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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wirehaired teckel puppies out of European hunting lines

It is not easy to get a dachshund puppy bred out of European hunting lines. If you are looking for one, you are in luck as Ed and Barbie Wills from Concord, NH, have a male puppy available. The parents of the 24-day-old puppies are FC Viola von der Hardt-Hohe, JE and FC Bernd vom Ahorn Wald, ME, CGC. This is the third and last time that this breeding has been done.  It has produced very good trackers in the past. Ed and Barbie are hunters and trackers, and they are also members of the United Blood Trackers. Ed was instrumental in legalizing blood tracking in New Hampshire. You can reach Barbie and Ed by e-mail at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Adventurous Chihuahua Penny finally gets reunited with her family after 17 days on the run: part 2

Continued from the May 21 post.

The phone went quiet again but late on day 11 and early on day 12 there were two sightings close to each other in an area that made sense.  The day 11 sighting sounded very reliable and upon checking it with Eibe it was very easy to confirm.  When Eibe crossed the exact spot the dog was reportedly seen the night before she whipped her head and took off like a rocket.  With that sighting confirmed I directed Penny’s family to concentrate their search and public notification efforts in that area, which paid off with two more sightings on day 14 and 15 less than ½ mile away.

The day 14 sighting witness called in right away, and my wife and I were on site within 45 minutes.  We actually saw Penny along the side of the road on the way there.  My wife got out of the car and followed her and got within 15 feet of Penny but then she just took off.  After Penny ran off I put Eibe down on the trail just 10 minutes behind her.  But  two hours later after 3 ½ miles of tracking in the pouring rain without ever seeing her again it was obvious we were not going to run her down.

Yes, that really is a Teddy Bear behind that Blood Tracker!
Penny was spotted again the next day about 200 yards from where my wife originally saw her so at that point I set up a feeding station in the area with a game camera in hopes of eventually trapping her in a live trap.  Unfortunately, she left the area after that and the next place she was spotted was two days later on day 17, 2 ½ miles away on the other side of town just before dark.

Feeding station monitored with a trail cam set up in the area where Penny was sighted three days in a row.  Note live trap on left.  The door is wired open until the dog feeds regularly at the station and then the food is moved inside the trap.  Unfortunately Penny left the area after the feeding station was set up.
The next day, on day 18, I went out and confirmed  the previous evening’s sighting.  This was a really good sighting with very reliable witnesses.  Penny was seen casually walking up a grass strip along a school football field she wandered into.  The witness was aware of the missing dog from a Facebook posting and the Neon Posters we had blanketed the area with.  As the witness was slowly approaching the dog, it wandered into a neighbors unfenced yard. The neighbor really hates dogs, and he came out and angrily chased the dog. Penny ran up an alley and into a college campus.  I mention all this because the accurate information about the dog’s course and behavior allowed me to confirm for myself my tracking dog's actions.  As I worked Eibe to confirm the sighting, it was crystal clear that my suspicion  that scenting on these lost dogs changes according to their emotional state was correct.  When Eibe engaged the line where Penny was casually walking the night before, Eibe began tracking at a normal speed but when she hit the place where the dog was chased by the neighbor, she became excited and much more animated.  I thought I was seeing this in the previous tracks where she crossed busy streets and likely was chased but this confirmed it.

I first learned of a tracking dogs ability to interpret its quarry’s emotions and physical state while accompanying professional blood trackers in Germany several years ago.  My dog Eibe began to develop this ability this past fall in her 4th season tracking wounded deer.  There were some deer that we tracked that she began to realize were not gettable due to the minimal nature of their wounds and I believe the nature of their stress levels as we pursued them.  The deer being minimally wounded could easily stay in front of us and Eibe would notice this lack of fear scent and actually stop pursuing them.   From previous experience she could tell that they were not injured enough for us to catch up to.  Now I was seeing this same behavior in tracking lost dogs.

With the day 17 sighting so reliable and confirmed I directed the family to re-center their efforts in that area and after hours of searching and re-searching the neighborhood the next day, the owner’s son spotted Penny on the last pass of the day.  He chased her several blocks but this time she went to ground under a porch in a crawl space instead of just keeping on running.  Most likely tired and getting run down from 19 days on the lamb.  He got bit by the now 4 ½ lb. Chihuahua when he crawled in and tried to grab her but he eventually scooped her up in his coat and the saga was over.

