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Hunting Dogs - Do You Really Need One?
By: Steve Searls

Hunting dogs are an exclusive breed of canines that have been trained to work with humans when they are hunting. They are immeasurably beneficial to humans because they can perform numerous tasks that are useful to people.

They are especially beneficial to hunters during hunting expeditions; since they can aid them locating their prey. Hunting dogs come in varied classifications such as: hounds, gun dogs, terriers and curs.

Hounds- These dogs are grouped into sight hounds and scent hounds.

--Sight hounds are especially adept in tracking down their prey by keeping them in their view. They are experts when it comes to detecting motion because they have superior vision.

Characteristically, they have long legs, ears that have little flaps, and a very strong cardiovascular system. They are incredibly agile, which is valuable since they have to pursue fast animals on the run.

--Scent hounds hunt using their keen sense of smell to seek their prey. They have large nasal cavities which allows them to follow the scent of the killed or wounded prey, or fallen game. These hunting dogs are trained to do these tasks starting when they are only pups.

Some hunters train their dogs to follow smells by familiarizing them with the scent of the blood of the animal. They leave a blood trail to a piece of meat on the field and leave it sit out for a time: then they command their hunting dogs to track down the scent of the blood. When the dog finds the end of the trail, they are rewarded with signs of affection and praised by their owner.

The intent of this teaching is to familiarize the dog with trailing the blood and the scent of a fallen prey, so they will be ready when the time comes to go on a real hunting expedition.

In some states, such as New York, Wisconsin, Indiana, Texas, Vermont and Michigan, just to name a few, using dogs to retrieve deer, and other large game has been legalized. In other states this custom has not been adapted, so hunters who are thinking about taking their hunting dogs with them on their expedition for this reason, need to check the regulations and rules of the state, pertaining to this matter.

--Gun Dogs are hunting dogs that help their owner retrieve their downed game, including birds. They are also often called bird dogs.

--Terrier is a type of dog that was originally bred for the purpose of hunting and slaying vermin.

--Curs is the term usually used for dogs that are not purebred and are quite often deemed unworthy. But cur also applies to the types of hunting dogs that have been developed in the United States for the purposes of assisting in hunting. They are recognized for their superior hunting skills and abilities.

Caring for Hunting Dogs

Hunting dogs need to be kept in excellent shape, so it is imperative for their owners to carefully attend to their health. They should be provided a healthy diet. There is always the risk of the dog becoming overweight if its food intake is not carefully supervised.

Some dogs, such as greyhounds, require special attention when it comes to their diet. They are better off eating three small meals a day, because they have the tendency to become bloated if they try to eat heavy meals. Greyhounds are exceedingly susceptible to pesticides, chemicals, and medication; even flea collars could be harmful to a greyhound.

Hunting dogs continually need to exercise to sustain their agility and keep them in top condition. Their nails need to be trimmed at least every 2-3 weeks and they should be given regular baths to keep them clean.

Socialization

Hunting dogs should be trained to socialize with people, particularly if the dogs are also the family's' pets. Owners should get them used to interacting with various types of people. Many hunting dogs are just sociable by nature, such as a greyhound.

Don't forget that hunting dogs are predatory by nature. They could pose some danger to small animals, pets, and even small children if they have not been trained to keep from acting upon these instincts.

Hunting dogs are a wonderful companion for any hunter since they can perform tasks that humans find rather difficult. This is why hunting dogs are priced according to their capabilities. They are truly remarkable creatures that will be useful to any hunter.

Article Source: http://www.learningminds.us

Learn expert hunting tips and strategies that will make your next animal hunting expedition much more successful.

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Posted on 27 Feb 2007 by shotgunworld
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