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Professional Shed Dog Trainers- Tips and Articles

  • Shed Dog Training- 5 Keys For Having A Successful Antler Hunting Dog

    Shed Dog Training- 5 Keys For Having A Successful Antler Hunting Dog

    Starting your shed dog training out with the correct fundamentals is essential to making sure you are building on a solid foundation that ensures success for both you and your dog shed dog! Follow these steps and you will be sure to have a leg up on the ensuring progress and successes with your shed dog training and shed hunting adventures. If you have contemplated shed dog training and finally made a decision to pursue the sport you have taken the first big step, but here are the next in line!

    Five Keys For Shed Dog Training

    1.) Get Your Dog Excited About Shed Antlers
    2.) Always Reward Your Dog For a Job Well Done
    3.) Be Habitual in Your Training Regiment
    4.) Follow a Good Shed Dog Training System
    5.) Have Fun With Shed Dog Training and Hunting

     

    1.) Get your dog Excited about finding shed antlers
    The first several experiences during the first few months with your dog and sheds antlers is very important in establishing your dog's interest level. You will want to be super excited about the sheds and make sure you are turning the toss and retrieve process into a game. At this point you want to give tons of praise every time your dogs retrieves the antler. You will want to use a real small antler that does not have sharp tines or you can use a soft antler, such as the training antlers made by Dog Bone Hunter products. By using a smaller or soft antler you are reducing the chance your dog will get poked or shy away from antlers because of a bad experience.

    2.) Reward your shed dog and build confidence
    One of the fundamental keys to shed dog training, well any dog training for that matter, is to provide plenty of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is key to letting your dog know what they have just done is good. Dogs minds are fairly simple, they are inherently pack animals and want to please pack members with a higher status, and because of this this understand the things they should and shouldn't do by pack reaction. They understand a positive reaction and repeat that and negative reactions and don't repeat it, but this is often not picked up instantly. That is why repetition is extremely important to establish this ingrained reaction. For example, if every time you heavily praise your puppy or dog bring back a shed antler, they will be encouraged to continue this process, but if you just half heartedly say good job you dog will have a difficult time catching on to if your response is positive, neutral, or negative.

    Positive reinforcement for shed dog training is a simple concept but can't be emphasized enough. This can often play a key role in the development and speed of your training.

    3.) Be consistent in your training regimen and schedule
    Dogs training is similar to training humans in some ways...and creating good habits is one of those. They say it takes humans 21 days of doing something to create an ingrained habit.

    For real? How many of you have told yourself you were going to start working out but by day 3 the desire and drive really started falling apart, and by day 6 or 7 the program was all but over...well that is mainly because the habit was not created and the “training” fell apart. I certainly can’t say I have not been one of these people from time to time. But on the other hand when you start something and really get it ingrained in the fabric of who you are, it is, well a habit and hard to break!

    Well I am not sure if dogs training also takes 21 days but I am certain it takes tons of repetition to truly engrain a good habit in your hunting dog. As this is the case, make sure you are setting aside a chunk of every day to train. Even if it is only 10 minutes here and there, mixed with some longer training sessions throughout the week it is import to engrain habit often and consistently. Even if you live in town, don’t use this as an excuse, your backyard is plenty big enough to train, you are looking to build those fundamentals, not huge shed hunting exercises. Use what you have to conduct your training, be creative there is always way to create good shed dog training opportunities! Even a basement will be sufficient for antler training winter months!

    4.) Follow a good shed dog training system
    There are several shed dog training guides on the market, both DVD’s and books. I would suggest one or several of these to learn different styles and types of training. They are all fairly easy to follow and are done with the “normal” dog guy in mind, not professional trainers. Here are a few great options for shed dog training guides that we have had good success with and our customers really like:

     

    5.) Have fun with shed dog training and antler hunting
    This might be the most important step! Having fun with this sport is what it is all about. Shed antler hunting with a dog is about getting out in the woods in January-April and really just having a great time while finding some antlers. Presumably once January-April hits you have spent many hours training and it is time to put all that antler training to practice. This is also a great activity to do with friends, family or kids so much it social and fun!

