DocBrady's tracking pack

Is it possible to buy a started or finished dog? Either in the USA or import? Never trained a retriever, pointer, or tracker.
You would have a lot better luck finding a started dog than a finished dog. I have only seen a few finished dogs for sale and they were several thousand dollars. Furthermore, you need to learn how to read and handle the dog, as well as continue its training in order to keep it at its best. I may be selling one of my finished dogs to make room for an imported dog (the problem with the search for a "perfect" dog). I think I already have a buyer, though. He will spend a couple of days with me and the dog working tracks, so that he can make the most of the dog. It's very difficult to get rid of a dog that I have 2 years of work invested in, but I will be happy if he goes to a good tracking home with plenty of love and attention.
Check out my website blog for some training tips ;).
I have a wired hair pointing griffin that looks similar to your dogs. Are they somewhat related. I wonder how good she would be with training. I have had her find my last 5-6 deer and she has done it very easy. Most were all short trails with lots of blood. I put her on one my dad shot this year. We couldn't find any blood, she found blood 30 yards from the shot and tracked for a couple hundred yards until it went into a swamp and couldn't find where or if it came out. I think it was a shoulder hit. They are a great family dog, you can not tire her out, and she points partridge with no training. I am really surprised there are not more of them around, she does not like heat though. Just wondered if you had an experience with them.
I have a wired hair pointing griffin that looks similar to your dogs. Are they somewhat related. I wonder how good she would be with training. I have had her find my last 5-6 deer and she has done it very easy. Most were all short trails with lots of blood. I put her on one my dad shot this year. We couldn't find any blood, she found blood 30 yards from the shot and tracked for a couple hundred yards until it went into a swamp and couldn't find where or if it came out. I think it was a shoulder hit. They are a great family dog, you can not tire her out, and she points partridge with no training. I am really surprised there are not more of them around, she does not like heat though. Just wondered if you had an experience with them.
Wonderful dogs from my limited experience. I nearly purchased one when I was first looking for a tracking dog. I visited with a guy in Alaska who uses both a DD and WPG. The DD seems to be a little more "gamey", in general, but he said his WPG was more "intellectual" when working out tough tracks. They don't have nearly the showing in the German tracking tests, but that doesn't mean they don't make good trackers. I always tell folks, "If you already have the dog, you should give it a shot."
The WPG and wachtelhund have different lineages despite some similarities.
Tracking training never ceases. The dogs continue to work practice tracks to keep their skills up. It also helps me to evaluate weaknesses, and work on weaknesses discovered during the season. Layla got a bad shake at her first season. A dog's first tracks should be relatively easy to build confidence and drive. Layla had a string of very difficult tracks early in the season, and was left at home on difficult tracks later in the year.
Still, she hold promise to be the best of the dogs that I have trained. She has an excellent nose and tons of determination. Her youth is her biggest hindrance. Avoiding distractions or as the Germans say, "deceptions" is the key to a making the transformation to a magnificent dog. Today she worked a 23 hour old track that covers 600 meters. It was made with hoof shoes and only 1/2 once of blood! That folks is just a few drops every 20-30 yards. I also left gaps of 50 yards or longer at a couple of spots. The track received 1/2" of snow overnight, and was run in 19 degree weather with a 10 mph wind. She did not run the track 100% perfectly, but only required a couple of recalls which is not bad for a dog just barely a year old. Each track feeds her motivation as there is plenty of raw deer burger and a good game of tug with a piece of hide waiting at the end of each trail. I have high hopes for her even as I continue my search for a European tracking wonder!
Echo ran a 48 hour old track earlier this week with almost no assistance despite 1/2 of rain having fallen. Both dogs have excellent "careers" ahead of them.
Echo did great on a two day old track with rain in the mix. I am looking forward to Layla gaining her experience.

Appreciate the information you share - it is very helpful.