Final map of the Penny case.  Red flags are neon posters.  Green flags are sightings.  Yellow dotted lines are places we tracked Penny or confirmed sightings.
This aerial map of the 3 ½ miles in suburban neighborhoods that we tracked Penny one day in the rain but could not catch up with her.  We started only 10 minutes behind her. 
As you can see there is a lot more to tracking lost pets than tracking wounded deer, but if you are a tracking addict like I am I highly recommend you give it a try.  The satisfaction you get will equal that which you get in the deer woods and the joy of the reunited dog owners is unsurpassed.

Penny happy to be home and her owner very grateful to have her back.

A week after Penny was back home I was invited to a welcome home party for family and friends who assisted in Penny’s recovery.  When tracking deer for hunters I have been invited back to do some hunting but I have never before been invited to a party where the dogs wore hats!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Two-week-old puppies get to smell the big outdoors for the first time

Mielikki's puppies will turn two weeks old tomorrow. From now on regular updates will be posted on our puppy blog at I posted there a lot of pics of the pups taken in the last few days. Enjoy! All the pups are spoken for, and we are not going to have more pups in 2013. At present we are not taking any reservations for future litters, but we will be happy to refer you to other breeders. E-mail us

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A New Kind of Find. Andy and Eibe Get to Track a Lost Dog.

By Andy Bensing

Like many blood trackers I have always gotten several phone calls a year asking whether my dog could find a lost pet.  In the past few years I’ve been called about lost cats, dogs, horses, and even a pet chicken.  I’ve never taken any of these calls.  Never even given them much serious thought before but after a couple of interesting requests this past fall I decided to seriously pursue the tracking of lost pets.  As I researched the project I quickly found out that there is a whole lot more to recovering lost pets than just the tracking.  I still have a ton to learn about the whole process but this is the story of my first attempt.

The first thing I needed to know was if my blood tracking dog Eibe would even follow a healthy dog.  To do this I had my kennel staff take 3 dogs from my boarding kennel, give them a walk across a field, and let the lines age.  After an hour I took a piece of the blanket from one of the dogs, Target Dog 1, and used it to pre-scent Eibe.  This blanket had only the scent of Target Dog 1 on it.  Pre-scenting indicates to the tracking dog what scent you want her to find and follow.   To get started I just used the usual routine I would use at the hit site of a wounded deer call.   I put a piece of the blanket in an open plastic bag on the ground and treated it like the point of impact where Eibe would normally smell the blood and hair at the hit site.  As you can see in the diagram I started Eibe 50 yards upwind of the 3 lines and told her to “search”.  All these skills and routines Eibe was already proficient  at.  Eibe effortlessly searched across and ignored the first two decoy lines, hit the third target dog line and engaged it with no problem.  She followed it a short 100 yard distance to the end where I had some meat laying as a reward.  The next day after the lines had aged 24 hours I took the blanket from Target Dog 2 and did the same thing.  I was curious to see how the scent lines  would hold and whether or not Eibe would engage the correct line or just go to where the meat was the day before.  Again from the diagram you can see she had no problem.  In some ways I was surprised how easy it was but in other ways I was not.  Differentiating one dog from another is not really any different than one deer from another.

Knowing now that my dog would track a dog, I started watching the local Lost & Found ads for a real life lost dog to track.  I finally found one that sounded promising.  After speaking to the dog’s owner I was able to put Eibe on the trail 2 days after the dog escaped into a suburban neighborhood from a shopping center.  The six-pound Chihuahua called Penny got spooked as the owner left a pet shop in a strip mall. The collar broke and Penny ran off into a neighborhood and quickly disappeared.  My first guess was that the very scared little dog would not be far away, likely huddled under a porch somewhere, scared to death and hopefully easy for us to find.  I had an exact path  reported by the owner that the dog took between two office buildings before she disappeared so I used that as a starting point.