  • New Pro Staff Writer- Bre Krueger, Professional Shed Dog Trainer

    I was lucky enough to be brought into the wonderful world of dog training at the young age of 11.  I started working with a pro trainer at his kennel doing the grunt work.  By the time I was 13, I was doing a lot of the obedience and young dog training, and I also started running AKC Hunt Tests.  When I was 14 is when I fell in love with working with dogs.  The trainer that I had been working for gave me a very well-bred field golden with a lot of potential.  It was my job to train and get her ready for competitions.  He was there to help, but it was mainly on me.   I really started getting into training and working with my puppy (Amber).  I built a bond with this dog like no other.  She not only became my best pal, but she was my hunting buddy, and really the reason for me becoming a dog trainer.   Amber and I trained with many different people, and in many different avenues of competition including: Hunt Tests, Upland, Dock Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Field Trials, Obedience, Agility, and as of recently Shed hunting.  I really acquired a lot of training knowledge working with her.

    AKC hunt test- reddi

    When I was 16, I started offering in-home obedience and hunting training.  My business took off.  I always had 6-8 dogs in training.   I started giving all sorts of training demos at schools in the area.   I also got into different competitions quite heavily.  I kept a puppy out of Amber and continued to train my own dogs also.  I also started teaching group obedience classes at different training and boarding facilities in the area.

    dock dog pic

    After high school, and some business courses, I decided to open a small natural pet supply and grooming shop in Winneconne, WI.  I made the decision to put training on the back burner while I got my new business up and rolling.  Taking a break from training lasted a whole month.  I started getting calls from someone that really wanted his new lab puppy trained for duck hunting.    He was very set on me training his dog because he didn’t want to have to send her off to a kennel for training.  Long story short… We got her into training, she became a star pupil that I really had fun running, testing, and training with.  We became great friends and training buddies, and I started right back into training hard core.

    As of lately, I work at the shop in the mornings and train in the afternoons and evenings.  Amber is 10 years old now, and living the high life fetching ducks, flushing pheasants, and finding shed antlers.  My younger dogs and a lot of my client dogs are training and competing in Hunt Tests, Field Trials, and Shed Trials.  I run a few training groups, and take part in a few others working with all sorts of great trainers.  I really have a passion for working with dogs.  I am excited to become a part of the team at Everythingsheddog.com and Everythinggundog.com!

    training lilly

  • April 2013 Shed Dog Training Day Update- Dog Bone and Jeremy Moore

    Dog Bone's Handler Workshop Update

    Jeremy Moore owner of Dog Bone Products held the 2nd annual handlers workshop at Bluff Buck outfitters in Buffalo County WI, in late April.  Even though it was still pretty chilly and the snow had only been gone for a week he still had a great turn out of handlers and their dogs.  People from all over the country showed up to hone their skills and learn from the world renowned trainer Jeremy Moore.

    The day started out in the Bluff Bucks lodge with introductions and a start into the basics of starting a shed dog.  Jeremy went through a lot of different things but made sure to keep everyone involved as much as possible.  Jeremy went through the place command with multiple different dogs, he also showed the importance of conditioning a dog to be patient to eat by holding the dog in his arms until the pup settled down, this teaches the dog patience and that the calmer they stay the more reward they will get.  After the basics portion of the morning Jeremy moved everybody to a long hall way in the lodge to teach people how to work on basic retrieving, using the hall way to force the dog to retrieve back to the person at the end the of the hall, using an old balled up sock and lots of excitement, Jeremy showed people how easy it is to get a dog to retrieve.  Jeremy explained “I use a balled up sock when I start a dog on retrieving because it enforces the hold command, the sock gets stuck on the puppy’s sharp teeth and makes it hard to drop the sock.”

    After a short break the group moved to the field just down the road from the Bluff Bucks Lodge.  Once everyone was ready to go Jeremy had everyone get control of their dog and line up so he could teach the handlers the sit, steadiness and the heal commands.  With all dogs on leash he had people one by one go through each command and explained to people what they needed to work on with each individual dog.  Some of the handlers told me numerous times that “they were impressed how Jeremy individualized the Handler workshop to each dog and didn’t just go through the motions to get through the day.”

    After Lunch Jeremy, got into trailing memory retrieves, simple marking drills, hold conditioning, quartering drills, and the importance using scent to get the dog to use their nose.   Jeremy kept everyone in the game by individually taking each dog through all the drills. This personal attention was much appreciated by all the handlers in the workshop.  Jeremy’s main goal for the Handler workshop is to teach you how to train your dog, not to try and train your dog in one day.  Training is a life time commitment, so Jeremy makes sure that you understand how to train your dog when you are training on your own!