My search for "the perfect dog" may be coming to a close for the moment. Three breeds had captured my interest, the Alpine Dachsbracke, the Styrian coarse haired bracke and the Hanoverian Hound. I had been offered a place on the waiting list for a Dachsbracke by the Austrian breed club, which surprised me. However, getting specific answers to questions via correspondence was very difficult, largely due to the language barrier. Getting a reply into my inquiries about the SCHB was impossible. Also the breeding base is extremely limited, and currently undergoing some out crossing to limit hereditary issues. I hope to own one sometime in the future as I think they would be very well suited to our tracking conditions. I think I have settled with the Hanoverian Hound. I was reluctant to consider this breed in the beginning as they are closely related to the Bavarian mountain Hound. My experience with the BMH I owned was less than perfect. Great dog, but way too sensitive for my liking. They don't do well with any harsh correction, yet are also hard headed. I have found a breeder of Hanover hounds with very sound, confident dogs. The dam is used for man trailing, the site for blood tracking. The parents are both on the smaller end of the size spectrum 50-60 pounds, which is also a plus for me. Hanovers can go over 90 pounds which is way too much dog to handle in thick forest. I am hopeful that I will get a bold, confident dog from the mix that is a good match for my needs. A puppy aptitude test will be used to pick a pup of the right temperament for my needs. I hope to have a pup by late spring or early summer if all goes well.
In order to get a new pup, my wife insisted that one of the pack find a new home. Echo has been my best producer over the past two seasons, and is also the dog that is the most laid back of my group. He loves everybody, and goes with the flow better than my other dogs. His easy going attitude makes him the best choice for re-homing to a good tracking home. I have a buyer that is very interested, and is supposed to come out to do some training with me in the near future. His young family will be a good fit, I believe. Also, Echo will make the transition to full time inside dog, which he will love. He should get plenty of tracking action to keep him entertained, as well. Finding a fully trained tracking dog is nearly impossible, as they are worth their weight in gold. However, without getting the new owner trained, Echo will end up being a simple couch potato, which I don't want to see. A couple of days laying and running tracks should get the new owner off to a good start and ensure a prosperous tracking partnership. It's hard to get rid of such a great dog and companion, but the search for perfection in a tracking dog is an affliction.
In the meantime, Layla is the focus of my attention. She had a rough first season, yet has all the traits that I look for in a great dog...great nose, high tracking drive, and intelligence. She has the wonderful potential, but just hasn't put it all together yet. I will depend upon her as my primary tracking dog next season, if Echo is gone. That means that she needs to be up to the task. We are running tough tracks at least once a week, and she rarely disappoints. We have also been drilling lots of obedience recently. She is a very bright dog, and learns new tasks quickly. She is healing at my side very nicely no matter my pace. I initially use a "healing stick" when initially teaching this command. This lets the dog know where to keep its nose in relation to my leg. Any time she gets a bit too far ahead the stick gives her a sharp tap to the chest or light tap to the nose. A few trips around the yard, and she knows what is expected. A few fifteen minute sessions over the past week, and she is healing with style. In addition to healing, we also have been sharpening up a solid "place" command. For my purposes, I have her lay down on a towel or dog bed at various locations around the yard. She is currently remaining in place for 10 minutes at a time without any trouble. Like the heal command, she understood what I wanted from her after only a few minutes of practice. Now the goal is increasing the length of time that she will stay in place, even with distractions. Eventually, I will be able to place her on a piece of cloth during tracks while I search an area, and know that she will be there when I return. This can be a very useful command. A solid "down" is also a command that is both useful and important. Teaching this command is always the toughest of the basic commands in my opinion. Getting the dog to drop into the proper position takes some time and patience. Too much pressure, and the dog ends up on its back or side. Too little pressure, and the dog will not fully drop into position. This is a command that I have not worked on much with Layla until now. After a short session today, she was doing quite well. I like to keep the training session short with this command because it puts a fair amount of stress on the dog until it figures out exactly what you expect it to do. A pinch collar helps apply pressure without choking the dog. This is a great tool for teaching many leash commands, and is an easy transition to an ecollar. I will try to get some video of Layla working through the learning process, and get it posted.
I look forward to the video. I think the lab in Layla will make her easier to train. Rowdy can sit and he's running a track every day that weather permits.
