How to Train Your Dog to Hunt Boar

Hard
4-8 Months
Work

Introduction

Wild hogs or boar have become a major problem in the U.S. They are not native to North America but were introduced from overseas and their population has grown out of control, as there are few natural limitations on their population growth. Wild hogs, or boar, destroy crops, property, and sometimes livestock as they are voracious omnivores, and cause widespread damage, rooting up plants, wallowing, and creating pollution from runoff in areas they have damaged and contaminated with feces. They can also be quite dangerous when cornered by unsuspecting humans or pets.   

Hunting boars has become a common method of population control in the U.S. due to environmental and crop damage, and danger to people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the cost of environmental and crop damage from wild boars to be in the billions of dollars annually. To solve this problem, many wild boar hunters employ dogs to aid them in hunting boar, a practice which dates back to the 1800s in America and back to ancient Roman times in the old world.

Defining Tasks

Hunting boars with dogs involves two types of skills, sometimes performed by two different kinds of dogs: bay dogs, and catch dogs. Bay dogs harass and chase the boar until it is cornered. They then bark at the pig until catch dogs and handlers can follow them to the location. Catch dogs hold the boar and handlers capture or shoot the boar. Bay dogs need to locate a scent, track the pig, flush and chase it, then corner it while barking loudly to alert hunters of their location. Once a boar is located by bay dogs, hunters release catch dogs to incapacitate the boar. Catch dogs need brute physical strength to attack, fight, and hold the boar until subdued, for hunters to arrive and shoot or take the boar live. Dogs usually hold the boar by grabbing it behind the ear to control the animal.  This can be very dangerous for the dogs, and only large, aggressive physically strong dogs are suitable for the task. Dogs used as bay or catch dogs wear protective equipment such as vests and neck protectors that protect their necks and vital organs.

Dogs can start being trained to be hog dogs when they are 3-4 months of age but will need to reach maturity before being used in potentially dangerous boar hunts on wild hogs. Catch dogs especially need to be fully matured and have reached their peak physical condition to perform the task of holding a wild boar for hunters to arrive.

Getting Started

Dogs trained to hunt wild boar are familiarized with wild or domestic pigs first, that are approximately the same size or a little smaller than themselves in a controlled environment. This will necessitate locating and purchasing such a hog to help train your hog hunting dog.  You will need a safe, contained area to work. While hunting boars in the wild, dogs will need to be safely and securely transported to the hunting site. Off-road vehicles fitted with crates are usually used for this purpose, and training your dog to load up and ride patiently is recommended. Some dogs are suitable as bay dogs that track boar, others as catch dogs, although some dogs perform both tasks, you will need to determine what task or tasks you are training your dog to perform prior to training. Make sure your dog is physically capable and suitable for the task you are planning on training him to perform, as boar hunting can be dangerous. Dogs will need to wear protective equipment, which includes, paw boots, to protect feet from terrain, vests, neck protectors, and tail protectors. Hunting dogs also frequently wear tracking dollars so they can be located if they become separated from handlers or other dogs and get lost.

The Preparing Bay Dogs Method

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Step
1
Obtain pig
Put a live pig about the same size or a little smaller than your dog in a cage or pen.
Step
2
Introduce to dog
Present the pig to your dog daily, for several days. Encourage your dog to get excited about the pig, jump at the cage, and bark. Praise your dog for being aggressive and trying to reach the pig. Stop sessions before the dog loses interest.
Step
3
Move pig to wilderness
Take the pig to a wilderness location and tie the pig up. Drive your dog to that location. Driving the dog teaches him to associate the ride with boar hunting. Show the pig to your dog with the dog on a leash, when the dogs shows signs of aggression, praise the dog, then remove your dog. Repeat for a few days.
Step
4
Create trails
Lead the pig around the wooded area to set a track. Wear rubber boots so the dog learns to follow the pig scent, and not yours. Take your dog to the area, and let him find the track. Encourage your dog along the track to find the pig tied at the end of the trail. Reward your dog for locating the pig.
Step
5
Hunt wild boar
Take the dog out with experienced dogs to hunt boar now that he has learned to track and is motivated and aggressive towards the pig.
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The Preparing Catch Dogs Method

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Step
1
Prepare dog
Start with mature dogs at least 1 year old, physically large, strong, and aggressive. Ensure the dog is used to wearing safety equipment.
Step
2
Introduce pig
Present a pig on the other side of an enclosure, or in a cage. Tease your dog and work them up to getting excited about the pig. Repeat daily for a few weeks.
Step
3
Teach release
Teach your dog to release by playing with a rope or toy and commanding your dog to release, then rewarding him with high value treats. You will use this to command the dog to release the boar when hunting, so the boar can be dispatched and catch dogs do not have to be physically hauled off the boar, which can be dangerous for both hunters and dogs.
Step
4
Use bay dogs to locate
Take catch dogs out with bay dogs. Let the bay dogs locate a boar.
Step
5
Practice with experienced catch dogs
Release inexperience catch dog with experienced catch dogs on wild boar. The dog has been prepared to be motivated to go after the boar, and knows the command to release the boar when required.
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The Experienced Dogs Method

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Step
1
Introduce dogs
Put a more inexperienced dog with a team of experienced dogs. Allow dogs to interact and socialize prior to the hunt.
Step
2
Prepare dog
Ensure inexperienced dogs have tracking devices in case they become separated and appropriate safety gear. Take your team out and locate a created boar or pig trail.
Step
3
Hunt with pack
Allow the inexperienced dog to follow the trail, with the pack.
Step
4
Provide commands
Provide commands to stay on trail or recall the pack so the inexperienced dog is exposed to commands and responds with the rest of the pack.
Step
5
Practice
Allow your dog to experience a live boar hunt. After several experiences, your dog will learn to hunt and respond with the experienced dogs.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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