    I would recommend if you have the chance to make it to one of Jeremy’s’ workshops to sign up. Jeremy goes through a lot of different things in the full day workshop, but he does not have a cookie cutter workshop he tries to make beneficial for everyone involved.  If you are serious about shed hunting this is something that you can’t miss!!  Good luck shed hunting

     

    Article By Rick Schmitz
    Behind the Blinds Kennel and Training

  • Making your property more valuable with Sheds Antlers

    Double shed Antlers

    In today’s market, when people are looking for hunting land they are generally looking for quality animals to hunt.  Some people are looking for a property to buy cheap and manage them the way they want to and some people are looking for a property to buy that is ready to hunt, with quality deer on it.

    Finding sheds and saving them is an easy way to prove that your property holds big deer, in turn making your property more valuable.  Having a good shed dog to help you find those sheds is a must. Yes you may be able find a shed here or there, but with a good shed dog and sometime in the outdoors you should be able to find 95% of the shed on your property.  Having some trail cam picture to go along with your sheds would probably help the cause too.

    Also if you have the same bucks sheds for a couple years, you can prove that your property holds older deer, remember generally people are looking for that 4 ½ to 5 ½ year old buck and proving that may spark a little bit more interest towards buying your property vs. another property

    By Rick Schmitz

    Behind the Blinds Kennel and Dog Training

  • Top Shed Antler Hunting Tips

    Whitetail Shed Antler- Shed Tips

     

    1. Use Snow To Your Advantage
    2. Use Ridges and Hills
    3. Deer Bedding Areas
    4. Use Your GPS To Find Antlers
    5. Check Thick Areas For Shed Antlers
    6. Shed Antler Hunting Dogs

     

    Hey guys and girls is Mid February 2013 and the bucks are going to start dropping
    their antlers and you are going to want to get out and find those antlers. This is a
    perfect time to test out all the hard work you have put in to your new shed dog.
    Here are a couple tips to make your trip into the woods more successful:

    1. Use Snow to your advantage: If you are in an area that has snow still on the ground you can use this to your advantage follow the deer trails in the snow and let your dog wonder
    the area looking for sheds remember don’t travel to fast as some sheds
    might be covered in snow, trust your dog and let them work like you would
    if you were bird hunting.
     
    2. Use Ridges and Hills: Locate southward facing ridges and hills; this is where bucks will hang out during the colder months to soak as much heat from the sun as they can.
     
    3. Deer Bedding Areas: Locate bedding areas and a food source then work both areas and the area between the two, remember during the cold months deer will congregate
    in these area so they don’t have to expend as much effort for food.
     
    4. Use Your GPS To Find Antlers: Mark waypoints on your GPS from year to year bucks don’t always drop their antler in the same exact spot, but sometime having a starting point
    the next year will increase your odds of finding more sheds.
     
    5. Check Thick Areas For Shed Antlers:  If you are in an area that gets a lot of snow look for a “deer yard” generally these are located in thicker areas, such as cedar swamps or pine
    plantations, the low hanging branches will aid in knocking the antlers off.
     
    6. Shed Antler Hunting Dogs: The last and most important tip, is to have a well-trained shed dog to go out and help you find those sheds, and the best way to have a well-trained
    shed dog is to follow www.everythingsheddog.com ‘s blogs written by
    the foremost pros in the field, and to make sure that you have the best Shed Dog Trainig
    equipment for training from everything shed dog

  • Why Shed Antler Hunt With A Dog?

    Shed Antler Puppy Training

    It’s a common misconception that shed hunting is only for dad, but that is not true, it’s a family thing.  As much fun as it is to spend a day in the outdoors alone, it’s always more fun to spend it with someone and having a dog that finds sheds means you never have to go alone again even if the family can’t go.  One of the great things about shed hunting with dogs is the social aspect. It gets moms and kids out in the outdoors with dad.  Making games out of shed hunting will keep it interesting, see who can find a shed before the dog or see who can find the most sheds with or without the dog, and before you know it the day is over.

    Taking your kids out in the woods to find sheds is a hard task and kids get bored when they don’t find what they are looking for, which in turn leads to a much less enjoyable and shorter time in the outdoors.  But add a well-trained shed dog to the mix and you start finding what you are looking for and now you have kids that are interested and driven to find more, making your day outdoors fun and enjoyable.