I started Eibe 50 yards up wind, perpendicular to the dog’s line of travel and told her to “Search” after pre-scenting her the same way I had done in practice.  When her head whipped to the left exactly where the dog had run, I knew we were on the right trail.  Everything seemed great.  Just like my practice test with the three kennel dogs she had no problem picking it up.  But after about 5 minutes I ran into my first problem when Eibe began to lose drive.  It was pretty clear to me that she was kind of wondering why we were following this scent.  In blood tracking I am sure a big part of her motivation is the hunt and prey drive.  The thought of tearing into the dead quarry at the end.  The scent of a dog clearly didn’t elicit the same motivation and my very brief kennel dog test had not provided any alternative motivation to any great extent.  I just kept verbally encouraging her and re-presenting the scent article which was Penny’s broken collar that I had in a Ziploc bag.  After about 45 minutes of occasionally coaxing and encouraging her she seemed to finally realize what I wanted and started working the suburban streets and lawns just like when we track deer in the woods.  We have often tracked deer through neighborhoods so this was not completely foreign terrain to her.  The track was erratic in direction at first but at one point scenting became much easier and the track went straight for over a mile.  When I punched the dog’s home address into my GPS, it appeared the dog was heading straight home just like a wounded deer heading back to his bedding area.

The next problem I ran into turned out not to be a problem at all.  Actually I learned from it.  As we approached a big four lane busy Boulevard I wondered how we would track across it with all the cars moving.  I was concerned that picking Eibe up and starting on the other side, like crossing a highway when blood tracking deer, would interrupt the fragile drive I had built to continue tracking this new quarry.  To my surprise, Eibe sped up and flew across the boulevard  and the next two we had to cross as well. After tracking Penny three more times over the next two weeks I was able to confirm my initial suspicions of why Eibe sped up at certain places.  When Penny was spooked or chased, she put off more scent, perhaps “fear” scent just like very hurt vs. mildly hurt deer do, and Eibe could pick up on this fear scent much more easily.  Just like she does with wounded deer.  My 1st day of tracking Penny ended after 3 ½ hours of tracking Penny over 2 miles.  It appeared that someone had either chased her into an industrial park and almost caught her, or perhaps she was caught and put in a car.  Eibe had excitedly tracked into a tight corner of the Industrial park fencing but as she worked the scent out of the tight corner it faded away over the next ½ mile and completely dried up at an intersection to a very busy main road.

It was interesting to see when Eibe lost the trail at the busy intersection how she acted just like she does on a deer call when the scent gets sparse.  When struggling at the intersection where the scent dried up she first searched for a back track and finding none she went a half mile back to the industrial park where the scent was very intense.  Eibe would have re-tracked the last part of the trail again looking for a new direction but at that point I called it a day.  When I started the track I had hoped that Penny would have tucked herself in somewhere safe shortly after she escaped but that obviously hadn’t happened.  Being that we were two days behind her escape and having tracked Penny two miles from where she was initially lost there was little point in continuing that day.

Penny’s owner had posted small flyers in the area where she was initially lost the day she escaped.  The next step after I got involved was to expand the advertising. I found a family member of Penny’s who was an IT guy so he took care of all the lost dog websites and Facebook.  I went to work and created 10 large, 18” x 24” neon posters and placed them strategically in the area where I believed Penny was last chased or picked up hoping to generate a lead.  Over the next few days I put out 20 more posters encircling  the likely area Penny might be in.

On day 7 we finally got a call from a sighting in an unlikely area that would have matched the theory she was picked up in a car, transported away and perhaps escaped again or was let go.  Crazy things can happen.  I met with the person who called and found out the sighting was from 3-4 days before,  When I took Eibe  to confirm the sighting I also found two more witnesses who reported seeing a dog like Penny two days before in the same area.  Interestingly while checking this location I saw two other long haired Chihuahuas being walked on leashes and about 10 more Chihuahuas of various types in yards and front windows.  This inner city neighborhood was crawling with Chihuahuas!

To confirm a sighting I first got detailed information from the witness as to where exactly the subject dog was seen.  I then tried to go 50+ yards upwind if possible and started Eibe at a location where I was pretty sure the subject dog had not been present according to the witness.  I then pre-scented Eibe and directed her to search in a direction perpendicular to the reported line of travel of the subject dog.  If Eibe picked up a line and started tracking where the witness reported the dog,  it was a positive confirmation.  If she didn't pick up the line after several attempts, the sighting was not confirmed.  After several unsuccessful attempts to pick up a line I determined that the long haired red Chihuahua seen by the witnesses was not Penny.

