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What can I do about my deer-chasing dog?


MrSenarighi

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I have taken my 2 year old lab out twice this year grouse hunting. I have never trained her for hunting, but she does very well despite that. She's only been out twice, and the second time she flushed approx. 10 birds. The problem is she hunts everything in the woods, even deer. Once she sees one, or picks up a scent trail, she's gone. I have lost her for over an hour, and am worried she might not return one of these times. Any suggestions on what I can do to stop her from doing this?

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I have used a shock collar when traning my dogs. It works great on deer chasing only one or two shocks with it and they stop but you have to know what your doing you need a dummy collar for the dog to wear for a couple weeks then you put the real collar on in the field. never shock the dog if you dont see him, at the exact time you see him on the deer use a command stop or whoa or no and hit the button and yell come if you shock him and he keeps going give him a longer hold on the button, the shock associates with the deer and not you. Good luck Bob You might want to see a good Trainer also.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Its an obedience and or lack of training problem. A dog that without proper obedience training will result in bad habits afield.
If the dog doesn't obey in the field then you have no power to teach him.
Once it obeys and your able to call him off a deer, he'll sooner or later learn that chasing deer isn't the name of the game.
What ever you do don't go out and buy a shock collar and think this will cure the problem. Using shock collars is a whole nother subject. They're a very useful tool but used incorrectly they can ruin a dog.

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I had a teacher who used to hang a deer hide on a fence and walk by w/ the dog on a leash w/ a choker collar-everytime they'd walk by the hide and the dog turns towards it-he'd jerk the leash to condition him.
Another friend of mine took a couple front deer legs and tied them to the dog's collar for a couple weeks-the legs flopped around making running awkward and eventually the dog got so sick of smelling deerlegs that it wanted nothing to do with them afterwards. Good Luck-redhooks

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Thanks for all the advice. I just like to take my dog out whenever possible, but I would absolutley puke if something happened to her or she ran away. Off the subject, anyone had any problems with wolves and their dogs?

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This illustrates why you get out and do some training BEFORE the season starts. Not only so you can control your dog, but because there are a lot of hunters out in the woods right now, with guns, that don't approve of dogs chasing deer. Enough said.

Theres only two things that I beat my dogs for - one is going onto the road and the other is for chasing deer. Both those things will get them killed eventually (see above). The first time my male lab chased a deer, I took off my heavy leather belt and followed him, when I finally caught him (I don't believe in calling a dog to you, then disciplining them, why should they come to you next time?), I beat him until he started wimpering, yelling 'no' with every blow. Sounds harsh but its better than getting shot. The next time we jumped a deer, I yelled 'no' and he just looked at them. I praised him and off we went. He never chased deer again. My two female labs were never a problem, when I said no the first time we encountered deer, they stopped. Learn to read your dogs too. When my dogs are on birds, the tails are going a mile a minute. When they're on something else (a rabbit?), they're more on a lope. Birds/pigeons during training helps, with praise, they know that birds are the name of the game.

I've heard of old time coon hunters with deer chasing dogs throwing the dog and a deer hide into a barrel and rolling them down a hill. Supposedly that will cure them. Or else they're going to want to kill the next deer they see!!! smile.gif

Good luck.

[This message has been edited by BLACKJACK (edited 09-30-2003).]

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Blackjack- First of all, I don't have any deer lying around the house to train my dog not to chase. Secondly, a partially trained dog is no burden to you. Thirdly, I don't believe in beating my dog with a leather belt until it begs for mercy. But thanks anyway for the "insight".

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MrSenarighi,

Your dog is genetically encoded to chase deer. If you are going to bring your dog into the woods where deer live, you do have an obligation to break your dog of it's desire to chase deer. It is against the law, and, by default, unethical.

I was taught to shoot the dog first when one ran across a dog chasing a deer during deer season. I wouldn't probably do that in MN, but many would--especially local, rural people who may see dogs chasing deer and livestock regularly. Don't forget that any law enforcement officer (especially a Conservation Officer) can and will shoot a dog that is chasing deer. If the owner is tracked down, a civil penalty and fine may be issued.

