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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I would like to get your ideas on the situation below - keeping in mind that Belle and I are about to take up tracking together ---- here's the issue:

Both Gunther and Belle are great loose leash walkers. Gunther loves to smell and lick stuff and stand under pine trees and he only rarely becomes overtaken with a bunny scent trail. Belle on the other hand LIVES for bunnies. She lives with her nose on the ground. So on morning and evening walks when the bunnies are out in force it can be tough to get her attention - actually impossible. I don't pull on her leash - except when desparate - although she will pull to follow a scent or sniff every speck of ground - and just dig in and lean until she falls on the ground.

What I want is to be able to let her smell, but when it's time to go forward, to be able to get her attention back.

She's great at watch me. She's great at let's go. I treat her with chicken or other treats and it totally works BUT when she is on a scent I can put a big piece of chicken right on the end of her nose and it's like she is in a parallel universe - she doesn't even see it and she won't eat it.

Basically, what I do now is hold the leash and say let's go. As soon as I feel the tension release, I get excited and tell her she's good - and then we walk two more steps and she stops again. THEN I go over to her and hold her head and talk to her until her eyes unglaze and then we move forward.

I do let both dogs wander and smell A LOT - seriously all the time - so I feel like when I need to get them back home - for work or some other insignificant thing - I should be able to get her off a scent much easier and have it not be frustrating for her.

Any thoughts? What tricks have you all used to get your smell-crazy bassets off a scent. Obviously, because of tracking, I don't want her to think scenting is wrong.

Susan O.
 

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That's a tough one. I've had the same problem with my Bassets, and it's just their nature. I'll be watching for any input as well.
 

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if she is not spayed you can sell her to me and i'll make her a Field Champion!!! if she is not for sale i'll help you make her a Field Champion any way!!! calling them off a hot line is hard,but if they know their name and if when they where young they were taught to come it is easier.i started by giving Ike a treat everytime i called him and he came to me with lots of praise and petting, now when he is in a trial and if he is working a line when he gets into a check area i can call him off about 90% of the time,but i can get him to down all the time when he is near also.
 

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Hello,

Jasper is only a family pet, no field trials or breeding, etc.; so I just say, "Jasper, move" as I pull on his leash and he comes willingly until the next scent fascinates that nose of his. Then, I go through it again. He comes willingly enough most of the time. I don't know how to field train at all so no advice, sorry.
 

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A solid recall, as Billy mentioned, is one way to handle these situations. Teaching a Leave It! command is another. It's a good idea to train both behaviors (and more). In certain situations, for whatever reason, the dog may respond to one command and not the other.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
if she is not spayed you can sell her to me and i'll make her a Field Champion!!! if she is not for sale i'll help you make her a Field Champion any way!!![/b]
YES!!! Help me make her a champion! She is going to be an amazing tracker - well, she already is just not officially - she never gives up and she always has her nose on the ground.

So, here's the thing - she has a good recall as long as there is no bunny scent. I give her treats every time she comes to me. She will even leave other dogs at the dog park and come running when I call her. OR when she is running away from me out in a field or something - I can ask her to wait and she stops or call her and she comes back. She is really very good EXCEPT with the scent - she doesn't even seem to give any indication she hears me.

So, - if you had a dog that did come when you called most of the time - how would you start to work on that behavior when there is a monster distraction like a scent.

I'm going to work on her "leave it" --- I hadn't thought of that. That is a great idea - with your thinking behind it being: have different ways to call her off a scent.
 

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. She is really very good EXCEPT with the scent - she doesn't even seem to give any indication she hears me.[/b]
It boils down to the level of distraction. You need to work your recall upto and including scent distractions see:

DEPOSITS INTO THE PERFECT RECALL ACCOUNT

DISTRACTIONS FOR YOUR RECALL

LIST OF REINFORCERS


All is pretty simple just find a reinforcer that is more motivating than the distraction. Often time self reinforcing behaviors like hunting are the strogest motivators for a dog., then what do you do?

Premack Principal of Reinforcement
An opportunity to engage in more probable responses will reinforce a less probable response.

...This experiment implies that reinforcers cannot be defined independently of the responses that they reinforce. In Premack’s experiment, drinking reinforced running when drinking was more probable than running, but running reinforced drinking when the probabilities were reversed. Therefore, reinforcers are relative and not absolute. There important properties are based on the responses for which they provide an opportunity.[/b]

In laymans terms you can use the sniffing behavior to reinforce the recall. It works something like this. After a recall give the dog the opportunity to hunt as a reward. When recalling the dog while it is hunting reward with food and then let it go back to hunting. As long as the rate of reward when recalling from the hunt is 80 percent or higher the few times it does not get to return to hunting should not effect recall performance.