To be continued….

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Two Trackers

by Teddy Moritz

I witnessed an interesting animal interaction event today while running my pup, July, in one of my rabbit spots. July is ten months old and I like to run her alone in order to make her less dependent on the hawk and older dogs. She worked rabbits all winter and is very keen to track them, but she also knew to watch for the hawk in order to find the fresh scent, or she would hark into the older dogs. Now I wanted her to do her own work. The field I ran her in today is huge, an old farm field bordered by a parking lot on one side, a vast open weed field ending eventually in a railroad line. The place I park has two long sections of very tall, thick blackberry canes. This is where the rabbits harbor, then when pushed by the dogs they run out into the field, which has weeds just tall enough to hide the rabbit from the hawk's eyes. It's a great place for long runs on rabbits as they will leave the briars and make huge laps around the weed field.

I let July out and she promptly hit the briars, looking for rabbits. She's been in this spot before so she knows where to search. She busted a rabbit out and took off after it as it ran into the big field. I stood still and listened to her run. She is fairly vocal and I could hear her a good distance away. She circled this rabbit and brought it back to the briars. She ran it out again and off they went. This time the rabbit must have gone a slightly different route because July's voice drifted toward a tree line. In the meantime three other rabbits came sneaking out of the weeds and into the briars. The place holds a good number of cottontails. Suddenly July started barking, a varmint bark, not a rabbit bark. She was in one spot, barking at something. I listened for a bit, then called her. I know red fox live in the far end of the field, but so do deer, woodchucks and sometimes a feral cat. The barking stopped and pretty soon I could see July heading my way. She saw me and took a ninety degree turn into a strip of weeds leading to a berm of dirt and sand. She just wanted to see me and then keep hunting. She seemed to hit a rabbit line and took it up along the berm and out onto a big dry sandy area. She worked a long time trying to figure out the line, drifting back and forth, re-starting, working and working, though silently.

As I stood and watched her I saw some movement in the weeds, along the first part of the berm. As I thought, it was the red fox. It was watching July track. When the dog disappeared up the berm and into the weeds, the fox started tracking her. It would sniff where she ran, look, listen and watch for her. I don't believe this was a predatory kind of tracking, I think the fox was curious about the dog and where it was going. I'm fairly certain the fox has a den in some piles of cement slabs nearby as I had found a lot of fox sign there this past winter. The fox could have easily overtaken the little dog if it wanted to catch her. I was glad it wasn't a coyote. I would have interfered right away.

July kept working on the rabbit track, going back and forth, going backwards and re-working the scent line. The fox stayed on slightly lower ground, nose to the ground, tracking July. The dog had gone silent so the fox wasn't sure where she was. It continued to track and listen and look. It was interesting to watch. The fox tracked without wagging its tail like a dog does. It simply put its nose down and followed July's scent. It didn't quarter or drift the track, it seemed very accurate.

Being a wild animal, the fox was very aware of its surroundings and since I was standing in the open, it eventually saw me, did sort of a double take, then turned around and took off. July never did know the fox was behind her. Just as well. I wouldn't want her chasing it out to a road. There's always something interesting to watch when running a hound.

The fleeting beauty of spring flowers

I have been taking a lot of pictures of Mielikki's puppies (I'll be posting them on a puppy journal in a day or two), but yesterday I managed to take some nature shots as well. It was a good idea as today we have a change in the weather - it is a cool, gloomy day with drizzle; actually it feels like November. The flowers will be gone soon.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mielikki's puppies are thriving while Keena's puppies are no-shows

A couple of days ago we took Keena to a vet to verify whether she carried any pups. Unfortunately, she did not. We have had our doubts for quite a while now. She looked pregnant at 5-6 weeks but then stopped expanding. I thought that she might carry two puppies, but it was not the case. It was disappointing, that's for sure, especially for people on our waiting list.