If you hunt in a area populated by wolves, you should be aware of your dog's location at all times. If a wolf runs across a dog in its territory, it will try to kill it. Few domesticated breeds are any match for a wolf--a wolf's strength, speed and fighting experience are far superior.

The fact that your dog chases deer should be even more concerning, as that increases the likelihood that it will, a) be out of sight and sound and B) running the trail of a deer that a wolf might also be running.

You obviously care a lot about your dog and would be sick if anything ever happened to it. Try to correct the deer-chasing problem before you put you and your dog in a very undesirable and heartwrenching situation.

[This message has been edited by huskminn (edited 09-30-2003).]

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Senarighi,
I too have to come to the defense of BlackJack ! His points are true and valid ! He clearly states that he only raises a hand to his dogs in 2 VERY SPECIFIC circumstances(when they are endangering their lives), and he also emphasizes the correct way to punish a dog by going to the animal and not calling it as to prevent the fear of the "come" command in the future.
My dogs are like my children and I love them dearly, but it's up to me as a parent and a dog owner to insure they know how to stay out of harms way in a manner they will remember. I DO NOT raise a hand against my children ever..(they're more itelligent than my dogs (sometimes grin.gif )and there are better methods of teaching in there case) but my dogs are not humans nor do they have the intelligence to understand a good discussion surrounding poor behavior.
I DO beat my dogs if they run in the street, and they DON'T DO IT ANYMORE.........simple as that.
There's a right way and wrong way to administer discipline to dogs,,,,BackJack has suggested ONE CORRECT METHOD.

It may just help you keep your dog around for more years of hunting.....BUT, YOU need to train the dog properly if you are going to hunt with it !

[This message has been edited by Twitter (edited 09-30-2003).]

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I agree with all who said the dog should have proper training before hunting, but i heard (and havn't tried) that you can take a fresh deer hide and put it and your dog in a 55 gal. drum , close it, and roll them down a hill. I heard it works for hounds. I'm sure it depend's on how timid your dog is. You might ruin him entirely. Just a thought, anyone else heard this?

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.... "I have never trained her for hunting..."

You have identified the reason your dog chases deer. The obvious solution would be to train her.

Say what you want about a rare or occasional "beating" of a dog, but I would submit it is more cruel to let your dog be out of control and get hit by a car or shot by a disgruntled hunter, than it is to use a heavy hand occasionally to get a point across that will stick.

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MrSenarighi,
I think you might have the misconception that firmly correcting your dog via negative reinforcement is a bad thing. This is absolutely not true. I think negative reinforcement in certain circustances is a vital part of a training program.

Remember this one thing, contrary to popular belief, a dog is not out to please you, it is out to please itself. The training methods people use just make it seem like the dog is pleasing you. If the dog gets a pat and a good boy for following a command it has pleased itself as well as you. The dog is thinking of itself first. You need to channel that into behavior that suits your needs.

Running a deer is one of the joys of every hunting dog's life. Do not think for one minute that positive reinforcement will correct this problem consistently or permanently. You need to come down on this dog hard before the problem gets completely out of control. Whether the correction is via a "spanking" or with an e-collar, or some other method is your choice but it must be done, and it must have strong negative consequences for the dog. Just catching the dog and yelling "NO!!!" will not do it. There must be physical punishment of some sort. The dog must think "it hurts when I chase deer".

Example: My shorthair used to be a deer chaser too. I chose the e-collar. The dog kicked up 2 deer from a ditch and proceeded to give chase. When the dog was just a couple yards away from the deer I "reached out and touched her" with the collar with high intensity continuous stimulation until she turned off the deer. I gave no command. I said nothing. Now she thinks deer bite very hard and for a very long time.

You may never completely break the dog of this and may have to give your dog a refresher too.

If you think this is a bad thing, then think of wolves in the wild or any pack oriented animals. The dominant ones rough up the subordinates to ensure order and obedience. It's a natural thing. Sometimes this is done viciously depending on the infraction.

The bottom line is this. If you don't firmly correct your dogs behavior eventually it will break and chase. At that point your dogs safety and well being are out of your hands. Eventually something bad will happen.

