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DogBone Articles and Tips- Learn From the Best! By Jeremy Moore

  • The Importance of First Impressions- Shed Dog Training

    In this month’s ESD blog, I thought I would talk about an important part of any retriever training, the importance of the first impression.  Whether it be with hopes of ultimately turning out a great gundog, upland dog, shed dog or any other working retriever, the importance of good first impression is crucial. The thing about this is that when we introduce our pups to anything and everything in the training process, we need to remember as handlers that it is our responsibility to ensure that we “tee it up” for our pups to make sure that we begin with the end in mind.  When I say that, I mean that there are going to be things that we encounter with our pup in the training process that are going to be “firsts” for that young dog.  Some of these things will be as simple as riding on a 4-wheeler or ATV/UTV, swimming for the first time, feathers and or live birds, gunfire, etc.

    Dog Bone picture

    For our shed dogs, the actual antler is going to be one that is critical!  More specifically, it is going to be critical to introduce the antler when our pups are 100% confident that the shape, the scent and the feel of a hard horn in their mouths are a GOOD thing.  If we, as handlers, toss a real shed antler for our pups or dogs, they will likely rush out to pick up the antler and bring it back, especially if he or she has retriever instincts. The problem is, that relative to dummies, tennis balls or game birds, a shed antler is hard, heavy and pointy. Young pups, especially, have small, sensitive eyes, noses, muzzles and mouths and when your pup is improperly introduced to that hard, heavy, pointy shed their first impression is one of pain, not gain. If you are lucky, your dog will drop the shed antler and move on to something else without injury. More than likely, and as I have experienced myself, the dog will drop the shed and refuse to go near it again, all due to the improper introduction to sheds.

    Gundogs aren’t born afraid of gunfire, but when we introduce loud noises to our dogs improperly…we end up with gun-shy dogs.  The same is true with our shed dogs.  We overcome the risk of negative introductions with our shed dogs by starting them out with the Dog Bone dummies (all available at Everythingsheddog.com) allowing us to still condition the shape of the antler, but without the risk of the negative introduction.  Keep in mind when training…the things you do with your young dogs will stick with them for the entire life, both good and bad. So, be sure to begin with the end in mind.

  • How Do You Keep YOUR Scent Off of the Dummy and Antler During Training?

    How Do You Keep YOUR Scent Off of the Dummy and Antler During Training?

    This is a question that I really have been getting asked a lot lately and I thought I would post my answer and thoughts to it here on the Everything Shed Dog Blog:

    The quick answer to this one is simple…I don’t get too worried about keeping my scent off of the dummy or antler because the fact is, no matter how hard you try, there will always be scent on the dummies and or antlers that we train with.  We simply cannot beat our dog’s noses and their sense of smell!  If I tried to keep my dummies and antlers completely scent free by washing them in some manner a few things would happen:

    1. I wouldn’t get much training done because I would find myself constantly washing and never training…each time my antlers or dummies touch me, or the dog/dogs mouth, or the training bag or what’s inside my training bag (the list goes on) the antler then takes on that scent.
    2. Any natural odors that the shed or dummy previously had on it (hair, blood, etc) will then be washed off as well, which defeats the purpose of training my dog to find the shed using natural odors.

    The truth about this whole thing is that a dog’s ability to smell is so incredible it is hard for me to comprehend what they are capable of. Depending on the breed, a dog’s nose is estimated at 1,000 to 10,000 times stronger than humans.  The other amazing thing about dogs that is difficult for us to understand is that they smell in “layers.”  Whereas we smell “vegetable soup” a dog smells carrots, peas, beans…each individual ingredient, or layer.  Our dog’s noses are so powerful they can smell a tablespoon of sugar diluted in the amount of water it would take to fill two Olympic sized pools!

    When we train our shed dogs, we want to introduce the shape of an antler first to equal the reward (the retrieve) after being thrown.  This is usually pretty simple because it is very natural as far as a visual goes; it’s just predator/prey instinct. But soon after this habit has been formed, we want to ensure that our pup does not get lazy on us and rely more so on their eyes than their nose when locating sheds. We do this by adding antler scent into the equation.

    This is a liquid scent made from real shed antler scent elements- hair, blood, pulverized, but un-burnt antler.  Using this liquid scent allows for us the ability to increase or decrease the amount needed or used depending on a number of variables regarding scenting conditions when training.   Use more scent on dry, windy, high-pressure days and less scent on damp, calm, low-pressure days.  When we add this scent to the training situation we are doing so in order set our dogs up for success in locating the retrieve by using their nose…that’s the whole point.  Our dog is going to smell this concentrated scent of antler elements and begin to associate it with the reward or retrieve, but make no mistake, the dog will also detect every other smell associated with that retrieve and around that retrieve location as well individually.  The important part about this whole thing is that they are using their noses to get the retrieve, not that they are smelling lots of smells individually.