On the other hand, good news about Mielikki and her puppies. The pups are doing  really well, and Mielikki is a Super Mom, who keeps pups' bottoms absolutely clean. Puppies are a week old now and they doubled their weight. We gave them names, which will be their registered names:
Urho - blue
Uncas - red
Ursula - green
Utah - yellow
Uma - white
Uschi - pink
Uta - no ribbon

The whelping box is in my den so I have a chance to watch, hear and hold puppies as much as I want to. Mielikki does not mind sharing them with us. Over the years I have seen various types of canine mothers. Some are very protective of their pups and watch you like a hawk when you touch them. They bark at any dog on the other side of the door. Mielikki is not like that at all. She certainly pays a great deal of attention to what happens to puppies, but she does not mind at all when we play with them or she hears other dogs running through the house. She is a real "people's dog" and craves our attention. When she sees us in the morning, she is incredibly happy! Often I just get into the whelping box - she really enjoys being in my lap while the pups nurse.

Mielikki is not a voracious eater, and for the first few days it was a challenge to find nutritious food that was to her liking. Right now her favorite is Omas Pride's raw mix of chicken and veggies, and today she inhaled several bowls of it. Of course, her appetite has been increasing while pups have been growing and drinking more milk.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mielikki and Sky's puppies are finally here

Finally Mielikki has delivered her puppies but it did not go as smoothly as we wished. Let's go back to Thursday night... We did not know how many pups to expect as we did not want to subject her to unnecessary stress caused by a trip to a vet. We knew that she was huge and anticipated at least 7 pups.

She started to have contractions on Thursday evening. This was the 63rd day from the first breeding. First puppy was whelped at 9:20 PM. Then there was a very long break. Mielikki was having contractions, though not very hard, but no puppy emerged. Around midnight I called our vet at Cobleskill Veterinary Clinic, and Dr. Kevin Baldwin agreed to meet us there around 1 AM. So we packed Mielikki and her first puppy and made a 35-minute trip. Twenty minutes into the trip Mielikki delivered another puppy. It was a relief as we really wanted to avoid a C-section. She got hydrated at the clinic, and we drove back home.

The rest of the night was pretty stressful. She would whelp a puppy every two hours or so, but things were proceeding quite slowly. Two pups did not survive delivery as they spent too much time in the birth canal. By 9 AM we had 7 puppies (5 alive and 2 dead), and not much was happening any more. We knew that she still had some pups inside her. After I checked her temperature, which rose to 103, we started to be concerned and placed another call to the vets. We were advised to bring her in.

Mielikki was x-rayed, and as it turned out she was carrying two additional puppies. According to Dr. Montario if there were only one puppy, maybe we could have brought it out by giving her oxytocin and calcium. But with two pups still there, and one of them placed very far from the birth canal, he advised C-section. We agreed to do it. It was a good decision as the two pups were still OK. One of them was stuck very far in the uterine horn, and apparently Mielikki would not have been able to push it out.

So the final outcome is 7 puppies, 5 females and 2 males, ranging at birth from 7.6 oz (215 gr) to 10 oz (283 gr). They all are in a good shape. Mielikki bounced back really quickly, and on Friday afternoon was drinking, eating and cleaning the pups' bottoms. Friday night was completely uneventful, and today (Saturday) things continue to go well. All the puppies put on some weight. We will continue to report about the pups at our puppy journal. This is our U-litter, which means that registered names of the pups will be starting with the letter U. All the pups are spoken for.

A big thank you to everybody at Cobleskill Veterinary Clinic, who helped with Mielikki's litter!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Bavarian puppy for sale

Ron Jurnak from Granville, NY has a 4.5-month-old Bavarian puppy for sale due to a change in his work situation. The pup was bred by Martin Gnip, NY, and Ron has raised it in the house. The price is $1000. The phone # for Ron is 518-642-8019.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Keeping your tracking dog in shape!

by John Jeanneney

Now that tracking season is over, there’s a real risk that your dog will get soft and fat. You can’t keep him in shape by working  training line a week, and his excess energy may make him a difficult companion in the house. Exercise is needed for both dogs and people, and this is especially important as we get into middle age.  At 78 I like to think that older dogs and handlers are the most experienced and skillful, but we do have to pay attention to muscle tone and tummy tuck-up.

We all have worked hard to teach our tracking dogs that hot deer lines are a No! No! We are not ready to turn are dogs loose in the off season and run the risk that they will bump deer and forget what they have been taught. Depending on your own age and condition you can jog a few miles with them or “road” them from your ATV. Better yet train your dog to roam about off lead as you search together for sheds or trim out your deer stands for the upcoming season.

