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Hi guys. I have been working with my dog Dusty since he was a pup to hunt rabbits. He is 6 now and I was wondering if there are any tips y'all could help me with to get him to stay on target in the tall sage brush. He is super fast and agile I've clocked him at 42mph and he can jump 5-6 feet into the air. When a rabbit is in sight he is great at keeping up and sticking right with it but, when a rabbit is just out of his line of sight he loses it and the rabbit will dart off in a new direction. He is able to sniff em out sometimes, just not all the time. I was thinking maybe there's a way to train him to hop to look over the bushes to get a better "birds eye view" and keep on track rather than losing the rabbit then spending 15 minutes to catch the scent. Any tips or help would be greatly appreciated! Sincerely- Colton, Nevada.
 

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I. Don't think you really understand how rabbit hunting works. The dog isn't supposed to catch the rabbit. The dog flushes and chases the rabbit, you follow the dog and shoot the rabbit. It's also usually done by scent hounds/scent tracking, not watching.

**ETA** Sorry, I know how to read, I swear.

I'd work with scent games, with him. He may just not naturally have the nose to be able to pick it up fast, but as someone who grew up with rabbit hunting beagles (a whole pack of them) taking some time, when they lose the trail, is normal. Fifteen minutes, not so much, but it DOES take a little bit. He might also just plain not have the nose for it. Try some scent games with it, like with the bottled rabbit urine you can get, and take it from there. When he finds the source of the scent, reward the heck out of him. Use increasing levels of difficulty in hiding/trailing to the item. That's about all I've got.
 

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Well ive worked with him using scents etc. hes good about checking holes and rocks and pretty good at flushing them out for a shot but i figure if he has a chance to be trainable to catch em in flight like coyotes or dingos do in the wild it would be nice cuz sometimes you just cant take the shot without endangering the dog. I figure it would open more opportunities to get them rabbits ya know? Thank you
 

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Well ive worked with him using scents etc. hes good about checking holes and rocks and pretty good at flushing them out for a shot but i figure if he has a chance to be trainable to catch em in flight like coyotes or dingos do in the wild it would be nice cuz sometimes you just cant take the shot without endangering the dog. I figure it would open more opportunities to get them rabbits ya know? Thank you
Well then you would have less shooting were it possible to teach the "catch the rabbit" routine. If you want meat go to the butcher shop (Wally World) but for sport and fun keep on doing what you're doing just don't shoot the dog.
 

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I'd forget about training a dog to "look" for a rabbit, it won't happen. Only way he could learn it is via self reinforced behaviour, for example some dogs learn when to stop chasing and visually scan the field when they lose the scent - behaviour is self reinforced because it leads to dog catching the rabbit. If a hunter wants to improve his puppy he goes with another much more experienced dog and puppy will quickly learn from that dog (not sure if there's a word for it in english but I talk about those dogs that chase & kill, not just chase). Oh and when I say hunter I mean a farmer who feels like having a rabbit for dinner :p. With that said, what wvasko said is also perfectly in line with my opinion, you're best off just hunting like you did so far just don't shoot the dog.
 
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