Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

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Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby 3drahthaars » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:04 pm

I don't wish to step on any toes, but it seems that with some of the questions that get fielded on these forums there are people who get versatile hunting dogs and don't hunt them. Or, if they do don't hunt them very often.

I know that at a local NAVHDA there are several who run tests but don't hunt.

So, my question is in general do you think that hunting tests, dock dogs, agility, etc. provide the same fulfillment to a dog bred for hunting as let's say for instance "hunting"?

I know that from my perspective I have trained less, tested less, and hunted more with my current DD than the prior three. And, I've enjoyed her more and bonded closer with her than the prior dogs... I believe.

Just curious...

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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby carramrod » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:35 pm

I enjoy the testing and think it is good for the breed. On any future dogs I'd plan to test them as well.

With that said, I own the dog for hunting and companionship. He can tell the difference between the games and hunting. He is much more enthused in the latter.

I wouldn't tell anyone they're wrong for not hunting their dog, but I think they're missing a big part. Plus the dogs are wired for it and crave it. Maybe they don't know what they're missing, but I would guess most versatiles would miss the hunt if they were previously introduced to it.
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby Willie T » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:38 pm

My opinion may be biased by the fact that the only reason I have my PP is to hunt it. Although it is only six months old, that it what it was born to do. It enjoys training or about anything else I do with it. In no way do I see the level of contentment I see after a day of hunting with any other activity. So no I don't think a hunting test can duplicate the sheer exhilaration the dog gets from a true hunting life. Being able to fully bring to bear the athleticism, cooperation, prey drive, and instincts for a sustained period is what they are bred for, and I don't think there is any other way to fully scratch that itch.
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby Misskiwi67 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:40 pm

Real hunting is better than games is better than hunting toads in the yard.

Hunting is the most fulfilling work by far, but hunting season only lasts 6 months of the year. My dogs very much enjoy their Dock Diving, nosework, obedience training and anything else I can come up with to do with them.

I don't believe non-hunters understand what they are missing, but working dogs temperaments make them uniquely suited to many of these games, search and rescue, and service work. It's not abuse to not hunt, its abuse to leave a dog in a 5x10 kennel and only hunt them 2 weeks a year.
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:07 pm

I was able to start hunting with dogs at an early age and have been ever since. Hunting, and hunting with my dogs is a huge part of my life and I built my life's goals and lifestyle around it. I hold Hunt Tests in a much lower regard than many do these days and do not ever see me getting involved with them in a big way. I put my time in efficiently on my own property or nearby, developing and training my dogs to the standards that I find most effective to our hunting objectives/styles. Now that we have the Spring Conservation seasons for Snow Geese my hunting agenda starts in Sept and runs into May with Spring Turkey Seasons. The "off season" is short and filled with daily exercise and training for the dogs and myself, fishing, deer stand maintenance, food plots, shooting my bow, scouting new and old hunting spots ..., and before you know it is hunting season again.
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby orhunter » Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Hard telling what the dog thinks but I bet there's at least a little bit of anxiety without the stimulation that hunting provides. Haven't a clue as to how a dog adjusts?

I have more of a problem with breeders who sell the dogs to non-hunters in the first place. I think at least some of these non-hunters lie to breeders as to what they're going to do with the dog. I know one such fellow and suspect a few more.
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby Doc E » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:08 pm

All dogs need a "job".
Dogs can do most any kind of job that they are trained for.
The favorite "job" of a hunting dog is HUNTING.

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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby Doc E » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:08 pm

All dogs need a "job".
Dogs can do most any kind of job that they are trained for.
The favorite "job" of a hunting dog is HUNTING.

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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby ForestDump » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:25 pm

The dogs just need something todo, they don't have more or less fun. I think it's silly to own a hunting dog and not hunting it but as long as the dog is out and being stimulated they can care less. They just want to run around, smell stuff and try to eat an animal. The rest of it we put on them.

Dogs are just as happy running around in the field all day coming home with zero birds as they are running around and coming home with a full bag.
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby Willie T » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:02 pm

ForestDump wrote:
Dogs are just as happy running around in the field all day coming home with zero birds as they are running around and coming home with a full bag.
[/quote

I've got an old bird dog that would disagree with that. She will growl at you if you miss!
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:14 pm

It's hard for me to say that my dogs like to learn new things but I have to believe challenges must be interesting for them. A tough retrieve of a dummy is a lot more interesting than a toss right in front of them. They seem to enjoy a 3 minute hunt for a hidden dummy more than a 10 second one, and doing a "walking baseball" drill is more fun than just simple dummy retrieves. One of my dogs will do a few canvas dummy retrieves but then will climb up into the Ranger and dig through a 5 gallon bucket to find and bring me the dummy that I shoot from a retrieve-r-trainer. But, even though the dogs and I work year-around as it's good for us both to provide stimulation, bonding, etc., I'm pretty sure they would choose to hunt year-around more than anything else. Nice topic!
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby oldtimer » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:08 pm

Hunt the heck out of them, everything else falls into place.
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby gwp4me2 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:33 pm

send a chicken running through the agility course sometime and see what the dog would rather do :D
Even within the hunting realm dogs in general have hunting preferences that are genetic. Can they be happy doing other things? Sure. As happy as if they were pursuing their chosen game? NOT!
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby ForestDump » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:48 pm

Willie T wrote:
ForestDump wrote:
Dogs are just as happy running around in the field all day coming home with zero birds as they are running around and coming home with a full bag.
[/quote

I've got an old bird dog that would disagree with that. She will growl at you if you miss!
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Haha that must be a sight. My point was only that you let a dog rip through a field for a few hours smelling, running and peeing on stuff and it will be as happy as it can. Sometimes we put our own feelings onto the dog. They aren't any happier chasing game that's just what their instincts drive them todo. A working dog that gets mentally stimulated and regular exercise is a happy dog. Hunting is a relatively small portion of any dog's life.
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Re: Versatile dogs for everything but hunting...

Postby GONEHUNTIN' » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:37 pm

I don't agree with that. If a dog becomes unsuccessful enough times, it begins to lose intensity. They have to have some success to keep at maximum effectiveness.

As far as using them for other things like nose, agility, dock, etc; I don't like it. Look what happened to Irish Setters, Goldens, Springers and Poodles when you deny them the very things they were born to do. That's why I don't like using them for non hunting agendas. Use them for what they were bred for. Every minute you spend with them on obedience, agility, etc. is time that could be far better spent running blinds, working on honoring, relocations, flush on command, etc. There is just no real reason to do it.
I just hate seeing birds die of natural causes unless I'm that natural cause.
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