Taking a walk in the woods with your tracking dogs is not as simple as it should be. Labs and curdogs will usually stay fairly close. Hounds, including dachshunds, have a greater tendency to range out too far. Your dog must handle, stay in contact and explore the area within a 100 yards or so. If there is a problem with recall, the best solution is a remote (electronic) collar used gently and intelligently. If the dog drifts out and doesn’t respond to your voice, give him a buzz with the vibrator on the collar and follow up with a low level electric “nick”. The dog must have a clear idea of what “Come!” means before you begin this collar training. You have to work upward from the lowest electric nick levels until you find what is just powerful enough to get the attention of your dog. The sensitivity of individual dogs to electrical “stimulation” varies. Once your dog learns to associate the buzz of the vibrator and the mild electric shock, you will be able to communicate by vibrator alone. This means that you can let the dog work out around you without calling him and spooking any wildlife you might be interested in.

Long walks with your tracking dog in interesting terrain are something that will keep you both in shape for fall. Think how steep those hills are going to be if you let that belly fat build up. A word of caution for small dog folks:  Avoid dusk, after dark and early dawn outings. These are the hours when coyotes are on the move. I know of three cases where coyotes killed small dogs at night. One was my own Jack Russell, who was a great underground dog if not much of a tracker.

Some handlers are reluctant to let their dogs do anything but track wounded big game. What if the dog bumps a deer and forgets everything he has been taught? Actually mature dogs are more discriminating than we sometimes realize. For a smart, versatile pointing dog like a Drahthaar there is no contradiction between hunting birds  and tracking wounded deer. Dogs are very aware of cues. When the tracking collar and leash go on at the hit site, this is their signal to focus on the scent line of wounded big game.

Dachshunds and beagles can be used for both tracking and rabbit hunting. We consistently do this with our dachshunds. In both activities they use their running muscles and their noses. On rabbits they learn to work checks and backtracks; this enhances their blood tracking skills. For dachshunds competitive AKC field trials on cottontails are another activity to keep a tracking dog sharp and in shape.

Susanne Hamilton's Buster (FC Clown vom Talsdeich) 
is an outstanding blood tracker and winner of two 
Dachshund Club of America National field trials.
When you are dealing with versatile dogs, from dachshunds to Drahthaars, you do have to determine your priorities. If tracking wounded big game is going to be the most important activity, it is best to introduce the puppy to this sort of scent work first. As the young dog understands that tracking wounded big game is the most important thing in the world, he will learn to ignore rabbits or birds when tracking on the long leash. A Drahthaar may end up not being as high headed and wide ranging as a pheasant specialist, but he will perform both jobs well.

The more you work with your dog in different  hunting activities, the more the dog/handler cooperation will carry over from one activity to another. This brings to mind the career of Clary, my second wirehaired dachshund, and my most versatile dog of all time.

With Clary, I could not begin with training for tracking wounded deer. In 1971  this has not been legalized yet in any of the northern states. We started by hunting rabbits, squirrels and raccoons.  Clary was a puppy sensation until her first birthday. Then she crashed into six months of adolescence incompetence until her brain began to function well once more. At 18 months she rediscovered her old self confirming all my early hopes. Clary would run rabbits in daylight and ignore them at night when coons were our game. During the day she quickly sensed whether I was hunting pheasants or rabbits, and she would quarter closely or range farther out as the situation required. This early introduction to small game work is not what I would recommend today for every dog, but in Clary’s particular case it was not a problem.

When a DNR official with law enforcement credentials legally requested that I track a wounded deer, Clary took a bloodless  four hour line a quarter of a mile to the deer. Clary was then four years old and had never chased a healthy deer or tracked a wounded one. Yet Clary immediately sensed what I wanted her to do and acted as if she had been “blood tracking” all her life. Her earlier experiences of cooperation in hunting with me carried over to this new task.

In the case of most breeds a tracking dog does not have to be a specialist for just one thing. If you work with your dog year round, he will understand you and cooperate better during the tracking season. And he will stay in shape.

Clary von Moosbach with her dam Carla vom Rode. By the way, Carla was the first dachshund imported by John from Germany; she was born in February 1965.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Damian and Dachs von Tierspur - two very promising young blood trackers

I have a lot of catching up to with all the material that you, our patient readers, have been sending to us. This coming weekend, again, I will be at field trials in Maryland, but after I get back I hope to find more time for the blog.