I still need to put together a video, but work has me very busy so obedience training is on hold for a few days. I did get a chance to lay a couple of very tough tracks over the weekend for the younger two dogs. Both were put down in timber with lots of deer. Tracks were about 400 meters long, laid with hoof shoes and about 1/2 oz of blood. We ran them 24 hours later. Echo was up first, and ran his track with style. He was nearly perfect, but got off on a deer trail for a short time before making a circle and correcting himself without any verbal correction. Layla has been doing well, so I was excited to see her work. Unfortunately, she was distracted by all the fresh deer scent and missed the first turn, even after 2 restarts. To make matters worse, my GPS batteries had died, and I couldn't remember exactly where I had laid the track. After a few attempts, I gave up and let Echo have a shot at the same trail. He didn't miss a beat despite our milling around in the area. He made short work of the tough trail, and made it to the finish without breaking a sweat. He is really coming along. Unfortunately, I have a very interested buyer that is coming to look at him next week, and will probably be taking him to a new home to make room for the new Hanoverian pup. I hope I am selling the right dog! Layla has great potential, but hasn't put things together quite like Echo has. Time will tell if keeping Layla was the right choice. Regardless, Echo should recover truckloads of deer during his lifetime.
For those who are interested, I am putting together a YouTube page so that I can post training videos to the forum.
Both Layla and Echo are becoming very dependable after only a few 10 minute sessions. Commands that we are working on are "sit/stay", "down/stay", "heal", and "place." These are the only obedience commands that I use with my tracking dogs with the exception of "come", which is the most important command for safety reasons and is taught very early. Sit/stay was also taught to both dogs early, but is being reinforced. Also getting a good sit or down at a distance is on the training agenda. Unfortunately, the viewer won't get a good picture of how to handle the "resistance" that is initially encountered when a dog is learning a new command because the dogs are moving ahead more quickly than anticipated, and video has been limited. When the new pup comes along, I will try to post more "start to finish" types of video.
On another note, I watched a very interesting video of a lecture from the United Kingdom Scent Hound Association, which is akin to the tracking clubs in Germany. They showed a graphic derived from over 1 million documented tracks which demonstrated some statistics of note. Recovery on wounded animals which were tracked with a trained tracking dog was 80% if the hunter hadn't adulterated the trail with blind searching. If the hunter used a leashed dog (not a dog specifically trained for that purpose), the recovery rate fell to 40%, and if the hunter used an unleashed dog the recovery rate for a trained tracking team fell to 20%. Keep in mind that these are almost exclusively rifle shot animals. I would bet that these statistics are very close to the statistics we have here in the States, only substitute "grid search" for the use of an untrained dog. The very hardest thing for a tracking dog to overcome during a track is a trail which has been greatly disturbed by blind searching by a hunter, or worse yet, group of hunters. The lecturer gave great advice to the hunters and trackers at the meeting, telling them that once the blood trail seemed to stop or become hard to follow, they should get out of the woods and call for help. American hunters would be well served to do the same in areas where blood tracking dogs are available.
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Well, today was a bittersweet day. I had a couple come out to look at Echo with the anticipation of purchasing him as a tracking dog. I had laid a couple of tracks yesterday to demonstrate his ability. Both tracks were made purposely difficult, knowing full well that he might struggle some. I wanted to give them an honest look at his ability. Shortly into my first track, the GPS batteries failed (gotta remember to bring extras). Both tracks were essentially run blind,and he performed exceptionally well. Then we laid a track together for teaching purposes. After laying the track we went over some of his obedience training, and again he looked like a champ on all commands. He was also being his normal lovable self which didn't hurt. The third track gave him little challenge being only a few hours old, and the prospective buyer was allowed to hold the leash and work the dog. He did well having never run a tracking dog. After some additional pointers he really handled the line well. By day's end we had all had an enjoyable day, and the couple was in love with my little bundle of tracking joy. Echo will be going to his new home in a couple of weeks. He has been a great dog, and should do very well for this family. He will also be transitioning to a full time inside dog which he will love. When he is not tracking he will have a great family to snuggle up with.
Meanwhile, my wait continues. Ny, the Hanoverian Hound has still not come into heat. Hopefully soon!
Echo has a good place to go to and hopefully you get a good replacement soon.

You did a great service coaching the future dog owner. Shows you love your dog!

The new owner and his wife have a young daughter, and Echo loves kids. This guy spent 4 days searching for a buck this past season when he couldn't get a tracker. He is dedicated to hunting, and has great respect for the game he pursues. His father was a professional hunter (guide) in Africa for many years. It is a perfect match. We will spend more days together in the future to see how he is progressing. Along with the dog, I am providing him much of the resources and tools that he will need to continue training. It is important to me that they both succeed. Echo is a gifted dog, and I want him to recover many more deer in his lifetime. My wife refers to Echo as "my money maker." He has earned many times what I sold him for in tracking fees over the past 2 years. Should the gentleman choose to use him to track for others he will pay for himself next season. Thankfully he lives on the other side of the state, and is planning on moving back to North Carolina in the near future because I promised Brushpile that I wouldn't sell my best tracking dog to someone locally. Some competition is good. Too much competition, and we don't have enough tracks to keep our dogs in tip top shape. Having both the hunter/tracker and Echo achieve success is important, otherwise he just bought an expensive (and might I add, well behaved) mutt. It's hard to part with a dog who has become part of the family, but it is easier when you see him develop and flourish in his new home.