Posted by on 11/1/2018 to Training Tips
Several years ago I wrote this tip regarding preparing for
and what to do if your dog gets lost in the field. It bears repeating as this
seems to be a common occurrence, especially with young dogs.
My Dog is Lost!
Proper obedience training and some common sense will keep
you from losing your four legged hunting companion.
While hunting in Nebraska this past fall, a good friend lost
his young setter for several hours. In addition, he missed out on some of the
most incredible pheasant hunting of the weekend. Here is the situation. Our
group of five hunters and dogs set up to hunt a draw which we knew held plenty
of birds. We had not gone 20 yards into the cover when a nice muley buck jumped
up from its bed. The deer took off in a flash and, unfortunately, so did my
friend’s setter! The anxious “here Telly here” commands seemed to cheer the
young dog on. Needless to say, our friend was not only upset with his dog but
very worried as they both were in unfamiliar country.
What should one do not only to prevent a situation like this
but to cope with it if it does happen? Let’s discuss prevention first.
Obedience training, especially re-call to the whistle, is paramount. Your dog
must come in to the re-call whistle command consistently under all circumstances
and situations. This means re-calling the dog in locations other than your yard
and regular training fields of which he/she has come quite familiar. Strange
areas and having other dogs or people around when practicing the re-call
command are great ways of training your dog to come in consistently.
Other steps include:
1. Have your name and telephone number(s), including your
cell number, engraved on a brass plate which is riveted to your dog’s collar.
“Dangle” type tags are easily stripped off by a dog running at high speed in
dense and heavy cover. Also, include the phrase "Dog Needs
Medication" on the plate. This will help speed up his/her return.
2. Have your dogs e-collar conditioned to remind them that
you have given the re-call command. Remember, the dog must be properly trained
(conditioned) when using the e-collar. Read the instructions and watch the
videos provided by the manufacturer before beginning any e-collar conditioning.
In fact, I recommend that you read the instructions and watch the videos at
least twice before undertaking any e-collar conditioning.
3. Have your dog micro chipped. Most vets or shelters have a
scanning device. This is a very low cost insurance policy that may ensure your
dog’s safe return.
4. Lastly, you can invest in a GPS unit designed explicitly
for locating dogs. Ah, the benefits of the high tech age!
However, what if you are confronted with a situation
resembling what my friend encountered? Take off your jacket, or shirt if the
day is cold, and place it on the ground in the approximate location from which
the dog took off. Remember, your dog has a great nose and can scent its way
back from where it started. Your item of clothing will ensure your dog’s
familiarity with the location and it just may remain there until your return.
Also, you may just return to your vehicle and find your dog waiting there for
you. That has happened in many cases when dog’s lose their hunters!
The main thing is to “keep your cool” and not drive off
aimlessly looking for your dog. If you do leave the location, try and remember
the direction in which your dog ran off. Check back frequently to see if your
dog has returned.
My friend found his dog, after a 3 hour search, by returning
to the spot where the dog ran off. There was Telly, asleep under a tree,
waiting for his master’s return. He wasn’t concerned at all!
Stop by again next month for another training tip.
C J , Shawnee, & Duchess