This blog post talks about two brothers Damian and Dachs, who were bred by Genti and Beth Shero. The parents of these two very promising males are our Billy and the Sheros' Mae. A big thank you to Shaun and Walt for writing about the two brothers!

The first part of the post  is written by Shaun Brandenburg, a United Blood Trackers member from Winchester, OH. Shaun is an owner of Damian von Tierspur, whom he calls Buddy. The pictures were taken when Buddy was 6 months old. I have to say that in these pictures Buddy looks just like Billy, his sire.

This is what Shaun wrote:
 Just wanted to give you an update on Damian (aka Buddy) son of your Billy and The Sheros' Mae. He is now almost 9 months old and is just amazing in the field and the family. He is my first tracking dog, and I couldn't be happier with where we are at this point in the adventure. We have worked very hard and continue to do so as we enjoy what we are training for. We have had great support from our breeder and other trackers as well and give a great big thanks to all who have contributed to what we feel is success in training up to this point. Many who don't even know that they have been a great help and also drive for us to grow as a team. I am always checking your blog for new info in the story's in which you report, and you guys do a wonderful job and contribute a lot to the tracking community.

Shaun Brandenburg from Ohio with Buddy
A little info on the way we have trained up to this point, and then I will tell you how we have done it. In the beginning we did some liver drags and then we went to blood. He did very well with both most of the time. We had a few bumps, and I bet we will have a few more. From that point I went to hooves at about 4 1/2 months old and also diluted my blood 50/50 with water. Naturally was using less and less blood and things just seem to slowly get better and better as we worked each line week in and week out. 

Buddy at the age of 6 months

Now when I first started using the hooves all I had was tobacco sticks to attach the hooves to and that was no fun at all but it worked. I then designed and made my own shoes and I must say that was a game changer for me. It let myself open up and make some serious training lines for us to work. We have done 1,000 yard lines and we have done 300 yard lines. I try to mix it up and not just keep running those longer lines. It seems to work good for the pup and I feel it keeps it more real and not like we are just training for competitions. He has no problem going 1,000 yards and farther. I know a 1,000 yards isn't all that far but I feel very good about his ability to track to the next town if needed. 

Our last line was 24 hrs old and was laid with hooves with approximately 2 oz of blood watered down 50/50. This line was 600 + yards and started in the woods by a creek. At the hit site I always have some blood and hair, I forgot to mention that I use deer hair. I take the pup out to our starting point and tie him up about 20 ft or so from the hit site. I then walk to the site and stand there like I am investigating the area. I won't track until he calms down and is sitting there focused on the task at hand. This took awhile but it really seems to be paying off. 

I now go and get the pup and carry him over to the hit site and set him directly on the area. He sniffs around and we are off. Now he will usually go off track within the first 20 yards and smell up the area for a minute, then he picks it right back up and it's over after that. He works the turns like he is on a rail most of the time. When he does miss it puts a smile on my face to watch him figure out that the deer went another direction. He will make a circle until he picks up the line and that is all him. We cleared the first woods that had one creek to cross that is very steep and 5 or 6 turns in it. At this point we come to an open hay field that is 250 yards across. No problem for the pup even with a slight breeze. We leave the hay field and cross a old fence row (no fence there) into a soybean field from last year, another 200 yards across it with no problem and to the next small creek and back into the woods. I was very pleased, more liked thrilled the way he was working. We had a hill to cross and two more turns to recover our deer. The time on the track was just a few seconds over 13 min. I just wanted to share our progress and the way we have been training on our lines. A big thanks once again to all who have helped along the way.

Shaun Brandenburg Winchester,OH

Damian's brother Dachs lives in Tully, NY with Walt Dixon, who is a veteran Deer Search tracker and UBT member. Dachs has done very well in his training, and on April 16 was certified by Deer Search of Finger Lakes on a 20-hour-old line. He was not even 9 months old at the time. Walt continues to work with Dachs and recently had him 
on another blood trail, which was 22 hours old. He did well. Although Dachs is Deer Search Certified will continue his training and development.

Dachs is a handsome young dog