Tuesday, January 8, 2013
When the tracking dog was right and the handler was not
Harold Barry, a UBT member from Florida, sent us this picture with a note: "Trust your dog! Trust your dog! Trust your dog! I tracked this fine buck a few days ago for a close friend of mines daughter. She shot the deer with a .223 and from the deer's reaction, it was definitely hit. I tracked for 600-700 yards with "Marley" and my tracking partner David. At no point from shot site to where we called it off was there any blood evidence. Marley showed extreme confidence, but I as a human didn't trust or believe in what I couldn't see, no blood. I've tracked too long to let my human instincts come in the way of my dog's extremely talented nose and mind. A couple of days later, my friend returned to where we stopped and found this magnificent buck about 50 yards passed where we stopped. Moral of my story, "The nose knows!".
Occasionally we hear this kind of story, usually with the conclusion "Trust you dog!" or "The nose knows". However, the other kind of story is rarely shared by handlers - when a handler was taken by a tracking dog on a wild goose chase. Remember that even tracking dogs have their limitations; an experienced dog can make a mistake or have a day off. And this is especially true for young dogs. So trust your dog but don't trust your dog blindly! Examine the evidence, keep looking for that speck of blood to confirm your trust. And read your dog.