There has been much controversy in recent years over traditional fox hunting, especially in the United Kingdom, where fox hunting with hounds and horses has been a tradition for centuries. As a result, foxhunting with live foxes and dogs has become illegal in Britain and parts of Europe, though it is legal in Canada and the U.S. The controversy stems from the practice of using a pack of hounds to run a fox, followed by the pack of dogs killing the fox. As a result, some fox hunters have switched to using a drag to create a fox scent trail for dogs to follow. This provides the dogs with a hunting outlet and exercise, allowing human counterparts on foot or horse, to participate without a live fox being run and killed. However, North America has a large population of foxes, and when fox and human habitats overlap, problems can arise.
Foxes present a problem by preying on pets and small livestock, especially poultry, and hunting fox to control the population and protect domesticated animals is necessary in many areas. Dogs may be used as a tool to locate, track, and hunt fox where and when necessary to control wild fox populations.
Fox hunting with a pack of dogs requires great stamina, agility, and courage on the part of the dogs. There is a risk of dogs being injured when a fox turns to defend itself, so a pack of experienced foxhunting dogs that can work together is necessary. Certain breeds of dog have been developed for generations to excel at this type of work including, miniature, smooth, wirehaired, American, and English foxhounds and Harriers. Dogs used for hunting foxes are started early as puppies, learning to scent fox and becoming used to the smell of foxes, and the sights, and sounds of the hunt. However, only more mature dogs should be used in an actual hunt on live fox due to the danger from strenuous physical exertion and the danger of confronting a cornered wild animal.
Dogs being used to hunt fox will need to learn to scent fox using commercially available fox scent, or fox hides provided to the dog for this purpose. Dogs being used for foxhunting must be in excellent physical condition, as hunting fox with dogs involves running over long distances and over rough terrain, and a dog that is not conditioned for such activity will experience muscle strain and injury as well as possible joint and other injuries. Dogs used for hunting fox and other game are often fitted with tracking collars to allow handlers to locate the dogs if they become separated from handlers or the pack. Dogs should have strong off-leash recall and a good grasp of off-leash commands prior to hunting fox in the field.
She is a rehomed, but trained protection dog that doesn't leave my side, how can I get her to start scent tracking in order to hunt jackals?
Hello! Here is some basic information and a good starting place. For more advanced training, you will want to contact a local trainer and work directly with him or her. Start Early in the Morning To teach scenting a track, you need some treats and a grassy area, such as a baseball field or park. Although hot dogs are not the most nutritious food, I find they work best, and you won’t over stuff your dog’s belly. Begin early; many people start by 6 a.m. before anyone has walked on the grass. Create a Treat Track Have your dog sit or lie down and stay. Take a couple of inch-long pieces of hot dog and use your shoe to mash them into the grass. Make sure to crush the grass under the hot dogs, which will release a grass scent. Then, with the hot dog residue on the bottom of your shoe, walk a straight line away from your dog. Every six or ten feet, drop a piece of hot dog. Stop after about 20 feet and drop one of your gloves or one of your dog’s toys; your dog needs to find something at the end of the track. Drop another piece of hot dog on top of the item. Command Your Dog to Find the Treats Go back to your dog and release him from his stay, encouraging him to smell the ground where the hot dogs were. Tell your dog “Find it!” and let him sniff. If he begins to follow the track, praise him quietly by saying, “Good dog!” and let him lead the way. Don’t be too enthusiastic or you may distract the dog from his sniffing. Also, don’t try to lead him; let your dog figure it out. At this point, your dog is following several scents: the trail of hot dogs, which helps motivate him, the crushed grass where you mashed the hot dogs and the crushed grass where you later stepped. Your dog is also following your individual scent, which he knows well because he smells your scent every day. But now your dog is learning to combine the scents, to follow them and to find the item at the end of the track. Start Increasing the Length of the Track When your dog successfully completes this trick, make another one by taking 10 steps to the side. If your dog is excited and having fun, you can do three or four short tracks per training session. As your dog improves over several sessions, make the track longer, add curves and corners, and drop several items along the way, but put the hot dog only on the one you want him to find. When making tracks longer or adding curves, use small pegs, stakes or flags to mark the track so you can tell if your dog is off track. Air scenting requires your dog to find someone by sniffing the scents wafting through the air instead of following a track. Most search-and-rescue dogs have both skills; they can follow a track, but if people walking over the track spoil it, they can also use their air-scenting skills. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.
Was this experience helpful?