    Drug dogs are trained to alert to the smells of narcotics...a smuggler can take a bag of dope wrapped up in plastic, sealed airtight with tape and float it in a gas tank of a vehicle coming across the border and old Fido will sound off like a bugle horn when that vehicle drives past.  If that dog is capable of detecting those drugs with that many other scenting elements and things not in their favor, I’m fairly certain my shed dogs will be able to identify mine or any other scent and the concentrated antler scent applied the dummy or antler.  They will smell all of them…but separately.

    When I hear folks tell me that you have to wear rubber gloves when training a shed dog in order to keep scent off of the antler, my question to them is…”have you ever smelled a rubber glove?” If I handle the antlers wearing rubber gloves, they will smell like…rubber gloves.  And once you touch something else with the rubber glove (dummy or antler with saliva, etc) won’t your rubber gloves then just smell like whatever it is you’ve touched?  Trust me, your dog will smell that as well!  A rubber glove smell is just as unnatural to a shed as a human hand smell.  I’ve often wondered why you don’t see the guys that say you need to train shed dogs with rubber gloves training their bird dogs using rubber gloves to handle canvas bumpers or duck dummies?

    Don’t think that I not concerned or sensitive to the idea that my dog is going to smell my scent, their scent, the scent of everything around or in contact with that particular dummy or antler when I’m training.  I certainly don’t go out of my way to rub my hands all over it or intentionally add un-natural scents to it prior to training. Remember, attempting to eliminate the un-natural scent by washing, will also minimize any natural scent as well.  I realize that there will always be other scent there, and no matter how hard I try, I’m not fooling my dog or their nose.  I think the important thing to remember is that your dog’s sense of smell is so incredible and capable of separating different layers of scent that you’re not going to trick him with a little Irish Spring and water, but instead be happy that you’ve got your pup using their nose to find the shed.

    By Jeremy Moore
    Owner: DogBone Products

     

  • Set Your Shed Dogs Up for Success!!!

    Bone Collector LogoSet Your Shed Dogs Up for Success

    In 2010/2011 we were able to train a dog for a great friend of ours, Nick Mundt, from the TV show Bone Collectors.  Nick’s dog is named “Jeb”- an English lab from Wildrose Kennels.  Old Jeb is turning out to be a fine shed dog!  The title of this blog is “Set Your Dogs Up for Success.”  This saying is something we use and repeat throughout our training in countless situations and you will find this out as we continue to post short articles here on EverythingShed.com.   We will use this important rule here discussing our early “hunts” with our partners.

    One thing we are very strong believers in when it comes to working our dogs is that we are never in a rush to get through our training.  In fact, we are often accused of moving along with our training at a snail’s pace, which I’m not offended by whatsoever.  The reason being- I know that when we take the time to ensure we have created solid habits through repetition and consistency, we have truly trained our dog and formed that solid habit of whatever behavior it is we are working on.  Because of this, when the time comes for us to work our dogs in the field on actual shed hunts, our dogs will be set up for success.

    In a typical year, I find between 200-300 sheds depending on a lot of variables (weather, time in the field, locations/access to ground, etc.).   Some folks I talk with think that’s remarkable, while others aren’t so impressed.  We do a lot of shows, seminars and appearances with our dogs and I often get the question, “Do you find sheds every time out?” and my answer is simple…ABSOLUTELY!  My dogs will ALWAYS find sheds when they are out.  Are they natural shed antlers that they are finding? No, I wish it were that simple, but it’s definitely not.  I have some very good places to look for sheds, but there is no way that I’m going to find sheds or even a single shed for that matter every time we go out.

    However, when I’m working with a young dog in training (and even with my older dogs at times) as the handler I have to realize that an actual shed hunt is nothing more than an extension of our training or of our lessons.  In between our spring show schedule I try to line up at least a few shed hunts every year that are “cupcakes” (Iowa, Kansas, Canada for example) that I know we are going to put these young dogs on lots of opportunities for successful picks.  This is a great way to build confidence and put the final pieces together for finish training.  The problem is, sometimes I’m stuck looking in places like my backyard (in central WI) and unfortunately we have extremely high hunting pressure and low numbers of mature deer.  After all, we can’t pick up sheds from bucks that are killed at 1 ½ yrs old!  This forces me to put my dogs in an environment that will ensure success for them each and every time.