Good luck,
gspman

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I understand what you are all saying, I just didn't appreciate the tact in a certain persons response. I'll get over it though. I know I need to train her better, but I take her out either where no one is, or on private land anyway. Thanks for the advice.

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If your dog is not trained what are you going to do the first time you shoot a bird that she fails to retrieve or retrieves and then munches the bird. A trained dog is a conservation tool an untrained dog is just a pain in the A$$.

Teach the dog what "Whoa" means in every situation. Teach the dog to heel. Teach the dog what fetch means. Always keep this game fun and you may not need to force fetch train.

I hate to go on a hunt with someone who is constantly having to hack on his dog. Yelling
to come back or whoa. No command should be given more than twice. After that you speak in a language that a dog understands from it's pack leader(you)and that is pain. I'm not talking a severe beating just enough to get your message across.

If you have hunting buddies who start giving you excuses for not going hunting with you look no further than an untrained dog.

Training a dog yourself is a long but rewarding process. You'll become closer to your dog and be able to read your dog better.
Field training also carries over into household manners.

TRAIN THAT DOG!

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Sidenote to training dog-
My good friends had to put their 7-month old lab down yesterday afternoon because they were outside with it the morning and it ran on the road and was hit by a car. They had to decide whether to put it down or pay upwards of $2,500 for surgery on it that would prolong its life, but the back hips and two back legs would not grow anymore- and only being 7-months it was still growing so that was not going to be a very good situation. I'm am sure that right now they are wishing that they would have maybe given "Bumper" a couple of scoldings. Not saying anybody's dog in not trained well or pointing any fingers, just saying everybody should think about how bad it would suck to be put in their situation. Its amazing how fast and how much dogs become part of the family. I know they have really heavy hearts right now.

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I agree with what most have said. I train sled dogs and I find it more productive to use positive reinforcement than negative. However, there are times when a swat is called for. For me, any growling, posturing or fighting warrants a swat. Most mushers will not tolerate fighting and a dog who bites is never welcome at a race. The main thing, I think, is to spend time training them, keep it fun and be PATIENT. Lot's of repetition.

------------------
Erik

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Good point Redlantern.....LOT'S OF REPETITION! I always try to end a training session with something simple that I know they can do, with praise.
Keep it fun for both of you.

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Now I don't know a lot about the training of labs but when I am training and a young dog starts to get distracted I simply put them up for a while. They need to learn the difference between hunting situations and a romp in the park. You have a young dog and this is going to happen from time to time but if it were my dog I would have set times and locations for training and different ones for exersize and play time. I'm sure some of the other guys in here that have labs can give you some more specific advice but like my football coach always said "you have to practice like you are going to play" good luck with the dog.

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There are times in training when you need to assert dominance over the animal. But the thing to think about is this. The dog must understand what you are asking it to do. And as redlantern said this comes with repitition, and patience. People don't always pick up on training the first time, so don't expect your dog to be any different. In my experiences I have found that if your dog knows what you want it to do, 9 times out of 10 they are going to do it, but if that 1 time out of 10 puts them in danger ie chasing deer, cars or aggresiveness, I have no problem with reasonable use of a hand or collar. Good luck with the training.

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Just a question on training. I am training a 1 1/2 lab for hunting. She is great and is already by far a better hunter than I. Yesterday while training she did not want to listen at all. I ended up just stopping and letting her play. It was kind of nice to just play but I was curious if I did the right thing. She was not even responding to the e-collar. I am not sure if it was due to the geese in the pond or something else.

We did a little training later and she was much better. Did I do the right thing or should I have been more forcefull in my corrections?

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If you have an e-collar use it, if you dont have one get one, and use it. EVERYBODY you know will appreciate it, including your dog. Once they know you can reach out and touch them you'll be surprised how often you wont have to use it. Best $ I ever spent.

[This message has been edited by Gadgetman (edited 10-05-2003).]

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Shock collar. I live on a ranch and a couple shocks have stopped my dog from eating frozen llama poop and chasing the deer my wife won't let me bowhunt because they have become pets over the last few years. @#[email protected] Anyways, she was still good at chasing that duck hunter off my dock that was taking a dump! Gave her a treat for that one!!

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