Our pups reached 10 weeks of age yesterday and we decided it was time to take them out to observe a “real hunting” situation.
We started by loading the mama dogs-Lil Bit and Molly then the daddy dog Boomer. These 3 are great workers with few flaws and that’s really want you want to start young pups with.
The grown dogs had not been out hunting in months but did not miss a step. However when they returned home they were sore and exhausted. That’s why we kept the hunt down to around 90 minutes.
In this nearly 30 minute long video you will be able to see the pups navigate the creek with steep banks, water and underbrush all without a single whimper! This is a direct result of the work we have put in and that you can see in the previous Patterdale Terrier Puppy Training videos.
In those videos we have presented most every challenge they would encounter in the woods-from tunnels to crossing creeks and navigating underbrush. They had developed the basic skills and confidence to join a hunt BEFORE ever stepping a paw on the creek. We were really proud of them.
During the hunt, when they encounter an obstacle we stop and coax them along and let them solve the challenge themselves. It’s natural to want to help them along and sometimes you must- but it’s also important that THEY solve the challenges they face. If you pick them up and carry them over every log or up every steep bank- they will grow to expect it from you later in life every time they get in a bind. It’s only natural.
Most our dogs are broke off skunk with the help of multiple encounters, but in the middle of the video Lil Bit and Daisy stick their heads in a hole and get sprayed before quickly leaving it.
Later in the video, Lil Bit locates a coon a drift on the creek they had been “winding” for sometime. By the time we arrive and make it through the drifts and brush they pretty well have the small coon finished.
This was a good opportunity to introduce the pups to their first real fur. They were super excited and did quite a bit of baying as is normal for an interested pup at this age.
In the end, I always attach the coon or possum or whatever it is to a lead and drag it along the bank to work the pups up and get them to associate the scent trail that’s being left behind with the quarry that we are dragging.
What you see in this video will really be what we will be doing with them over the course of the next few months. It’s the fun part where you get out and watch them learn in the field.
If you don’t have an older dog to train your pups with-don’t worry. You will have to bring them along slower- keep looking through debris piles for rats- turn stuff over and get them excited then “pet them up”. When they have mastered the rats moving up to bigger game is just a natural progression for them! In our area Possums and Armadillos are a favorite for pups because there is little chance of them getting hurt. Personally I would not introduce a pup on his own to a raccoon until he was around 8 months of age or more. Of course this depends on the pup, but I feel it’s better to work them at a young age with other dogs to keep building early confidence and to protect them from too much damage.
Later, if you are a “one on one” person that has the need to see your dog pitted against game that can inflict damage on him, in a solo situation- that’s completely up to you.
When you are forced to raise a pup up “solo” its a much slower process, but in the end you often have a much better terrier for it as he/she has learned everything on their own and have unmatched confidence. Just don’t get them in a situation where they get tore up badly!
When you get a well bred terrier, it’s up to YOU what kind of hunter he becomes- so get out early- get out often and do YOUR part.