Scenting, what type your dog does?

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Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby Meridiandave » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:33 pm

We go this going on the NA training thread, but I thought it would be fun to revisit.

What I am talking about here is your dog primarily scent through the air, ground, or combination.

My griff has primarily been an air scenter. This is especially true when hunting covey birds. Her nose is up and she is using the wind. Even when hunting pheasants her nose is up a lot of the time.

However about 20% of the time her nose goes down. When she starts tracking individual pheasants the nose hits the ground. The other time is when the bird moves from a previous holding location and she is trying to figure out where it was heading.

Two years ago, I was hunting with a friend, who noted my dog was primarily an air scenter. He was frustrated with his dog because she scented primarily with her nose down. He felt she got overwhelmed by all the ground scents.

What type of scenting does your dog do? Any other thoughts as well.
Last edited by Meridiandave on Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:09 pm

My dogs ,DD'S do both. The old dog is mainly a winder ,but will put her nose to the ground . on a blood trail it is nose to the ground, but still uses the wind if she can. The older the track the more she ground scents. My DD puppy loves to track but also uses the wind. Forrest
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby booger » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:40 am

My dog is about 80% ground, 20% air, and that might be being generous. It's fun to see for tracking, but out hunting I do think it is a hindrance. It's like she wants to investigate every scent out there and it gets frustrating. She's also pointed and caught mice, so it's been reinforced unintentionally. It's a slower approach as she will stop and mash her nose into the ground, even in my back yard, like she needs to get absolutely all of that scent up her nose. The slower approach means less ground covered, less chance at birds.

She got a couple small sticks stuck up her nose that had to be CT-ed and rhinoscopied, so I certainly don't see a benefit.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:25 pm

I won't repeat my post from the NA thread about my current dog.

The general case I see is dogs which work with their heads up successfully point more birds and bump fewer birds. Dogs which will lower their heads to track and hunt dead, recover more birds. Dogs that will do both depending on whether they are searching for new birds or hunting for downed birds are the best of both worlds.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby Willie T » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:10 pm

My PP generally hunts head high. When he gets on running birds he switches back and forth between winding and tracking. Even tracking he will wind the trail if conditions are right. The old men who introduced me to bird dogs and bird hunting, that have all passed away, referred to the difference in hunting style as hot or cold nosed. I prefer the dog that hunts head high, constantly seeking the wind, but when scenting conditions are very poor, I have seen cold nosed dogs that find the most birds.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby Highlander » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:50 pm

To my knowledge and experience 75/35 split between air/ground is typical for almost any continental breed. My DK would hunt with 80/20 style. However, my English pointer (imported from Italy) would hunt with 95/5 style.

The dog that only uses ground for scenting is due to bad training not due to bad nose. Almost every upland dog has a natural, average nose, but a failed training is what makes him unable to use his nose right.

This is the reason I always trained my puppies in open, big fields and I would have them run against wind so they could understand how to use their nose right. I would never let my pupp in woods or dense vegetation until they were big enough (8-10 months) and experienced enough with their ability to use high nose.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby hicntry » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:07 pm

Weak scent is why dogs track head down. The stronger the scent, the higher the head. When actually running with prey ahead of them, they revert to trailing downwind at a run rather than tracking because it is good fresh scent.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby orhunter » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:01 pm

I always got a good laugh when this one gal would come over to the house with her short shorts on. A nose up greeting was always in order.

A problem my dog had was adjusting to the cover holding scent. Out in the rimrock, scent goes from bird to nose on the wind highway. You could see her confusion when she knew there was a phez nearby but couldn’t smell it with her head up. I think a dog adapts to phez hunting much better if they learn on them first and then hunt other stuff later. The less cover there was, the more effective she became.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby Bruce Schwartz » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:40 pm

Agree ... depends on where the scent is coming from

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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby Kiger2 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:37 pm

Years ago with my first good golden, I used to think that she was missing stuff because she always ran with her now up. But then she would drop down and follow a track as long as it took. Just let her hunt.


One pif the last days chukar hunting this year we had terrible winds. I actually got knocked down buy the wind. We had the wind at our backs and the dogs were both tracking a covey of chukar. Several hundred yards of tracking before the birds broke left and hunkered down. Should have had a triple, its hard to describe, but how do you shoot a bird that looks like its heading west but actually heading east?????????

I cant imagine a good dog that won't do what needed to get the bird.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby RowdyGSP » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:26 pm

Like you said, the majority of the time, Rowdy is an air scenter, using the wind, but when it comes to running quail or roosters, he's nose almost to the ground, once he's on the scent.
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Re: Scenting, what type your dog does?

Postby jarbo03 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:41 am

Taz definitely hunts both ways. In the air to start while searching for birds and on the ground when needed, such as a running pheasant or downed birds.
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