Anyone ever train a shed dog?

Discussion about shed antlers, etc
Jmitch
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Anyone ever train a shed dog?

Unread postby Jmitch » Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:43 pm

Anybody got any advice or information they found helpful for shed training? I have a 7 month old yellow lab and have been getting him started with antlers. Just been throwing antlers in the back yard getting him used to them and hiding them in plain sight and trying to get him used to a few different commands.

Do you follow the programs out there or just start slow like I've been doing and gradually get more advanced? Is the scent or rack wax really necessary if I'm using old sheds? Anything else I'm overlooking?

I gave kind of a half hearted effort training my last lab to find shed but he never quite got it. Found a few but think those were mostly dumb luck more than anything. He was a great dog so figured it was probably more me than anything or maybe he just didnt get enough exposure to actually shed hunting and didnt get him enough experience in the field

I'm atleast fairly competent as far as retriever training goes and have quite a few people and resources to lean on in the respect but this is something pretty new to me and dont know anybody who has any first hand experience. Part of me thinks it cant be that much different than training a pheasant dog but what the heck do I know?


Mr. Lehey
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Re: Anyone ever train a shed dog?

Unread postby Mr. Lehey » Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:20 am

I had a yellow lab pup that I started to train for shed hunting. As with any training it’s all about repetition. I used the rack wax for smell but it’s also a visual thing too. Start easy as young dog’s like kids have short attention spans and make it fun. I started in the house with some shed antlers I had. I let him sniff it and then would sit on the couch and toss it close by and have him grab it. I made sure to use the word “shed” a lot when we were playing. After doing that a while I would go put him in a bedroom and shut the door then hide a few sheds around the house. I would let him out and tell him “find the shed” I would walk around with him repeating “ find the shed” the whole time. When he found them I would praise him and give him a treat. Did that for a while then I would go hide some in the yard and do the same thing then just progressively make it harder. Be patient and work with them year round they’ll eventually get it.
Jmitch
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Re: Anyone ever train a shed dog?

Unread postby Jmitch » Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:00 pm

Been working him a little more lately. Been throwing antlers and getting him used to pick them up and how they feel. Been also doing some easy searches in the back yard and hes doing well with that. I've planted a few in a bigger grass area just to try and expand his range a bit instead of always being in a smaller back yard. He struggled a bit in more space but i think that may have been more of being distracted than anything. Think hes mostly finding them visually at this point but is also noticeably using his nose. So far I've only used old sheds with no additional scent added.

The one observation I do have with using the antler scents was with my last lab I could throw a shed with the antler scent as far as I could into a thick pine woods then send him in and.he would come up with it within minutes. But I get him out in a real situation and see him literally step over real sheds without noticing they were there. Figured the manufactured scent must be way more potent or atleast different than the real thing. So I'm trying a different approach with this dog and trying to use as close to the real thing as possible and also focus on visually finding them. We'll see what happens I guess.

The game plan now I think is just going to be more of the same and hopefully expand the search area and distance between sheds when i have the time. I would think with enough repetitions he should get. I mean its not rocket science right? Then work into more cover and hopefully get him on some easy sheds this spring
Chuck B
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Re: Anyone ever train a shed dog?

Unread postby Chuck B » Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:23 pm

I have a lab that i hunt pheasant and duck with. When he was young I would just hide sheds around the yard. He’s two now and he has randomly gone in the woods and found me 5 sheds. Haven’t even “shed hunted” with him (lack of time for me). Expose them young and they should be at least “good enough” (good enough for me anyways).
If you aren't green and growing, you are ripe and rotting
Jmitch
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Re: Anyone ever train a shed dog?

Unread postby Jmitch » Tue Nov 30, 2021 12:37 am

Chuck B wrote:I have a lab that i hunt pheasant and duck with. When he was young I would just hide sheds around the yard. He’s two now and he has randomly gone in the woods and found me 5 sheds. Haven’t even “shed hunted” with him (lack of time for me). Expose them young and they should be at least “good enough” (good enough for me anyways).

Thats pretty much what I'm planning on doing. Get him to a good enough stage where he atleast knows what hes looking for. Heck I barely "shed hunt" just end up spending a ton of time in the woods late winter early spring do figured may as well try ya know? And honestly it also just gives him something to do. When I got my last lab I was still single and living in the country so he got worked almost every day. Now I'm married with a 2 and 5 yr old and live in town. Doesnt leave a whole lot of time for the dog at this point.
Mr. Lehey
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Re: Anyone ever train a shed dog?

Unread postby Mr. Lehey » Tue Nov 30, 2021 12:59 am

I know what u mean with the scent. I’ve seen videos where guys spread the rack wax on the entire antler. Maybe that’s good at first but not really realistic as real sheds won’t have that much smell to them. It’s also good to not let them fail when looking for sheds to keep up their interest. I always bring a shed with me so if u go an hour or two without finding one you can throw yours out when the dog isn’t looking to give them something to find.
Chuck B
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Re: Anyone ever train a shed dog?

Unread postby Chuck B » Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:14 am

Jmitch wrote:
Chuck B wrote:I have a lab that i hunt pheasant and duck with. When he was young I would just hide sheds around the yard. He’s two now and he has randomly gone in the woods and found me 5 sheds. Haven’t even “shed hunted” with him (lack of time for me). Expose them young and they should be at least “good enough” (good enough for me anyways).

Thats pretty much what I'm planning on doing. Get him to a good enough stage where he atleast knows what hes looking for. Heck I barely "shed hunt" just end up spending a ton of time in the woods late winter early spring do figured may as well try ya know? And honestly it also just gives him something to do. When I got my last lab I was still single and living in the country so he got worked almost every day. Now I'm married with a 2 and 5 yr old and live in town. Doesnt leave a whole lot of time for the dog at this point.



Right on. Same here with the kids and the living in town now. But we head to the cabin on the weekends as much as we can and while splitting wood, etc in the winter and spring is when he roams off and comes back with an antler in his mouth. Love it.
If you aren't green and growing, you are ripe and rotting


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