Teaching the Dog Not to Chase Deer

By Jim & Phyllis Dobbs and Alice Woodyard

In the last six articles, we have covered the three-action introduction to the Tri-Tronics collar including the "Whoa" command. We covered the stop to flush with honoring, we taught the dog not to creep, and we taught him a good hunting pattern. Now that the dog is out in the field for his training, he is likely to bump up a rabbit or other undesirable game, and it is time to teach him not to chase "off game."

Teaching the dog not to chase deer

Step 1--Teaching the dog to leave a scent trail alone

Leave the dog in the truck and scout an area where deer are plentiful. When you bump one up, watch the direction the deer goes.

Now get your dog and bring him to the area where the deer was. Send the dog off to hunt so that he will cross the deer's fresh track.

As soon as the dog starts to run the deer's trail, use the collar to cause the dog to associate immediate displeasure with following the scent trail. Begin with the low button, and if the dog ignores it and continues to follow the deer scent, go to medium and then to high. Release the button when the dog stops running the trail. It is best to say nothing to the dog; let him discover on his own that following deer scent leads to discomfort.

You should use continuous stimulation, and the intensity plug in the collar should be the same one you normally use when training your dog. In other words, the right level of stimulation for this exercise is a moderate level, not too hot. You don't want the dog to become fearful of deer scent, which might happen if you started off with too high a level of intensity. You just want him to leave deer scent alone.

Repeat the procedure in several different locations until the dog will cross a fresh deer track and leave it alone.

Step 2--Stopping a sight chase

Even though the dog has now learned to leave deer scent trails alone, many dogs will still chase a running deer because of the excitement of the visual attraction. They will not necessarily equate the displeasure of following a scent trail with the sight of a running animal.

To teach the dog not to sight chase, take him with you as you walk through an area where there are lots of deer. As soon as the dog takes off after a deer, use the collar to stop the dog.

When breaking the dog from sight chasing, the intensity plug in the collar should be two levels higher than the one you normally use on the dog for yard work (or level 5, whichever comes first). You will have to use the higher level because the dog will be very excited and probably will not feel a low intensity level. Use continuous stimulation, and release the button as soon as the dog gives up the chase.

Repeat the procedure in another location, and continue to do so until the dog is no longer interested in chasing deer. Often, just one or two sessions are enough to convince a dog that he doesn't want to chase deer. However, a dog that already has a history of chasing deer will usually need more sessions before he stops trying to chase than the dog that has never had the chance to learn that chasing deer is fun.

Teaching the dog not to chase other animals

To teach the dog not to chase other animals, such as rabbits, mice, cats and livestock, follow the same procedure you did for stopping the dog from sight chasing deer (Step 2, above). It is easy to teach the dog not to chase other animals if you have already used the Tri-Tronics collar to teach him not to chase deer.

Coming in the next article

We have now finished the first year of a series of topics on beginning training techniques for pointers using the Tri-Tronics collar. If you have any topics you'd like to see covered in future articles, please call or write us at the Tri-Tronics Training Center, 9627 Spring Valley Road, Marysville, CA 95901. Phone: 1-916-741-0375.

First appeared in:
Pointing Dog Journal
, January/February 1994

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