1. kim

    You have a good dog for hunting. As I am sure you know, they love to run and find things. I grew up in the deep south and hunting with or without dogs was an almost daily occurrence. Dogs are happiest when they are doing what they were bred to do. Down here, curs are used for all types of hunting, squirrel, raccoon, hog.
    You will want to use the same training techniques used for dogs that are trained to find illegal narcotics. The only difference is that instead of using a ball stuffed with the narcotics that you want her to find, you will be using a squirrel skin.
    Have someone give you a squirrel skin from a fresh kill. If you do not know how to tan the skin with the fur left intact, ask another hunter just how to do it. They will probably tell you to scrape off all of the flesh and fat from the back side of the pelt. Then rub salt into the backside of the pelt. The salt dries out the skin of the pelt. There is also a way to wet, rollup and freeze the pelt, however I am not familiar with this method.
    After the pelt has been cured, play with your dog with the pelt. Make sure that the dog smells the pelt and mouths it. Each time she smells the pelt, really praise her and pet her and let her have the pelt for a few seconds. Play for about 30mins to 1 hour with the dog and the pelt. At the end of the session, let her have a little free play with the pelt. Do this for about a week.
    Starting on the 2nd week, Hide the pelt behind your back and ask her, “Find the squirrel girl, where’s the squirrel.” If she goes behind your back and touches her nose to it, barks or grabs it, let her have it and praise her. If she doesn’t go behind you, show her the pelt and tell her to find it again.
    When she gets good at finding the pelt behind your back, hide the squirrel, tell her “Find the squirrel, Girl.” At first, make it really easy for her to find. As she gets better, make it harder. Again really praise her when she finds it. If she can’t, retrieve the pelt and play with it and her. When she finds the pelt tell her in a firm voice to “Drop it.” When she does, praise her. You may have to take it from her the first few times. Tell her in a firm voice, “Drop it.” and then immediately take it from her. Really lavish praise on her, pet her and tell her “Good drop it.”
    The next thing that you can do is to attach the pelt to a rope and loop the rope over a branch so that when you start pulling the rope, it will look as if it is moving across the yard and up the tree. Your dog will “chase the squirrel” up the tree and start barking at it. Have a friend hold on to the end of the rope, or you can do this yourself. Tell her, “Find the squirrel, Girl.” When she perks up and starts to look, start pulling the rope so that the squirrel moves across the yard and then up the tree. Make sure that it is just out of her reach and when she barks for it praise her and after a few moments, let her have the pelt. You don’t want to spend more than 30 mins-1hr on training at a time so that she doesn’t get bored. Remember to tell her to drop it. You don’t want her to run off with the squirrels once you start hunting.
    If she still has problems catching on to what you want, they make a short leash that can be attached to another dog’s collar, linking both your dog and another together. Find an older hunting dog and attach your dog with that one. The older dog will teach your dog by example.
    When you are ready to start hunting with her, you want her to be used to the noise of a gun report. Hold her on her leash and pet her and praise her. Have someone shoot close by both you and her. If it scares her, reassure her and repeat the lesson again. Soon she will not be bothered by the gun shot. When she reacts the way you want her to really praise her.
    The techniques above, makes the squirrel pelt her special toy, and she will want to find it when you go out hunting.
    Dogs are pack animals and by making her do what you want, you become the alpha. She will catch on quickly to what you want and you will have a very good hunting dog in no time.
    Good luck and happy hunting.

  2. Manda Panda

    I would love to help you, but unfortunately, I love squirrels. I even buy shell peanuts at the store for them.

  3. Doggies rule

    Take it hunting. If it is going to be a squirrel dog it will start treeing squirrels. The more squirrels you kill over the dog the better it will get.

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