Of Treat Through The Yard
Once the puppy has developed a real interest in these things, it’s time to let them search and find these treats. You can toss little pieces of these treats on the ground and let your dog sniff around and find them. After a couple of training sessions, you will notice your puppy searching, snorting, and wagging its tail once it has found the treat. Make this task a little bit harder by scattering food across the yard and letting your puppy find it. This activity conditions your puppy to learn how to track a scent. This level of training lasts several weeks.
Introduce Tracking Lessons
Once the puppy is okay with finding objects based on scent, it’s now time to introduce some tracking experiences. Tie a hot dog on a piece of string and drag it along the ground. You can leave some parts along the trail at certain intervals of about every 3 feet. This will serve as a treat and encourage your puppy to follow the scented trail.
As the puppy learns and perfects his tracking ability, you can increase the distance of the trail as well as the location of the treats. With consistent training, you will be amazed by how your puppy gets to learn to follow track-scented trails with a lot of accuracy. Finally, it’s time to introduce a rabbit’s scent and only offer him a reward and praise once it’s done following the entire trail.
Part 2: Introducing Tame Rabbits
When your puppy is at the age of about 12-16 weeks, it’s time to start teasing him with live rabbits. A tamed rabbit is more appropriate because they are heavier and a bit slower than wild rabbits. They also tend to leave behind a heavier scent. Start training your puppy in a starting pen, this is an enclosure made outdoors with rabbit-proof fencing. The enclosure can cover an area of an acre to 5 acres.
Run The Puppy
First, let the rabbit sniff the tamed rabbit while you hold it by the scruff. This will excite your puppy and let him want to chase it. Now place your dog on a leash and have him tied to a pole and let your puppy watch you chase the tamed rabbit around the yard. This will cause him to be excited and want to take part in the fun too. Once it shows interest, you can now release the leash and let him go after the tame rabbit. Allow him to chase the tame rabbit around the pen for a period of 2-3 hours daily or at least once or twice a week.
Tracking The Rabbit
Once your puppy is accustomed to sight-chasing training lessons of the tamed rabbit, it is now time to introduce scent trailing. Out of sight of your puppy, let the tame rabbit run around in the yard, and finally place it in a caged enclosure at the end of the trail. Put your puppy at the beginning of the trail and let him follow the trail until he finds the rabbit.
As the puppy gets better in trailing the scent line, you can increase the length between the start and the end of the scent trail.it shouldn’t take long before the puppy masters the art of following and tracking scents.
Remove the rabbit once you see it is already tired from running or the puppy is displaying aggressive behavior towards it. Always be on the lookout to ensure that the puppy does not in any way injure the rabbit.
Part 3: Prepare The Dog For Rabbit Hunting
At this stage, move your dog to a running pen. A running pen is a larger version of a starting pen. From here, your dog can search further afield, relying more on its scent-tracking capability than seeing. You should, at times, allow him to run rabbits by himself, however, the more you accompany him, the better, as this will establish the much-needed bond between the two of you.
Let Your Puppy Run Along Older Trained Dogs
Once your puppy can track and run rabbits solo, you can let him run along older trained dogs. This will let your dog learn more advanced tracking skills from his older companion. An older bitch is the most suitable dog for training puppies.
Prepare Him for Gunfire
Incorporate gunfire training early enough to prepare your dog for loud sounds during the hunt. Finally, once he is well-started with rabbits, the training does not stop. The more you work with him as a team, the better he becomes.
Hunting At Night
The advantage of hunting animals at night is that many animals come out only in the evening after sunset. They are known to be in areas where the availability of light is limited, such as bushes, trees, holes, and other suitable areas where they can hide easily.
A compact thermal imaging camera allows you to scan a full field instantly in all types of difficult visibility because they do not need light to give you an image. Thermal cameras like the FLIR One (for smartphones) highlight warmer body temperatures against the cooler night air, so they are useful at night for observing wildlife, hunting, and other outdoor activities.