    The easiest way I’ve found to do this on an actual shed hunt is to pitch a shed 50 yards from the truck on my way out to the field.  Then, on the return, the last thing I do is circle my dog downwind and end the lesson a high note before putting the dog up.  I also bring a small shed in my back pocket with me and throughout the walk, when I’m seeing my dogs focus fade, I pitch the shed while they are not looking, circle them downwind and let them find it and make the retrieve.  This will bring new life into my dog for another short duration and then I repeat as necessary.  I like to compare it to when I took my son fishing for the first time.  We didn’t go to northern Wisconsin on a musky trip where we may cast for 3 days and never get a hit.  Instead, we went to my dad’s farm pond and caught bluegills one after another to keep him having fun and keep his interest peaked.

    Set your dog up for success and you will find a dog that is eager to learn and continue to work for you.  When we are lucky enough, we make sure to take advantage of those “cupcake” trips, not just because it’s a great time picking up a ton of sheds, but because it allows for some of our best training opportunities.  The picture attached to this blog is from a 1 ½ day trip to Southern Iowa that we took Nick Mundt’s dog, Jeb, along with a few others we had in training.  We picked up 79 sheds during that time and when we came home we had some very tired, but confident shed dogs on our hands to keep moving forward in our training system.

    Visit and shop the full line of DogBone Product here!

    Remember, set your dogs up for success in training!

    By Jeremy Moore
    DogBone Products

     

  • 2013 Dog Bone Seminar and Appearance Schedule

    Dog Bone Products- Shed Hunting

    Bass Pro Altoona IA – January 5th
    1000 Bass Pro Drive
    Altoona, IA 50009

    Shed Dog Training Seminars

    Archery Trade Association Trade Show – January 7-9th

    Kentucky Expo Center
    937 Phillips Lane
    Louisville, KT 40209

    Nebraska Big Buck Classic – January 18th – 20th
    Century Link Center
    455 North 10th Street
    Omaha, NE 68102

    Monster Buck Classic, We are Kansas –January 25-27th
    Ethan and Kat Pippitt (Standing Stone Kennels, “Pointing Dogs using the Dog Bone”)
    ExpoCentre, Topeka KS

    Wildgame Dinner – Feb. 8th
    Appleton Alliance Church
    Appleton, WI

    Wisconsin State Hunting Exp February 22-24th
    Shopko Hall
    1901 South Oneida Street
    Green Bay, WI 54304
    Iowa Deer Classic – March 1-3th

    Iowa Event Center Hyvee Hall
    730 3rd Street
    Des Moines, IA 50309

    Jays Sporting Goods –March 23rd
    8800 South Clare Avenue
    Clare, MI 48617

    Woodbury Outfitters – March 30/31st TBD
    Woodbury Outfitters Store
    Coshocton, Ohio

    Bass and Bucks –March 30/31st TBD
    Bass and Bucks Store
    Wabash, IN

    Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo – April 5-7th
    Alliant Energy Center
    1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
    Madison, WI 53713

    Fleet Farm Spring Show – April 12th-13th
    Lambeau Field Atrium
    Green Bay WI, 54304

    Dog Bone Shed Dog Training Handlers Workshop – April 20th
    Bluff Bucks Outfitters
    Alma, WI

    DeerFest – July 26-28th
    Sunnyview Expo Center
    Oshkosh, WI,

  • Dog Bone Owner/Founder Bio- Jeremy Moore

    Dog Bone Bio Pic for web

    Jeremy Moore is an owner of Moore Outdoors which produces the Dog Bone Shed Dog Training Products line. Jeremy started training retrievers 13 years ago with his background being in retriever and gun dog training (more specifically, an English style of retriever training) Over the past 5 years Jeremy has focused his training efforts, almost exclusively to working dogs on game recovery (blood tracking/trailing) and shed hunting. Jeremy is a year round whitetail enthusiast and spends much of his fall working with one of the Midwest’s elite outfitters, Bluff Bucks Outfitters in Buffalo Cty Wisconsin. While spending much of his falls and springs in Buffalo County at Bluff Bucks, he is able to expose his pups in training to the “real thing” when it comes to getting pups started on tracking and shed hunting. Jeremy is not a kennel, nor a boarding facility, but instead trains a select and limited number of dogs for clients each year. Jeremy's training methods promote the use of positive reinforcement to form good habits early on that transition into the field later on in more formal training. He uses very little negative pressure in any of his training and almost no force which results in very biddable or willing to please partner. (No force anything, no e-collars, etc)

    Jeremy designed the DogBone Shed Dog Training products to allow you to train your new pup or previously trained retrievers to hunt for and retrieve shed antlers regardless of age or breed. His training methods and the style of his training system is built to cater to the amateur handler that is looking to produce a reliable, proficient, hunting partner.

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