Piper (The Swiss Army Knife)

Heck yeah they help. I almost need a note pad to remind myself. I get caught up with her progress and get excited. I agree 100% with your assessment about a dog.

On the same dog but different subject I just talked with her breeder and he's offered me a 100% refund if wanted. I told him that I appreciate it and might take him up on it later on if it turns out she needs surgery and won't be able to breed. But in the mean time we'll just be patient. I really appreciated him doing that..

Keep the tips coming. It's like I have all the smart kids sitting around me at school!!!

Thanks again

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
Update February 14th, 2017

Per DoctorBrady's advice I have been working on using Piper's name followed by the command. I have taken out the "stay" aspect of her "sit" and "down" commands. She has responded well. I'll use either command and walk about 8-10 steps away. We're up to 4 minutes on both of the commands before she gets stir crazy and starts to move. I expect this to increase with age. At 20-30 steps she's good for up to 2 minutes on average. I have been thoroughly pleased and proud.

She is doing amazing with the "leave it" command and the ever "no bite" which isn't really a command but none the less I like that she is attentive and listens. She has also learn to look at my eyes and not my hand when we work. It only took a couple times of not getting a reward for her to pick that up. When I call her name she looks at me.

Her retrieving has also improved significantly. She'll retrieve almost any object knowing the praise and reward is waiting for her. We get about 5-7 throws in sometimes at pretty good distances before she gets side tracked. She's doing pretty good at waiting to be released before she retrieves. I've accomplished this by working on her patience by making her sit about 4 feet in front of her food bowl while I feed her. I only let her go to her bowl after she is under her own control and only when I give her the "send command" which is her name followed by a hand gesture.

I plan on working her sight retrieval this upcoming week by employing techniques learned from Scotty's training.

She also doing really well in the kennel and sleeps through the night without fuss. She also is grasping the concept of outside and using the bathroom.

Other than the concern about her inverted vulva I honestly couldn't be any more pleased. A hunting buddy of mine who got a "papered black lab" 2 weeks before I got Piper brought his pup over the other day. It didn't take long to see how far ahead she was compared to him. I credit her success to her ability to learn and my buddy's lack of control of his dog on him (not the puppy). I mentioned this forum and the wealth of information I've received so far, coupled with my own experiences but he likes to do things on his own so it is what it is. Either way it was a proud handler moment for me and it left me feeling good. I know we'll have our short comings but like I said. I am extremely happy so far.

I hoping this week to work on her run to allow her more exercise during the day. I'll try to post pictures later. Thanks again for all of the help.


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
Take a picture of her vulva and post it here. There are a couple vets on board. I've seen it with a few small breed dogs, but never a lab.

We took this the other day. I've messaged Dogdoc and he told me that 75% of the time it corrects itself. Thanks everyone for the help


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

Update 3-2-2017

I've been terrible at keeping this post updated. Piper is 12 weeks old today. I know we all think our dogs are smart. Being a Lab owner for over 20 plus years I can say hands down she is the smartest. Her retrieving is the best I've ever had. See is focused and knows what I expect out of her. Her obedience is top notch. Sit/stay, down/stay, come, leave it, release, kennel, no bite is all super solid.

We've been doing leash work lately. The first couple of times she fought it but has come around very quickly. She's learned if she fights it unhappy things happen. She stays on the left side, doesn't get too far ahead or too far behind, turns when I do and sits when I stop all is good with the world.

With everything starting to green up the grass is getting taller. She uses her eyes to find the antler but if she loses it she starts the nose immediately and finds it. Her will not to break until I release her is amazing to me. She'll sit in front of her food bowl until I release her to eat. I plan on working on using the silhouette next week. I really think her training has progressed the most because of our 2am training sessions. I think the combination of one on one and the dark has set her up for the day to be even easier. I could be wrong. Don't know.

To top it all off I've started a new job last week. It has actually helped because it has set me into a routine with our training. She's loving the time we spend outside. The link above is a video of her retrieving. We're 20 for 20, 30 for 30...she won't stop. Her drive to please me is unbelievable.

I'm going to start introducing her to the antler scent during our sessions and will move our sessions to the food plot behind our house which is growing very well once I feel like she has the smell.

I will try to get someone to video our leash work in hopes I get some pointers.

Thanks again


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
Also at the end of the video you might notice her "hackles" are up. She is very protective of me and the family. While working 2 coyotes came across the pasture. "Leave it" command is worth its weight in gold. I'm beyond pleased.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
How is Piper doing? I enjoy seeing her videos and think she will make a great shed dog.



We've been great. I have been terrible at keeping up with this. My new job has me busy.

We have moved onto the silhouette training along with using the darker throws with the scent. Our best training sessions is still the 2am ones. She is beyond my comprehension. She just knows what to so it makes my life and training super easy. Her leash work is to the point to where we no longer need it. She will heal on command and sits when. I stop.

She's 14 weeks old tomorrow and this past weekend we went out to check some cameras for the Hunt for Heroes we have coming up. Leave it to that turd to come running up to me wanting to play with a little 3pt shed!!!! Yes 14 weeks old and she's finding sheds. Well we went and checked some more cameras and just to see what she would do I gave the "get it command" then "find it" and she went straight to work. She ended up finding three sheds Saturday.

