Hounds are one of the most popular hunting breeds. Their physique is adapted to hunting in such a way that they run after the prey, chasing it. They are very durable and have a well-developed sense of smell that they use to find prey.
How to train a hound to track blood trail? You should start training from an early age and you should be systematic in your approach when training a dog.
When to start training hounds on the blood trail
In almost all hunting and cynological manuals, it can be read that a hound puppy should not be taken to hunting grounds before it is 3-4 months old.
Practice shows a slightly different possibility, without adverse effects on the dog. The puppy should be introduced to the hunting area as soon as possible, and when he is 2 months old he can be completely calm in nature.
If there is a chance to get acquainted with the trail of wildlife, the team is more satisfied, and if it is a possible encounter with a fresh trail, then it is an even better situation.
The first steps in training hounds on the blood trail
The hound was created to hunt rabbits and foxes, so from the first encounter with the hunting ground, care must be taken that the puppy is only led to such traces.
In case a curious fit finds another track, it means that it has a good nose, but must be returned from that track NOW.
Puppies should not be allowed to exercise in the wake of a game that they will not hunt when they start to escape. Thus, it will engrave a system of recognizing desirable and forbidden traces in its fragrant memory.
If a trace of a rabbit or fox is found in the field, the puppy should be maximally encouraged and guided to such a trace.
The first steps are very important and practically determine the direction of the dog’s work and behavior in later periods.
Thus, the hound learns from a young age and remembers that the trail of ungulates is a TABOO for him and that he does not pay attention to it.
Hound work on a warm trail
If there is a possibility of shooting a rabbit and making a warm trail, this is an exceptional benefit. The dog must be guided on a trail and guided on a long leash.
It must be noted that the owner of a young hound must not be discouraged in case the puppy does not show any special interest in the trail.
This does not mean that the puppy has a bad nose, it is a sign that such an action is still too early for him, he should try again in a week or two and the success will, almost certainly, be evident.
It must be remembered that patience and perseverance are essential elements to be reckoned with.
Everyone wants a dog to announce a trail with a bark, only such is the real companion of the trail, and that is, with good hounds, an innate trait that manifests itself over time.
In this case, too, he must be patient. In some dogs, the voice on the trail appears earlier in others later. For every successful phase of the dog track work, it should be rewarded with the usual praise, and it should not be spared.
When the dog begins to rule the trail, it is very desirable to shoot the rabbit. Then follows a very important phase in the training.
The rabbit shot must be left in place until the dog has traced and reached the rabbit.
Finding the rabbit at the end of the trail, the dog hound realizes that it is his favorite game and that the trail results in a catch.
In addition to working on the trail of wild animals, the hound is very good, persistent, and successful work on the blood trail.
In some countries, such as Austria and Germany, this kind of work has a very long tradition and hunters are very successfully used to work on the blood trail. In that way, they enable hunters to find wounded game, which would remain in the area without them.
Countries with hunting culture must not allow something like that. Every shot animal must be found.
More practical tips for training hounds on the blood trail
The beginning of training hounds to work on the blood trail also begins at the age of the puppy. You need to start making short clues from your dog’s favorite food.
Such a trail must not be longer than 10 meters, it is best for the trail of food to be 5-10 meters long.
At the end of such a trail, there MUST always be some food as a reward for successfully mastering the trail as the puppy overcomes the initial tracks they lengthen.
When the puppy has mastered the traces of food and masters them safely and firmly, one should start making artificial traces. A piece of skin with some blood should be left at the end of such a trail.
And these initial artificial clues must not be too long. The dog on them must be guided on a long leash to work on the blood trail.
From the very beginning, the dog must get used to the “ritual” that accompanies the work on this trail.
Before starting the trail, the dog must be postponed, it should be left lying at the start of the trail, since the young dog is still without a firm postponement, the beginning should be such that it is left next to a tree.
It will be much easier to stay lying next to a tree than in a clean space.
It is left so that he can see the scene of the accident, in this case, this is where the exercise will begin.
Trail work must be with a typical long leash to work on the blood trail.
Conversation with the dog must be measured, quiet, benevolent.
By placing the collar and leash, the guide lets the dog know that there is no work on the blood trail without the presence of a guide.
In case the dog loses track, it should be returned to the trail calmly, of course without punishment. On the trail, the dog should be calm and steady and overcome the trail without quick steps. Good work is a precondition for success.
When the dog is in the area and is looking for existing traces, there are no restrictions on the search area, the terrain must be searched studiously, calmly, at a steady pace.
He must systematically separate the tracks he finds into unwanted and forbidden ones, he works independently on the desired trail, there are no guides, long leashes, or incentives.
The hound successfully overcomes all that if he has passed all phases of previous training.
When it comes to working on an artificial blood trail, it must be at least 800 meters long and must have two curves at right angles.
At a distance of 100 meters from the end of the trail, the dog is released by the leash and the rest of the blood trail has to be done alone and at the end of the trail find game.
That the hound is a very stable working dog is also shown by the discipline of delays, which is obligatory during blood tests.
The hound must lie down for 15 minutes, without the presence of a guide, then a shot ensues and the dog must remain to lie down for another 5 minutes.
So all the stories about an extremely temperamental dog so that it cannot be held in your hands are not realistic and fall into the realm of hunting.
A well-trained hound is an extremely successful wildlife worker, both desirable and an outstanding blood trail worker.
Invest your knowledge, time, and patience to train your dog the right way.
This way you will get a reliable companion in the hunt, you will not lose the wounded game and you will enjoy your hunting adventures more.