Some dogs use their sight, other dogs use their snout, and still others use both eyes and nose to hunt. Dogs can be used to hunt birds, fish, and ground animals such as rabbits. The most common breeds still used as traditional hunt dogs include hounds, gun dogs, feists, terriers and curs. Other dogs also make great hunt dogs:
- Labradors are great at catching pheasants, and they will spot, capture, and deliver prey.
- Chessies, which are only breed in the US, were used in market-hunting days to retrieve waterfowl shot down into the ice-cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
- Beagles make great rabbit-hunting dogs because they are incredibly fast and agile. Plus, the Beagle has one of the best dog noses in the canine community, coming in just behind scent hounds.
ALL Dogs Can Learn To "Hunt"
Dog noses are so wild that if a hunt dog is actively searching for something, almost nothing can distract him or her. It’s truly incredible to witness, and something ALL dogs have a chance to learn and enjoy. You don’t have to be an avid hunter, or even agree with hunting, to teach your dog how to hunt for things. Dogs enjoy the act of searching for a scent and then capturing it no matter what it is. You don’t need live animals in order to teach your dog how to hunt.
Nose Work As A Sport
The National Association of Canine Scent Work has identified Nose Work as a new sport for dog owners to recreationally participate in with their pups. Don’t think of Nose Work as training, because a dog should already have basic training before starting nose work. Instead, Nose Work is more of a fun activity you can do with your dog. Of course, some teaching is involved, as you are showing your dog that by following their nose to certain scents, and delivering it to you, a reward will be waiting. This means your dog will naturally want to go along because they are being rewarded for having fun and using their most powerful sense—their sense of smell.
Hunting Increases A Dog's Confidence
No matter if it’s for a toy, some food, or a fluttering birdy, dogs love to hunt and chase things. When they capture their hunt they feel good inside, and their confidence increases. Since dogs are our children with four-legs, these are all things we crave for them. Plus, your dog will have you to thank for learning how to sniff out rewards, strengthening your bond even further.
Dogs Of All Ages Benefit From Nose Work
For all of the hyper dogs out there that enjoy jumping around just a little too much, hunting tasks will tire them out and put their energy to good use. But your dog doesn’t have to be in the best shape to start participating in K9 Nose Work, in fact it’s good for retired dogs, and dogs that are recouping from an injury to learn how to hunt out objects. It gives them a purpose and helps them stay entertained and distracted.
How To Start Nose Work With Your Dog
The first step before training a dog to hunt is to make sure they have good yard skills. They come when called, recognize their name, and are obedient in all (or at least most) situations. you can start small by introducing certain smells to them and then asking them to find it. Have it hidden with a treat of some type, maybe their favorite toy or food to positively reward them for seeking out the scent.
The more fun things you can do with your dog, the better. Using their natural talents to come up with fun activities you can enjoy together is a great way to keep your dog happy. Teaching your dog how to hunt down a bone, or find a rabbit in a field of bushes provides an engaging way to use up some of their energy. Have we mentioned how much dogs love to hunt?!
Setting Your Dog Up For Success
Does your dog have a smooth, moist snout? If so your dog counts smelling among his greatest talents. But dogs with a dry or crusty nose might not be as inclined to hunt. Plus, if your dog has a rough, chapped, or dry dog nose, hunting may not come naturally. Afterall, they can’t smell so good. If your dog’s nose is lacking moisture then his sense of smell — and possibly even his wellbeing — is off. Thankfully our all-natural healing balm Snout Soother can give your dog the relief they need to get a smooth nose back to start learning how to hunt.
Snout Soother is packed with a high quality, organic ingredients picked especially for their soothing and healing qualities. Within days of application, your dog’s nose will look better and smell better, allowing you to start teaching your dog how to hunt for just about anything!