Her intelligence is beyond me. She uses the wind direction in her favor and will circle downwind of our search area to help her. It's amazing what a couple of treats do for her.

I've been reading on Scotty and he has gotten big. I can't take credit for Piper. I really think she is special and I lucked out. I'm going to continue her work in the same progression as you and keep following tour tips and pointers.

Thanks again.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
Congrats on the found sheds - that is super. ;) We have been in areas where I was hopeful but have not found any. Those situations are about exercise - not shed hunting. Scotty has some tenderness in his mouth which has me waiting for the 6 month mark to work on hold conditioning.

I am not a believer in force fetch with me trying to do that with Scotty. The intelligence of my pup amazes me also. He just naturally understands situations and thinks ahead. I have seen days where I knew Scotty is smarter than his handlers / owner. My son is purchasing a piece of property in South West Illinois on the Mississippi River so we are looking forward to taking Scotty to that bottom ground thicket.

The man I gave you the contact information for is taking two of his dogs to the National Championship in April in Minnesota. He has one dog that has the same blood line as Scotty. His other dog is out of an Ohio Kennel.

Our leash work has improved Scotty's behavior tremendously but I live in town on a going to school street so he stays on a leash in my yard unless he is in his exercise pen. That pen will be increased to 20 by 78 so that will improve his opportunity. His whistle training is going well. We need to work on his steadiness on sit when I increase distance between us - he is not dependable yet.

Once again - congrats on the found sheds.
And how is Piper doing these days? Have you had a chance to find any more sheds?

Do believe you have a special dog.

Sorry for such the long delay in posting. Life has been busy. Piper will be 9 months old on the 7th of September. She currently weighs a healthy 63lbs. She has not come into heat as of yet and her inverted vulva is still pronounced but hasn't been an issue. I haven't been able to train as much as I would like with work and life always seem to be getting in the way. But none the less she is the perfect family dog. She loves the kids and my wife. She will play with them for hours and never leave their side when they are outside. Her obedience is not perfect but it's good enough for me to be happy with her. I forget she's still a puppy. Her aim to please is still impressive and I do believe I have a special dog. We have been training almost daily as of late and after talking with Wayne I have decided to enter her into her first competition this coming February in North Mississippi. Most of my training comes from going out and planting sheds in areas that I know I will be in over the next couple of weeks getting ready for deer season. My hope is for her to be looking for sheds while I'm working on the place. She is really learning to work the wind and to get downwind of the area she's wanting to search. I do believe a lot of this has to do with most of our daily retrieves being in the tall grass behind the house that hasn't been cut in a couple of months due to all of the rain. Attached below is a video of us training yesterday. I placed the sheds close to 4 weeks ago. I was really impressed with her. We are dealing with the remains of Hurricane Harvey and the wind was blowing pretty good yesterday afternoon. I am open for any and all suggestions. But please remember. I am a working father of 3 with a busy life and not that much disposable income to invest into personal trainers. I have done all of this myself with my limited knowledge and from advice from others on this forum. Thanks again for following.
Piper is such a happy dog and she is doing super. Edward Norys has some land north of Jackson he leases so it is possible there will be a training opportunity for you closer to home before the Feb 2018 Hunt Test. The Hunt Test is a 15 minute time limit with 6 planted sheds in a marked course. She will have to retrieve to hand. The judge will say "find" when she locates the shed and will say retrieve when she has brought it to you and you take it from her mouth. If she drops a shed, she has to fetch it (pick it up) and deliver to your hand. As the handler, you can move forward after the word "find" is said, but you can back up to get the dog to come to you.

I am impressed with the video and her work at this point. She wants to please you and that is the mark of a great dog.

What Scotty and I have learned - 15 minutes is a long time for a dog to run hard. However, sometimes slowing down means they work their nose better. Working practice courses will help them hunt longer. A fast dog gets good at finding them quick but if they miss one, then hunting longer than 8 minutes is shocking to them. It is new territory to them. Get you six sheds and clean them good and plant six and run her on some timed courses. She will get better and better. Change your planting locations from run to run. When she loses interest - stop right then. It was obvious in the video she was having fun.

The courses are about 40 yds wide and about 100 yds long. They can be in a wooded area, or in a field or in a combination of the two. For a Junior dog - no water plants and only short or medium cover. Cover at the knee height is considered tall cover and will not be used for a Junior. As a handler, we navigate the dog over the course so the wind blows antler scent to the dogs area.

Piper is exceptional and with some experience she will be posting very good times.

Thanks for the video - she is a good looking dog and will be excellent shed dog. When our dogs get to be two years old, they will be young adults and better at finding the bone.

Wayne, I appreciate the kind words. I know it's not fair but I use Scotty as a measuring stick. The time and dedication you spend on Scotty is something I wish I could do with Piper. I know she isn't in the same league as Scotty but as long as we're in the same ballpark I'll be happy.

