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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Zeus' first real tracking experiences

Zeus is a wirehaired dachshund puppy owned by Patrick McCaffrey from Columbus, Ohio. He was born on September 9, 2009, so now he is four months old. His parents are Perfect Tiller owned by Jeff Springer and our Billy.

When Zeus was 13 weeks old we got this e-mail from Jeff:

"Just got off the phone with Pat McCaffery about Zeus's first deer track. Pat has been working Zeus on deer liver tracks successfully. One of his friends called to ask for some help tracking the deer he had shot. So he decided to take Zeus but almost half apologies about bringing a 13 week old pup out. Anyway Zeus got on track and went the wrong way. Pat was now getting real embarrassed, but his friend said he's going right back to where I shot the deer. OK, they now get Zeus head the right way and he takes off. Good blood sign runs out and Zeus is still on track but no deer. Pat feels that they missed the trail and takes Zeus back to the last sign. What do you think Zeus does...goes on the same trail. Now Pat picks him up and the two of them start a grid search, not finding anything. They decide to check out where Zeus was headed in the first place and there is the deer within 25 yards of where Zues was picked up Twice!"

Last week Pat sent few pictures with this report:

"I have been training my 4 month old dachshund, Zeus to track deer. We have done basic obedience training and several liver and blood lines. He is a quick learner on the things that matter to him. For example, he hasn't completely mastered potty-training, but he can follow a scent trail with little difficulty.

We were hunting Ohio's January muzzleloader season. I got a call from Matt, a new hunter, who was hunting with me on my farm that he had just shot at a doe at "over 150 yards" and that he thought he'd missed, because the deer "ran out of the field with its tail up." He said he had a good steady rest, and I knew the gun was accurate as it belonged to me and I had sighted it in. I told him to wait twenty minutes until I got there with my dog, Zeus, and we would look for signs of a hit.

There was a foot of snow, which would seem to make tracking a breeze, but there were new and old deer tracks all over the field. We cast around with the dog looking for fresh tracks or blood, but could not find any. At one point, Matt asked me what all the hair on the ground was from. I looked to where he was pointing and told him it was cut deer hair probably from his deer, as no other had been shot in this field. The distance was 86 yards from where he shot. Still, there was no blood and the tracks were confusing.

I led Zeus to the hair and off he went. This time, I let him lead the way without any input from me. Within 30 yards, I saw sprayed blood on both sides of the track, so I guessed a double lung shot. Zeus led us into the woods and a dead deer. He was so intent on the track that he bumped into the deer before he saw it. Zeus is an extraordinarily well-socialized and friendly dog, but he was going to bite Matt when he tried to touch "Zeus' deer." I let him lick and chew the deer for about 10 minutes and then we packed the deer out. We would have found this deer on our own, but I can't believe that this little peanut of a puppy is able to do it already. Obviously, his dad, Billy and mom, Tilly, have given him some wonderful genes.

After I carried the deer back on my four wheeler, I had to chase after Zeus for the next two days because he was so set on following the dripping blood trail left from carrying the deer on the atv. It's amazing to me how competent this dog is at doing his job, even as inexperienced as I am as a trainer. The book has been my Bible. Thanks so much to John, Jolanta and Jeff Springer."

Pat, I am so glad to hear that Zeus is doing well. This puppy is getting great experience in the field. Hope to meet you one day!

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