I Wanna Learn About HUNTING DOGS!


Honored Member
Staff member
That's right, hunting dogs. All hunting-related sports. This is something I've always kind of had an interest in, and I've had a lot of people coming to me with questions lately about this kind of training. Unfortunately, correction-based training is still the most widely-accepted form of training a hunting dog today. Slowly, people are dabbling in positive training with hunting dogs, but it's not all that popular.

FIRST OF ALL, please no bashing on hunting. I HATE the act of hunting just to mount something on the wall, I hate poachers, and things of that nature just as much as the next person. BUT, hunting is fine with me AS LONG AS the hunter is using as much of the animal as possible--hide, bones, meat, etc, not just a wall decoration. MOST hunters do practice this type of hunting, just as people did years ago because you hunted to live. Without hunting today, animals of all kinds would be sooo dangerously overpopulated, which would lead to not only problems with people, but starvation among the animals because the world literally wouldn't be able to support them.

ANYWAY...hunters have a wide variety of different uses for dogs:
-Retrieving waterfowl
-Tracking animals
-Blood trailing(most widely used by bowhunters to follow the trail of an animal)
-Dock Diving
And many others. Blood trailing is quickly gaining popularity, and I must say it's amazing to watch a blood trail dog at work. I recently read an article in an archery magazine about a very well-known man with several Bloodhounds. These dogs are made for blood trailing, and that nose of theirs can follow a trail over a week old. Their owner/trainer gets paid $2300+ to travel to hunters to help them find their animal. His training with his dogs is 100% positive, and they so far have a perfect record.
As a hunter, I have no interest in waterfowl, but would still like to know how to train retrievers positively.

So what am I looking for?
-What is expected from a retriever/tracker/dock diver/[insert other job here]?
-Is a soft-mouth something that comes naturally to the breed(I've never owned hunting breeds), or is there a certain amount of training involved?
-As for tracking, will most dogs follow a trail until they reach the intended object, or do some get bored quickly and move on?
-Stuffed bird decoys for retriever training--would creating a "controllable obsession"(oxymoron, I know) be a good way to go about this, so that the dog is REALLY pumped to retrieve the fowl?
-Retrieving--I would think that starting on land would be the best way to go about this. Is water retrieving harder, easier, or really about the same?
-Whistles, hand signals, or simply having a dog with great "bird sense?" Or all of the three?
-Does water retrieving have anything to do with scent, or is it all/mainly sight--the dog seeing the bird fall and going after it?

SAR people, FEEL FREE to post any tips on tracking/teaching a dog to track. I'm welcome to ANYTHING anyone can give me on this subject. Except hog hunting. Don't care for hog hunting....I think that's a cruel practice for both dog and hog. So don't care for anything on that. Anyway...I'd like to see the hunting world become more positive with dog training, and less correction based.

I'd like to be well-rounded as a dog trainer, and learn about more aspects of training...not just the obedience and sports, but the service training, the hunting, the JOB-type training. It'd be nice to be able to give people tips on subjects like these when I get these questions from fellow hunters or people I happen to run across.
Hoping I'm not going to get attacked for this post. :dogph34r: