Shed hunting dog

Discussion about shed antlers, etc
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Black Squirrel
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Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:10 am

I promised my son a dog when he turns 12. I still have 11 months to decide what breed to get. I would like to train it to find sheds. Anybody have any suggestions on a breed. It will also be a family pet, that will share the house with us. My wife wants a dog that sheds VERY little. A coworker of my wife suggested a french Brittnay. They have one, it sheds very little, and it's a good bird dog. I wouldn't be using it for bird hunting as I don't hunt them. It's a pointer, and I'm not sure a pointer would make a good shed dog. I would like the dog to find them and retrieve them to hand. I fear a pointer may just point the shed, and not retrieve it. Any thoughts?


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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby PredatorTC » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:20 am

I dont know much about dogs but i have heard that bassets and beagle hounds are great for this. Not sure if you wanna hound though
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:31 am

PredatorTC wrote:I dont know much about dogs but i have heard that bassets and beagle hounds are great for this. Not sure if you wanna hound though

Thanks Predator, but yeah, not sure I want a hound.
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Slider1005 » Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:19 am

I know labs can be real good shed hunting dogs. They shed alot though, so your wife may not be to happy.
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:57 am

Slider, my son really wants a lab, and I think they would do well. But yeah, my wife doesn't want one, because they do shed a lot. I never thought I would get a Labordoodle, but that is an option now. It's a cross between a standard poodle and a lab. Supposedly the shed very little, and they seem to be a good house pet. Any kind of dog with poodle in it, just isn't to manly. :)
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby PredatorTC » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:08 pm

I know your not asking for tips, but this might be interesting to take a look at or buy a DVD
http://www.antlerdogs.com/default.aspx? ... eSupport=1
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby PLB » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:36 pm

I would get a Lab for shed hunting ;) My parents have a labradoodle and you're right it don't shed and makes a great house dog, but she's the dumbest dog I ever seen! :lol: I would get a purebred lab! Just my .02 :D
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:43 am

Predator, I'm always looking for tips (help), thanks. PLB, thanks for the heads up on the Labrodoodle, the few websites I have visited said they were very inteligent, though. :? Do you know where they got it from?
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Swampthing » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:38 am

My friend is in the process of training her choclate lab for shed hunting .I,ll let u know how it goes. To pay for the training is,nt cheap I know that.
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Pike » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:45 am

BS. I adopted a Lab pup on Feb. 1st to train to be an antler dog. I just made a post of about training him and his first shed season in the scouting forum if you want to check it out. Here is the link.
http://huntingbeast.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=963

As far as dogs, I prefer to adopt mine so I wasnt very picky of breed/mix breed, I did prefer Labs, GSP's and Beagles.
Poodle Pointers make very good antler dogs aswell (some claim they are the best breed for antler dogs)and so do Bassett's, I just didnt want either breed.
And ofcourse I ended up adopting a 10 week old lab from a rescue named Mojo. Pike
Last edited by Pike on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Pike » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:54 am

PredatorTC wrote:I know your not asking for tips, but this might be interesting to take a look at or buy a DVD
http://www.antlerdogs.com/default.aspx? ... eSupport=1


Since Mojo is the first dog I have trained to be an antler dog I ordered the DVD and watched it 2 weeks ago to see if there was any pointers I could pick up or learn about steps in the training process that I might be leaving out. I was very disapointed with it. It was very informative when it came to teaching your dog obedience etc., (about 90% of the content in the DVD) for example teaching your dog to sit prior to letting it out of its cage, teaching it to walk properly on a leash and also to fetch a rubber ball with a peice of antler in it and then bring it back to you. But I was looking for pointers on how to train my pup to hunt antlers, and it was very vague when it came to that, basicly showed the finshed product searching for sheds that were placed in a cut corn field as the trainer led the dogs in the direction of the antlers, there was no mention of what steps he took to teach his dogs how to find them etc. Pike
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:18 am

Pike wrote:
PredatorTC wrote:I know your not asking for tips, but this might be interesting to take a look at or buy a DVD
http://www.antlerdogs.com/default.aspx? ... eSupport=1


Since Mojo is the first dog I have trained to be an antler dog I ordered the DVD and watched it 2 weeks ago to see if there was any pointers I could pick up or learn about steps in the training process that I might be leaving out. I was very disapointed with it. It was very informative when it came to teaching your dog obedience etc., (about 90% of the content in the DVD) for example teaching your dog to sit prior to letting it out of its cage, teaching it to walk properly on a leash and also to fetch a rubber ball with a peice of antler in it and then bring it back to you. But I was looking for pointers on how to train my pup to hunt antlers, and it was very vague when it came to that, basicly showed the finshed product searching for sheds that were placed in a cut corn field as the trainer led the dogs in the direction of the antlers, there was no mention of what steps he took to teach his dogs how to find them etc. Pike
Thanks, Pike, good to know, although I could use a video on basic obience traing as well, It would be nice if it went into more detail on the shed huntng part of training.
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Pike » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:10 am

BS, I will loan you mine for as long as you want. Its not worth the $35.00 (with shipping) just PM. me your address.
But dont get me wrong, Roger Sigler knows his stuff!! I think he would rather have you send your dog to him to be trained and pay big $$$ than to buy his DVD, or buy his DVD an then still need to send your dog to him. Pike
Last edited by Pike on Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Pike » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:15 am

BS. Here is a thread I made on a another site after a few guys asked me for advice on how to train their pup/dog.
Let me know about the DVD. I will mail it right out to ya. Pike


Over the last few months, prior to adopting my pup Mojo I researched this very same topic on the net, hunting mags etc. and even though I found numerous articles they were very vague and not very informative on how to actually train an antler dog. All the experts seemed to contradict each other and seemed to make it look more difficult that it really is.
So I just decided to train Mojo just like any other hunting dog that I have trained over the years.
Here is what I did and still currently doing.

Feb. 1st, I adopted Mojo from a rescue when he was 10 weeks old after spending an hour so with him to make sure (as much as you can with a pup) that he would make a good hunting dog.
When I got him home the first thing I did was give him his only toy/chew toy etc. he will ever have, a deer antler. (I don't worry about my human or other scent on the antlers that I consider his toys)

Feb 2nd I started doing two 15-20 minute training sessions per day and still do. (many of those take place after dark)
First it was just playing tug of war and fetch in the house and outside in order to get Mojo as attached to the antlers as possible. Every time I tossed the antler I told Mojo to find the bone!!
I also took some antlers and washed them off very good and then put them out side on the picnic table to get any human scent off them and then stored them in a tupper ware container.

Feb. 11th I started placing these sheds wearing plastic gloves (never use latex) in the yard in plain sight ( in my opinion at this point playing fetch were Mojo could see where the antler landed and not have to locate it, was useless) I would again tell Mojo to find the bone!! And purposely walked Mojo right past them, when we got to each one I made a huge deal about it even if he didn't pay any attention to it. Said gooood boooy and gave him hugs etc, then picked the antler up (wearing gloves) put it in a garbage bag and then put the antler in my back pack, then I gave Mojo a treat
( treats caused me problems later on with his training) but since he learned to be house broken using treats I thought it was good idea at the time.
I did this same process over and over, twice a day every day (repetition is the key)
Once Mojo was at the point where he was stopping and picking up the antler or laying down with the antler and chewing on each one etc. I moved on to the next phase in his training. ( but I was going nuts because it was mid Feb. and we had over 15 inches of snow on the ground and I really wanted to be using fresh sheds by this point, but because of the snow shed hunting was useless.) I then started placing antlers in plain site in the yard and then told him to find the bone!! And just let Mojo wonder across them on his own by accident with out me walking him past or leading him in the right direction etc. Again repetition is the key!! After a week or so of this it seemed like some thing inside his cute little head just clicked and he realized that the reason we were in the yard was to find deer antlers (or to him, new and exciting play toys) then when I told him to find the bone he started looking for them on his own.
(it was that simple)
I then started hiding some of the sheds in harder to find places as well as some still out in the open, I then would let him out of the house and tell him to find the bone, over and over and again for 15-20 minutes twice a day and every time he found one I repeated the same process. After a few days he was getting very good at this, (too good at it) I started getting suspicious that even though I was wearing knee high rubber boots that he wasn't picking up the scent of the shed and figured out to just follow my scent right to the antler. So I started
throwing the antlers from the front of my house (came inches away from breaking one of my windows when the shed slipped out of my hand one time) over the roof and into my back and side yards so he couldn't follow my trail, and because of the deep snow they were hidden very well because they sank down in it. But this didn't slow Mojo down at all, he was finding the antlers just as fast, even though he couldn't see were they landed or hear them hit the ground because of the deep snow. Doing this also (by accident) taught Mojo to bring the antler back to me because I started staying in the front yard while Mojo went off to the back and side yards to find the bone(see pics below)
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I continued to throw the antlers over the roof twice a day for 15-20 minutes per session until finally I decided that the snow had melted enough to take Mojo out for his first shed hunt on Sunday Feb. 28th. I didn't expect much out of him, I just wanted him to start getting use to the woods, briar's, dead falls, thickets etc. and the distractions like deer poop he was going to encounter in the near future. We arrived at 1:50 PM. and started walking up the steep hill and into a large cedar thicket, there was a lot more snow than I thought there would be, varying between 6-12 inches with some bare spots under the cedars. We immediately got into deer trails and deer droppings and we started following one of the well used trails. Not even 150 yards from the truck I look at a bare spot about 18 yards to my left and I see a nice shed laying there, then I look 4-5 feet from it and I see another smaller shed laying on the ground. I decided to stay put and let Mojo work the area until he finds them (even if it takes 3 hours) I then tell Mojo to find the bone as he is sniffing every deer track etc. and after 10 minutes or so he finds the larger shed ( a real nice 6-pt shed) he seemed as shocked as I was to find it laying there and just stood there for a minute, then he laid down and started chewing it and I told him to bring me the bone, which he did, I put on a plastic glove and took it and placed it in my back pack, then gave him a huge hug and a treat. After a couple minutes I was able to coax him to forget about the shed we found and he started to search again in the area of the first shed, after another minute or so he discovered the 2nd shed ( a 2-pt shed) and stood there like he was puzzled again, I then said bring me the bone, he picked it up and took off running with it this time instead of bringing it to me so I had to catch him to get it away from him and gave him another hug and another treat as he tried to get in my back pack laying on the ground. I was able to finally get him going back to searching but we didn't find any more sheds, just way too much snow and by 3:30 PM. he was plum tuckered out. Below are pics of our awesome afternoon.
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Since that first shed hunt, Mojo and I have been out shed hunting 5 days so far (and still do our training sessions every day we don't get out shed hunting) and ended up finding 24 sheds in all, 23 of which I saw first and once I saw them stayed put until Mojo found the bone on his own. But last Saturday (March 13) during our first shed hunt in OH., Mojo found and brought to me his first un-assisted shed ever (with out me seeing it prior to him) while I had stopped to get a drink. It took me a few minutes to realize what just happened and was in shock for a while! Here is a pic. of Mojo's first shed.
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Mojo's is at the point now that if you put a shed in a couple acre field etc., hide it in the wheel well of a truck, hang it off a fence post or in the camps fire wood pile he will find it with in 2 minutes after you tell him to find the bone.
I hope this very long post helps any one thinking about training their dog to hunt antlers since there is so little info on the subject out there. But just remember that like people, (kids more like it) dogs are all different and have different personalities and just because the methods I used to successfully train Mojo doesn't mean that if I got another pup today and trained it the exact same way for the next month and a half that the new pup might just end up running around the woods aimlessly eating deer poop and require to be trained using completely different methods.
Also never try to base when its time to move your dog onto the next more advanced stage by a time schedule etc., once again dogs are like people, and some dogs will pick a certain thing up faster than another dog and vice verca. Let your dog let you know when its time to move on to the next level or stage. Pike
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Re: Shed hunting dog

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:32 pm

Pike, PM sent. Looks like you have done a great job with Mojo. Great story and pics. I can only hope mine turns out as good as yours. I won't be getting the pup until next year after my son gets out of school for the summer.


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