2) Training methods have improved dramatically in the last 50 years.
I have had hounds and retrievers...with both I want a well behaved dog that can be a good companion around the house. I want them to sit until I tell them to get up and not be a punk when someone comes to my house. Teaching a dog discipline and that you are in charge will keep them happier as it fits into their pack mentality.
I am a big fan of this lady for obedience work: https://www.dogtrainersworkshop.com/online-training-home/new-dog-or-puppy-owner
training should take no more than a few minutes a day when they are small and then lengthens as the dog ages and their attention span improves. Put nothing into your puppy or wait until they are older and you get back what you put in....
I just wish I could run an e-collar on my kids....
Something to check into.
First thing, bond with that dog. Keep him in the house. BMCs are pack animals and have to have a physical presence with the family. I consider this a must for the mental health of this breed. Never get heavy handed with a BMC. They love deeply but its reputedly easy to lose their trust. They're very smart, anyway, a gruff voice or dominant posture is really all that's needed.
Teach him to eat on command. I use "Wait" to hold him and then whatever release word you want. Gently hold him back by the collar at first and then release when he stops fighting the hold and relaxes. As he advances, extend the hold time. This will be the basis of all future training.
House breaking - use the "show method." I picked a 3 day holiday weekend, drank plenty of water and diuretics (coffee or beer). Every time I needed to urinate, I went outside and peed in the grass. ALWAYS took the dog, obviously. NEVER urinated in the house during this training. I announced my intention by the command I wanted to use to que the dog to go pee in the future (i.e. "Go Pee-pee"). By the end of the second day, Emmet was peeing outside. I know it sounds ridiculous but, if that dog has a seed in his shell, he will be house broken in that weekend and the wife will think your a dog whisperer.
SOCIALIZE the dog with other dogs while he is young consistently. Take special care he does not get in fights or gets roughed up by an older dog. BMCs are notorious for being dog sharp and are jealous pets. When I raised my pup, I was so focused on his training that it was just me and him for years; he had no socialization. I inadvertently reinforced his natural protective instinct and that made him a handling problem when other dogs were around - particularly dogs his size or bigger. Dog parks, pet stores, hardware stores, etc. That stated, the breed is naturally very good with humans.
The blood tracking was easy because I had a mentor with plenty of experience and a source for cow blood(Bowsite's very own Tony Oliver). Our friend would get buckets of cow blood from Tony and blend them in a blender, divvy up in water 12-16 oz bottles for freezing and have a ready supply for laying tracks. Laying tracks was typically done at a walking pace dropping blood every few feet while holding the bottle at arms length. Use an extra bottle with a hole cut in it for dropping. Lay short, straight tracks to start. Do not introduce turns or terrain features until he nails the simple ones. Buy the books mentioned above. "Rewards" are somewhat individualistic. I did not use any; Emmet did not need them but, if I did, I would lay out a large chunk of frozen deer hide. Get a heavy collar and thick rope lead. This serves multiple functions, 1) the "heavy gear" and drag of the lead que the dog that he's in tracking mode. Be consistent with this and it will pay dividends. 2) the long rope allows you to walk behind the dog and stop him by stepping on the lead. Don't get in his way. When tracking, don't let people out in front of or amongst the dog. Your primary goal as a tracker is to control the knuckleheads who will complicate the track or distract the dog. Teach your dog to lay down while tracking so he does not work too hard and start panting. The dog can't scent the track if he's busy blowing hot air. Remember, tracking is a low key, zen like experience.:)
However possible, get your hands on deer blood. They can train fine 80% of the time on cow blood but it's nice to lay an occasional deer blood track so you can see how they react. They usually get a little more tuned in on deer blood. I reckon its mineral content(??) but they will run deer blood with more enthusiasm. I hunted with a couple of empty water bottles and dipped out of the cavity. You can also harvest the liver and cut in strips, though I never had to do so.
The treeing training requires more dedication. To start, take your pup on multiple short "hunts" with easy squirrels. I would drive 1/2 hour to a park where I could long line Emmet and let him tree the ever present squirrels. After your dog gets the hang of it, take him to the woods only. It is possible to spoil the pup out on easy prey. I would not show your dog a caged squirrel except maybe once. Praise him every time he reacts to target game with a "prey drive." BMCs are usually silent on the track but bark treed nicely. If you hear him open up while on track, he's probably running a deer or rabbit. In season, you can shoot squirrels over him. Let him get his mouth on it. Praise him up. DO NOT SHOOT OUT SQUIRRELS THAT HE DOES NOT TREE. He will miss some, don't sweat it. Back away and circle the tree, if he does not tree, move on. It happens. You'll wreck him if you get impatient or shoot out game he doesn't earn. Intervals are IMPORTANT. Many short hunts (10 minutes or so) in a week are infinitely better than 1 long hunt Saturday morning. In my experience, if they get squirrels, coons are a non-issue. And they LOVE coons.
I could go on and on... I love the breed. There's a reason Ole' Yeller is a story based on a BMC. If you have any comments or questions, I'd be glad to be a sounding board or offer the lessons of Emmet's successes and my failures. lol The tree game in particular can be a head scratcher at times. I'd like to know who your breeder in GA is. I may have heard of him/her. Best wishes. Share pics as available!
My focus is going to be on tracking to start with, with plans to add the treeing game in later if things go well. Do you think there is any negative with not starting the treeing right away?
He will be about 6 months old in our archery season here this fall and I was hoping that he would be ready to work some easy 100 yd doublelung type bloodtrails by that point. I've got lots of friends and family that bowhunt and would be very willing to let me help track the easy ones if I want to. Is that a reasonable expectation or is that anticipating too much from a 6 month old dog? I really don't know what a training timeline looks like for a pup.
I'll definitely keep in touch as I'm kind of out on my own here. PA just legalized using tracking dogs this spring so there really isn't a strong tracking community in the area.
If this is a different handle, this is Feedjake. I changed my handle a while back on my work computer but my home computer refuses to update.
The tree work is more difficult and, if you're serious about it, don't delay. It takes 3-4 years to make a tree dog. The 2 disciplines will not interfere with each other. I would place my early emphasis on obedience and socialization, anyway. (Certain commands you'll need to focus on: "Wait," "Sit," "Lay," "Load Up," "Come" (or their equivalents) will be 90% of your dog vocabulary.
He will be about 6 months old in our archery season here this fall and I was hoping that he would be ready to work some easy 100 yd doublelung type bloodtrails by that point. I've got lots of friends and family that bowhunt and would be very willing to let me help track the easy ones if I want to. Is that a reasonable expectation or is that anticipating too much from a 6 month old dog? I really don't know what a training timeline looks like for a pup. I would introduce him to blood and evaluate his interest as soon as possible. If you can, I would take blood to the breeder if you are going to pick him up there. Have someone pour a tablespoon or so on the ground when the time is right. Not when he first sees you or is playing with litter mates etc. In other words, it has to be a calm moment. At this age, you don't need to see anything but a recognition or interest. An abiding (or investigative) interest would sell him on the spot if it was me.
Don't expect much out of a 6 month old, at all. You'll still be working on basic obedience and you should have a handle on that before you track because he needs to focus on tracking when in the act. Try a couple of short tracks but don't overdo it. Introduce him by lead and from a distance to a deer carcass. Always reward interest with praise. Have him around for gutting and throw him some liver or heart.
In his first season, I wouldn't put him on anymore than 2 "sure thing" tracks. Again, you can spoil his expectations if he gets used to slam dunks early on. Paris Hilton's purse dog can blood track a double lunged whitetail in less than 5 minutes. That's not your goal. Don't get impatient.
Since you mentioned friends, there is a strict protocol you will have to follow when blood tracking. Friends don't get to participate up where you and your dog will be. They have to hang back. Way back. That'll piss off the guy who wants to lead the dog to the deer or walk all over the track trying to help but I wouldn't track for someone who won't stay out the dog's way. If the dog knows a friend or 2 well enough to trust them, they can assist by stepping on the drag line (30-45 feet long) but that's about it. Family is an exception - if they're in "the pack," they can be involved, though, even they have be taught to be seen and not heard. That's the way I learned and it makes sense. Much of our efforts are about GETTING OUT OF THE WAY.lol
I'll definitely keep in touch as I'm kind of out on my own here. PA just legalized using tracking dogs this spring so there really isn't a strong tracking community in the area. I'm more than happy to help. By no means an expert, I can at least help you avoid my mistakes. :) I'll PM with my contact information.
may latest drahthaar pup tracked his first bow shot deer @ 4 months old.
Smith is also a great resource for beginner to advance training of a upland bird dog but since you’re interested in wounded big game tracking advice see the posts above for those suggestions since I’ve got zero experience training for that skill. That said all of my dogs learned to track chukar, pheasants and quail on their own really quickly after being familiarized with the game so I don’t think that skill requires much training beyond reinforcing instinctual desires.