At Silver Banded Retrievers, we teach dogs to blood trail to help find wounded deer. We also do your basic gun dog training and upland dog training as well. With Daisy, what we did was ran her through a series of obedience training. We want a dog to be very obedient in the field and around the house. With our dogs tracking off lead, it’s important for them to be able to listen when they’re in the field working and even at the house when we want them to do something when you’re just hanging out. After the obedience training, we put the dogs through our blood tracking program which is a 2-month program that teaches the dogs to identify the smell of blood, follow the track, and recover your downed game.
Dogs are so vital for deer hunters. We want to make the most ethical shot possible, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen and being able to use the dog to recover that game is so important. Through the blood tracking process, we use nothing but strictly deer blood. We want dogs to follow the scent of the blood and not the deer. Teaching them to smell blood, what it means, and that there’s always a reward at the end is so important. What we basically do is lay a mock trail for the dogs to follow. Through time, that track becomes more difficult and harder for the dog. We try to put the dog through the most rigorous test and training so when the client gets the dog to take back home and puts them in the field, hopefully, we’ve exposed them to everything.
It’s a team effort and not just all dog and all nose but sometimes the handler has to pay attention to details as well. We try to share as much of that information as possible. In today’s times, technology is so important with GPS tracking collars and things of that nature. You kind of know where a dog has been and where you’ve been and if you happen to lose scent or blood, you can segment out the areas where you haven’t been and cover that ground and hopefully the dog can pick back up on something. These dogs learn that, over time, there’s more to it than just the smelling of the blood. A deer has a scent gland on the bottom of its hoof that puts off a distress smell when its wounded and those dogs learn to pick up on that as well. So sometimes if the blood stops, they learn what that smell is over time and are still able to track that deer and can recover it.
What I enjoy most about my training and working with these dogs is being able to see them from start to finish and that finished product. When a dog first comes to us, they’re still learning and not a whole lot of knowledge is in that brain of theirs. When they leave it’s like they’re a well-oiled machine. Being able to just see that process and just watch the dogs grow from a maturity standpoint and a physical standpoint, it’s a really neat thing to see. It’s like a building project, watching it start from scratch and building up and then watching them have success. There’s nothing more that I enjoy than during the hunting season, getting calls or texts from our clients and talking about the great track that their dog was on or a big deer that was found. There’s just something about hearing the joy in that client’s voice and knowing that they’re satisfied with the results of their little pup.