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Thread: Teaching a dog to use its nose?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Brettttka's Avatar
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    Default Teaching a dog to use its nose?

    My 2yo YLM is doing great this year during duck season but he has some trouble searching for cripples/left birds. If he marks them no problem and if I mark them no problem but have 2-3 go down and not getting an exact mark on it or if is not dead is what I am running into. Can walk him out to area but he doesn't seem to search for it. Can literally walk him on top of bird until he sees it won't even know its there. Any help on getting him to hunt em up.
    Lone Oak's Marley Man.. (My first)

  2. #2
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    I'm no expert or pro, but I'm also going through the same training with a new hunting dog - also a 2YO YLM.

    Here's what I've been doing, and it's definitely helping:

    I've been practicing/training after my actual hunts by placing dead birds in brush (away from my dog), and then bringing the dog over to work the areas. I get him in the general vicinity (but at little distance) and say "Dead - hunt." The first couple of times, he just kind of jumped around and looked confused, but after discovering a duck or two and getting significant praise, he began to put it together.

    He's still learning how to use his nose more efficiently (with the wind, etc.), but after just a few hunts, he's 200% better. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    I use the command find it. You can do what Selous said or what we do with puppies is hide their food somewhere in the yard and then walk them out on lead. When they start to get a snout full of the smell we drop the lead and give the command you want them to associate with using their nose. Fun game that gets them using their nose quick.

  4. #4
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    I took mine to a game farm and bought a bunch of pheasants and chukars. Encouraged her to "hunt'em up." Helped a bunch on the hunt for a cripple in the duck marsh. I had 3 different outings with 5 birds each trip.

  5. #5

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    i've been throwing bumpers into thick cover since we started training and I think that helps teach them to hunt for birds. It almost forces them too in order to retrieve the bird/bumper.

    Also a couple upland flushes will encourage more nose hunting. after my dog put up a few pheasants and figured out what we were doing, he hunted much better with his nose down.

  6. #6
    Senior Member chesaka's Avatar
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    you can teach the dog to trail by dragging a dead duck and then dropping some feathers at the start of the drag and telling the dog to find it. initially you might have to walk a short distance on the trail until the dog gets the idea but they soon enough learn to use their noses and they think it is really fun. keep drag short at first, maybe 40 yards, with one gradual corner.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Pas Bon's Avatar
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    Keep a bunch of duck feathers from ducks you kill along with some tennis balls in a large ziplock type bag. Let them sit together fr a while so the tennis balls retain the duck feather smell. Then start throwing those balls (marks) into thick cover. He should naturally know what to do then.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BJGatley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpolley View Post
    I took mine to a game farm and bought a bunch of pheasants and chukars. Encouraged her to "hunt'em up." Helped a bunch on the hunt for a cripple in the duck marsh. I had 3 different outings with 5 birds each trip.
    Got my vote.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Brettttka's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips the upland idea is good but not real possible in southeast MO. Have ducks in freezer and will start using some in thick cover to see if that helps. Keep the ideas coming. This is his first season and WE are having a blast but would be nice to get him to hunt up some of the cripples!
    Lone Oak's Marley Man.. (My first)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rick S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chesaka View Post
    you can teach the dog to trail by dragging a dead duck and then dropping some feathers at the start of the drag and telling the dog to find it. initially you might have to walk a short distance on the trail until the dog gets the idea but they soon enough learn to use their noses and they think it is really fun. keep drag short at first, maybe 40 yards, with one gradual corner.
    This worked wonders for me. I'd start dragging it around the house and just let him out to pick up on it on his own.

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