Thanks, Zach

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

I am retired and that creates opportunities that most don't have. Scotty has great potential but he is forming habits at his age - most of them good habits but a few are bad habits. For what we want our dogs to do, they have to want to please us. Scotty wants to please - although it appears to me that Piper has more dedication at pleasing you.

Scotty has some strong bloodlines and he can be strong willed at times. I was lucky to get hooked up with an excellent full-time trainer and I spent the money to give Scotty the chance to reach his potential. The trainer do a great job developing the right habits.

I will have Scotty in two hunt test in September - the 9th in Southern Ohio and the 30th in Southwest Indiana. Both are Double Qualifiers - meaning we can run two courses that day if we wish. I intend to run doubles at both events - so I will pay $25 per course for $50 each location.

The challenge for me - get Scotty in the position on each course so the wind (scent cone) comes to Scotty - he will do the rest. If he retrieves 10 times - 8 or 9 of them are good right now. We want to improve the retrieves.

The Hunt Test will cause him to experience new things - dogs, people, riding down the rode in a vehicle, new woodlands and fields. He travels pretty good already.

The Hunt Test have put me in touch with people who have already experienced and solved most of the same issues I am dealing with. I have found the participants of the Hunt Test to be family oriented and great folks.

Piper, Scotty and my pup Perry are young and we will not know which ones will be the best performers until around 2 years of age. If my dogs don't find wild shed antlers, then I will let someone else feed them. That is my main goal. I do root for all dogs at the Hunt Test. I just love watching any dog find a shed antler and run to their handler and then move thru to the course to find another one.

One thing about the Hunt Test - they use bigger antlers than we see on a 18 months old buck. Many of them are easy to spot due to their size.

Piper will do fine - she learns quick and aims to please. You give her the ops and the experience will bring out her best. The labs are smart - they learn fast and aim to please!!!

Glad to know you will give the Hunt Test a chance.

I'm excited about the test. I've been watching as many videos I can find to understand the course and the rules. A lot of what I've seen so far has me excited about the trial. Piper does really well on picking up antlers and she's finally understanding her nose is a useful tool as well. She does really good about bringing the antler to my hand and will even pick it back up when commanded if she drops it early at my feet. I'm going to continue working her in difficult situations in hopes it over prepares her for the junior course. I plan on setting up a mock course this weekend with 6 sheds and start running her on those. Do you know what antler wax they use on the sheds. I'm currently using the liquid from Dog Bone and it seems to be working well. Thanks again

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
They use Raxx Wax in a chap stick like tube. It is available at Cabelas - I bought some there on Tuesday of this week. Tom Dokken is the manufacturer of that product. The Raxx Wax stays on the base of the antler good - especially in wet conditions.

Dog Bone has good training videos and so does Tom Dokken. Piper will be working in short to medium cover. Stuff close to knee high is not part of Junior Division. The fun part of the Hunt Test is what you learn from other handlers and watching what other dogs do. Most are good to share how they worked thru training. Some are like me and may pay a full-time trainer.

Piper is smart and aims to please. That means she can top out into a great dog over the next couple of years. I encourage you to contact Edward Norys at Mid-South Shed Dog Association. He is a great fellow and can help you. He can also probably put you in touch with people closer to you. Edward has two mature dogs and will soon have two pups - he got the first pup about two weeks ago and has one that is about two weeks old that will soon come to him. I say that to point out his training methods can add to what you are doing.

I am looking forward to seeing Piper run her first course. I run my first Hunt Test a week from tomorrow in Southern Ohio at Rarden Ohio at what they call the "Deer Festival". I hope Scotty has a normal day - means we should bring home two Passes. Since it is our Rookie season - we will get what we get.

As the title mentioned my goal is for Piper to be the "Swiss Army Knife" of dogs. My number one goal is for her to be a family pet. She absolutely loves the kids. For a puppy that's only 9 months old she he extremely calm in the house. You can still get her riled up but she loves just hanging out with the kids. I think a lot of this has to do with the breed. I couldn't be more pleased.

I'm going to forego the blood training this year until she developes more on her shed hunting. I don't won't to confuse her. But she might come with me to recover a deer or two just to expose her to them. I have a stash of blood, heart, livers, hide and legs from last year's harvest for when we do start. I should be done with her training "arena" this weekend. More to come.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
Piper is doing great. She has settled in and is a joy to work with and train. She is doing great with finding 4 week old sheds. Fresh sheds is becoming a breeze. Trying to find someone to plant them for me is tough. They don't understand what I am trying to accomplish. I excited for her first trial in February. Hopefully she is good to go because now I've have twice the trouble.

Meet Oberon "aka Obe". He's our new male English. We were suppose to get a male this winter from the same kennel we got Piper from a different line. Unfortunately he had some issues with his male and ended up having to breed his female with Piper's sire which would of been too close to be able to breed the two later on if I choose to. Thus the search began. We found an awesome kennel and this sweet boy. The timing was a lot closer than I was planning on but we pulled the trigger anyways. His training has already begun and I can tell right away he's has a lot more drive that Piper had. Hopefully he's half as smart.

My goals for him is the same as Piper but I am putting the blood tracking on hold until they accomplished my goals for sheds. More information to come

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk