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  • 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!

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