    By Professional Shed Dog Trainer,
    Rick Schmitz
    Hortonville, WI
  • The Shed Antler You Would Never Find- That’s Why We use Dogs

    8 point Shed Buck

    Shed hunting is hard, even the most experienced shed hunter has a difficult time finding every shed in the woods.  Having a well-trained shed dog to take on your next journey into the woods after shed will increase your shed finding ability almost 50%.  Think of it this way, there are 3 major benefits of having a well-trained shed dog:

    1. If you walk a mile looking for sheds, making a zig zag pattern through the woods you might find 1-2 sheds, but if you figure for every 1 mile you walk your dog runs 3 miles, you are tripling the amount of area that you can cover in the same time and hopefully tripling the amount of sheds you find.
    2. Your dog has a better nose then you do.  You could walk past shed after shed as you stroll through the woods, they could be buried in the snow, cover in leaves or they could just blend in with a small bush and you would never see them. But your dog is using its nose so finding sheds in the snow or under leaves shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

    Your dog can get into to those places that you can’t or don’t want to get into, like those pesky brier patches, thick fence lines, and brush piles where the big bucks like to hang out. The thicker the area the generally the hard it is for a person to successfully find sheds, but with a shed dog this task becomes a lot easier.

    By Shed Dog Trainer,
    Rick Schmitz
    Hortonville, WI
  • Rick Schmitz- Bio of Shed Dog Training Expert!

    Behind the Blinds Kennel- Rick Schmitz

    I got an early start into dog training when I was 13 years old, training my dad’s Springer Spaniel, and have been hooked on training dogs ever since.  I bought my first lab when I was 17 and have been addicted to the labs since.  I have run in AKC, UKC, HRC hunt tests, and currently run in the Bird Dog Circuit.  Dog training started more as a hobby and has turned into a business of providing quality affordable dogs for the average hunter.

    I am now the owner/operator of Behind the Blinds Labradors Kennel and Outfitters, In NE Wisconsin.  We are a family run kennel and we believe in quality over quantity when it comes to dogs. We have been in business since 2003 and still hold the same high standards now that we did when we started this business, we do not look at this as a job but more as an experience.  We do anything from basic obedience to finish dogs, and gun dogs to shed dogs.  We breed hunting dogs that are a part of the family.

    Training dogs for almost 20 years have given me the opportunity to use and abuse many different tools and products for dog training, and I am going to share my experiences with each tool with you so that you can make an educated decision on which product would work best for you and your dog.  Look for my all my product reviews on the EGD website, we are hoping to review everything that everything gun dog sells

  • How do I Start a Training Program For Shed Hunting?

    Like I said in the previous article start with the basics up until around 6 months, but after that here are some simple techniques to start with when you are getting into a shed dog program.

    Give your dog an antler for a period of time to get it used to the feel and the smell, making sure they don’t chew it to pieces. Remember it’s not a play toy.  The dog should enjoy playing with you and the antler.  Make the antlers something special for the dogs to associate with when they are with you.

    Force fetching
    Force fetching is using an act of stimulation to train a dog to pick up an object on command and reliably return it to the person telling them the command.  Force Fetching is probably one of the most important training techniques that you could teach you dog for shed hunting.  The reason for force fetching is so that when you are shed hunting your dog doesn’t pick up a shed, get distracted, and drop the shed - then you never knew the shed was there.

    Right around the 6 ½-9 months of age is the right time to start force fetching, once their adult teeth come in.  It also depends on how mature they are when determining whether they are ready to teach them to force fetch. I would recommend that you hire a professional trainer to force fetch your dog, you can ruin a very good dog by force fetching it the wrong way.  Most trainers that force fetch know how to read a dog and can generally force fetch a dog with ease.

    It’s not necessary to force fetch with antlers if your dog will be a bird dog as well. But if the only thing you are training your dog for is shed hunting, then you will want to teach them to force fetch with antlers.

  • What Breed Is Best Made For Shed Hunting?

    Is there a certain breed of dog I should look for, when buying a shed dog?

    The simple answer is “No.”  You can teach any dog to do anything; it is all in the training and how much time you spend with a certain dog on a certain task.  As long as you follow the steps in training you can even train a Yorkie to pick up a shed.

    When looking for a shed hunting partner there are a couple of things to consider.  First, make sure the dog fits your family.  Unless you are planning on keeping the dog in a kennel all of the time, you are going to want a good family dog.  The second thing I would look for is trainability.  Look for a dog that is going to want to look for shed (i.e. some sort of retriever).  You want to look for a dog that has the drive to find something in the middle of nowhere and bring it back to you.   To ensure the dog has enough drive throw a ball into thick cover and observe how long he'll search and whether he's using his nose.  The third and final tip that I have for you is, make sure you have a enough time for the dog.  Don’t expect to pick a puppy and have it shed hunting without spending any training time with it.

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