How to Train Dogs to Find Sheds

The popular off-season pastime is quickly becoming a sport itself. Help cure antler illness by sharing your shed hunting tactics.
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Ben Sobieck
 
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How to Train Dogs to Find Sheds

Postby Ben Sobieck » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:55 pm

Last season, forum member SHKYBoonie posted this advice for training dogs to find sheds in the winter:

"I didn't really read very much on how to train him to do this. I kinda came up with my own method. I started out playing fetch with an antler with him. After he got to where he really liked fetching the antlers I started hiding them around the yard. Because he was always looking for me to throw something I took a small deer antler and put a lanyard on it. I would pretend to throw the antler i had in my hand which would send him on a grid search. He would find all the hidden antlers I put out and I never hid them in the same place twice.

"Now I take him to the woods in a spot I want to check for sheds. Then I heel and set him to get him focused and I pretend to throw the antler I have the lanyard attached to. He will search every inch of that section of woods to find one to bring back to me. After he has searched for a while and come up with nothing, I have another antler in my pack that I will stash while he is out looking. I do this so he will at least feel like he found something every time he looks for it. It works! He found a matching set last year that scored 142" without the spread added in.

"Maybe after a while I will not need to fool him to get him to search for them. He seems to enjoy doing it, it may be because I get so excited every time I see him coming through the woods carrying one in his mouth."

What is your advice for training dogs to find sheds?

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jbfxstdi
 
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:05 am

RE: How to Train Dogs to Find Sheds

Postby jbfxstdi » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:23 am

Ben,
Have a Rhodesian Ridgeback (sight and scent hounds originally bred to hunt lions in Africa) that is 16 months old.  Never trained her to find sheds, but always encouraged her when she came cross deer scent and wanted to track it.  Took her out snowshoeing yesterday, she got on a set of tracks and I just kept telling her to "find it".  We followed those tracks for probably close to a half mile and she brought me right to the matched set below, both buried in the snow (we got about 2 feet at the beginning of the week).  I live in Massachusetts in an area with a lot of hunting pressure...these sheds are enormous compared to what is generally harvested from the area. 

Not sure if it was dumb luck or what, but I certainly intend on trying to train her.  Started hiding these in the yard this morning and she definitely understands she's suppose to find them, but needs some help when I throw them.  She may just need to hone the nose a little bit.

I'll let you know if I'm successful.


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afifa50
 
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Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:57 am

Re: How to Train Dogs to Find Sheds

Postby afifa50 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:00 pm

Thanks for share this nice post. I am really appreciate it.

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Scott123
 
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:44 am
Location: Fort Valley, GA

Re: How to Train Dogs to Find Sheds

Postby Scott123 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:02 am

Over the past few years I’ve really gotten into shed hunting, as many other whitetail hunters have as well. And over this course of time I’ve also heard more and more about people using dogs to help them find fallen antlers. I was intrigued. I’d wanted a hunting dog for some time, but never been a really hardcore bird or waterfowl hunter. Getting a dog to help me find sheds seemed like a much better fit, as I’d be out shed hunting for a couple months every year any ways. So my search began. And in May of 2011, as many of you probably saw, I welcomed an 8 week old black lab puppy into my family! I now had a shed dog.

That all being said, I know there are many folks out there today looking into this very same idea. How can I train a dog to help me find sheds? Now that I’ve had my dog for almost a year and I’ve gone through this training process, I’d like to share with you how I’ve trained my dog so far. I based my training regimen off of a number of different articles/books I’ve read and tips I’ve been given by professionals such as Roger Sigler of AntlerDogs.com.


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