Despite many proclamations from my trusted shed hunting friends that it’s still too early, Willie and I have started our shed hunting season. I have to grudgingly admit that it probably is too early because we have not been successful. However - I have a ton of winter fat to work off, and need to get back in shape for those day long hikes when the antlers really start dropping.
I have high hopes that Willie is going pan out as a shed dog. While there are specific training programs and products out there for training your dog to shed hunt, I took a simple approach with Mr. Blockhead.
First I only give him antlers and bones for “chew toys”, and I introduced him the term “bones” which equals antler just as I did with other items that I’ve taught him to fetch and retrieve for me. (Beer cans were a fiasco.. he likes beer too much and gleefully poked a hole in every single can!) Then after he knew what I meant when I said “Find the bones Willie” I started hiding antlers in increasingly difficult spots to test his nose. Has worked great in training, but he hasn’t found an antler out in the field yet. Neither have I this year.
What he has found is a multitude of duck, goose, rabbit, mouse, vole, and all varieties of other bones. At this juncture any bone is a good bone, and I praise him just as much for those bones as I do for an antler. Probably not what the professionals would suggest for training, but it’s working okay for us so far.
I’ll keep you posted on how we do, but here’s a few photos of the little devil scouring the strip pits -
bones..bones..bones.. I’m lookin’ for bones..
Hey! I smell bones.. really..right here!
I’m on it! There is definitely a bone in here!
I never said it was a BIG bone…..
Hey! I’m a water dog and there just might be something this ditch
No bones in that hole but maybe over the next hill….