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Old October 18th, 2019, 12:32 AM #1
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Anyone here taught a pup to find shed antlers?

My old dog died 2 months ago, so I got a blue heeler pup shortly afterwards and of course I want to train him to find sheds. I found an amazing shed about 4 years ago at a farm I trap and could never find the other half. I hated that I could not find the other side. My eyesight sucks at distance and/or in thick stuff, so spotting them is harder than ever for me. Plus I seem to have a neurological disorder causing body pain that I am in the process of being checked out. My list of things that give me pleasure is diminishing ( deer hunting is nearly crossed off the list at this point due to low light vision sucking horribly), so a shed hunting dog would be great.
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Old October 18th, 2019, 12:09 PM #2
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I taught mine (a standard poodle) by initially giving him antlers to chew, which he then sniffed out when we went hiking. I'd praise him and give him treats for every one he brought me when we were hiking (even old bones). Worked well, he found a 12-pointer pair a few years ago. Good luck!
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Old October 18th, 2019, 12:13 PM #3
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I don't know the answer to your question , but understand about losing some of the things i used to do . It seems everyone has some issues with health one way or another . I wish you the best in finding new things that bring that joy .
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Old October 21st, 2019, 01:02 PM #4
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The above method will work. Get him excited about antlers. Do some pitch and fetch with them and praise him big time when he brings it to you. Freak out you are praising so much. Then set up a situation where you've got a shed in a field and he doesn't know about it, walk him towards it, and when he finds it, praise praise praise. A few drills like that should be all it takes if he's got some hunting instinct in him. I've got my dog "force fetch" trained so she will do this for me with anything (we do it for lost shot birds but she'll also bring me bones, antlers, etc.) This should be a fun thing for the two of you to work on and get good at! His nose makes up for your vision. Perfect team!
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Old October 21st, 2019, 01:07 PM #5
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Adorable pup Foxtrapper! Hope the pup will find some sheds for ya.
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Old October 21st, 2019, 01:16 PM #6
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Agree with everything above.

You can build drive within the dog by routinely hiding antlers around the house
and tying it to a command like "Find it". Reward with food or attention when he finds the antler.

This will keep him interested in finding them because he never really knows when it could be time to search.

Awesome looking pup!
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Old October 21st, 2019, 01:22 PM #7
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my black lab seems to have zero interest in antlers since he can't chew them up and eat them. Every other bone he will demolish if we don't take it away from him then go puke up all the bone splinters.
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Old October 21st, 2019, 02:01 PM #8
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I'd start out in a smaller room

Just put the antlers in an easy to find spot with some cheese(strong smell) sitting on them.

let him find them, praise.

then move to 2 rooms, easy to find, same treat

start making it harder to find, but still use the treat

then go back to easy to find with no treat and start again

use the command "antlers" every time from day 1.

eventually, you should be able to come into an area and call antlers and have him excited to go looking.

often, we train inside, but life and distractions happen outside, so just get him excited about it inside **and outside** where the distractions come into place. Might be cheese, praise, a toy ball for a reward, whatever works best for your pup.


I'm no dog trainer, but have tons of fun through the years training my dogs and my neighbors bird dogs and bear dogs. That relationship built when training is golden.


Have fund with it. Good looking dog you have there!
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Old October 21st, 2019, 02:41 PM #9
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Start with fake antlers like these https://www.gundogsupply.com/dog-bon...iABEgJVGfD_BwE

This will help the dog learn how to carry sheds and protect them from accidentally poking themself with a real antler and becoming afraid of them.
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Old October 21st, 2019, 09:28 PM #10
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