The thing to keep in mind reinforcer do not have to be things like food or praise. It can the oppurtunity to engage in a prefferred behavior like play, or sniffing. What motivates each individual dog is different so you need to work this out for your particular dog but hopefully you have a few more tools to do so.
 

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I have a different idea on getting a champion title -- field trials or rabbit hunts -- sounds like she has the qualifications, and she will enjoy these events more
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have a different idea on getting a champion title -- field trials or rabbit hunts -- sounds like she has the qualifications, and she will enjoy these events more[/b]
I'll look up field trials (I don't know what they are) AND by rabbit hunt do you mean actually hunting rabbits with a gun? Or is it an event set up for dogs?

You are right --- she would love something where she got to go after the smells she really likes more.
 

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If I'm not mistaken (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong) a rabbit run is where the dogs are let loose to "hunt" rabbits in a large pen. I've also heard that it is set up such that usually the dogs don't actually get the rabbits. A friend of mine takes her Jack Russels on fox runs where they have several hiding places for the foxes so that they don't actually get hurt. It's a lot of fun for the dogs, but I wonder how the "prey" feel? hmm...

~Heather
 

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some times there is a fence,but not always. the dogs in some type of hunts are cast but must be able to handle when called or enter the brush where the rabbit maybe in a set waiting.some types people beat the brush to flush the rabbit out and the dogs are placed on the line,the line being where the rabbit ran and it is marked by a spotter with the cry of Tally-Ho!! either way it's fun,your outdoors enjoying nature,good company and other basset hounds,what more could a person ask for. as for how the prey feels,how would feel if you had 2 or more bassets on your scent trail barking and busting through brushpiles disturbing your nice quiet time. the best part is when you get a wise rabbit that has been chased a few times and pulls out all sorts of tricks to get the dogs to lose the trail. i think the rabbits enjoy the fact that they are chased and not caught. now if you want to know how a rabbit tastes...mmm i like mine fried and then baked in some gravy with mashed taters on the side. everything has a place in life,my dog at my feet in front of a nice fire or woodstove and rabbit on the table.
 

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Dont forget that at places like my club, we work hard providing cover and food for the bunnies. Also, the activity tends to keep predators away. The rabbits may have to put up with some exercise, but they have life pretty good. we have a higher density of rabbits than most areas of the county
The events at this club involve turning the hounds loose for one hour. They find and run the rabbits and are scored on how well they do. Bassets are not intended to catch bunnies, merely keep them moving. the bunnies run in a large circle and if you were hunting, you shoot them when thry come back. I can't say no bunnies are ever killed-- there are dumb bunnies and sick bunnies, but it happens very rarely.
If you want to have some fun ---- bring the hounds to the rebbit hunt in PA on LAbor Day -- no experience needed ( you or the hounds). Any basset can enter -- neutered or non-registered bassets are welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you want to have some fun ---- bring the hounds to the rebbit hunt in PA on LAbor Day -- no experience needed ( you or the hounds). Any basset can enter -- neutered or non-registered bassets are welcome.[/b]

This is so good. I'm going to bring them. Just a quick question - I feel slightly torn on the is it fair to the bunny issue too. I understand where you stand and I really, really, really want Belle and Gunther to be able to chase every once in awhile - it must be so frustrating for them. I'm curious what others in this forum think.

And a question for you - is there a way for the bunnies to escape?
 

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And a question for you - is there a way for the bunnies to escape?[/b]

The purpose of hunting with pack hounds is not for the hounds to catch the rabbit but for them to flush ans track the rabbit so the hunter can shoot it. While there is always a rare exception basset do not catch rabbits especially ones that don't want to be caught.

In a field trial no rabbits are intentionally killed.
 

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Mike said it all. Dean's club is one of the ones that is was talking about that has no fence,the rabbits can come and go at will,but they will stay at the club grounds because of habitat ( brush piles to hide in ) and food,water,etc. Birds of prey and fox will do more damage to the rabbits than any basset ever will. go to this hunt( there is no guns or shooting) it just called that. there is usually a very large turn out for Dean's hunt,the last couple of years the entries were down,but the fun is first class! Food that is great and Basset Hounds up the wahzoo. I going to try to make it again this year,i'll be bringing the Pennsylvania State Champion Open Field winner and the Best in Show winner,the famous Pinehawk's Little Ike. Now that i just bragged him up i just put the jinx on him and all he may do is lick himself and walk the path. :lol:
 
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