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Training The Ultimate Pig Dog
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    • Last updated Mar 10
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Training The Ultimate Pig Dog

BRISTLE UP_POSTED_BY uhunt     Mar 10    


Hello everyone Reevesy here I just wanted to thank Bristle Up and everyone for their ongoing support. I’m hoping I am able to help give some tips and answer a few questions along the way from my time and experience hunting pigs with dogs. There are many methods and ideas and im not saying mine will work for everyone but hopefully it will help some hunters out there. Hunting is an ongoing learning experience no matter how long you have been hunting. We had a few people suggest topics on the Bristle Up Group so I am going to cover a couple of those here. The topics in question are training what I call a Bailer/Holder the other is starting a pup with no experienced dogs. The two most important things are selecting the breed of dog and basic obedience if you can’t get the dog to listen to you you’re not going to have much luck.

The little things matter so don’t be lazy spend a lot of time forming a bond with your dog and teaching them simple manners and obedience it will make a world of difference once they are fully grown. It’s best to get yourself a pup or a younger dog tostart with this will give you a blank slate to work with and not a dog with bad habits already. It also allows the dog to form a strong bond with you and your pack. Breeding is important, you want something smart and fast that has a good nose. In my case the Pointer comes in as most Pointers will naturally bail but then I’m throwing a mix of something else in to give it a bit of holding power.

I like the Boxer as their well natured and they give a nice jaw structure and build. So I use the Boxer cross Pointer mostly or a Pointer cross Arab. Socialise them as a pup, teach them to sit and wait for food as it’s getting them used to listening to you. Pat and stir up the pup while it’s eating so there’s no aggression with food so other animals and kids don’t get bitten. Take him out as often as you can while your letting him grow plenty of exercise and getting used to livestock this may take a few runs but even when the pups are in the box they are learning the smells and noises and seeing what the other dogs do. There are many other good breeds out there but I have found these crosses work well as an all-round Finder/Bailer and Holder in one package; which is a hard recipe to find. If possible get them out and lead them around Cattle, Kangaroos, Sheep, Goats, Deer and so on. Use a short rope to start with and then a longer one, if they go to run after the stock let them go and try to call them if they don’t listen pull on the rope, repeat this until they don’t show any interest in the stock. A training collar is a good backup option but not the most ideal first resort.

If the dog hasn’t been on pigs yet it’s a good idea to repeat this procedure after their first pig or two as some dogs will think any animal is fair game while still learning. In most cases once they realise they are allowed to chase pigs that’s all they will want to chase. If you do this from a young age in ninety-nine percent of cases, you won’t have a problem with the dog chasing the wrong animals as they get older. If you don’t teach your dog from a young age you risk having a hard time later if they pick up bad habits. If this happens sometimes stock proofing can get a bit harder and more time consuming. Correct usage of training collars is another method, but you should only zap them when they are within eye site and doing what you don’t want them to do. You should always tone them first before zapping them this way they will learn to respond to the tone and zapping won’t be necessary. Some dogs can be difficult so if you have a specific issue please message me on Facebook and I will try to offer some ideas on how to deal with your dog in your situation. There is no magic trick to get a dog to catch pigs it simply comes down to work and if you can’t give your dog work then you can’t blame him for not being a good pig dog.

Once your pup is old enough and able to stay with the other dogs let him run with the other dogs and when you get to a pig always coach him to the front of the pig because that is where you want him to bail. Once your dog gets confident to run out and bail with the other dogs that’s when you want to pack the numbers into the dog and take him every chance you get and continue with obedience training. He needs to build his confidence and the only way to do that is work, too much time off in-between pigs when a dog is learning can make it hard for a dog to build confidence and learn how to hunt on his own. Training a truly good pig dog takes a lot of time and effort there will be people out there that have freak dogs without trying but don’t be put down if your dog doesn’t learn fast as most good finder bailers take more time and effort than your average finder holder. When you get him to the stage where he can hunt out and get his own and when he can hold a good bail give him a lot of work on his own so he can build confidence. Once he bails, get back up to him as soon as you can and praise him after every pig so he knows to bail the pig until back up arrives. While they are learning to hunt on their own they can lose confidence and come back if they haven’t yet learnt that you will get there and back them up. The dog you use as a backup dog should be a very hard clean holder so the young dog knows he has good back up. Depending on the breed if you let another bailer out to back him up they could end up trying to hold it on their own and getting hurt so it’s better to use one or two clean holders. Remember we are talking about dogs that a bred to bail and hold when it is suitable not softer bailing dogs. You only want the dog to hold when you tell him to or when backup arrives.

The idea behind this style of dog is being able to hunt in harder conditions without risking the dog’s life; this style will limit the time the dog is holding the pig and greatly reduce the risk of injury and overheating. When he is at the stage where he can find a pig and bail on his own he just needs more and more numbers and in time with the right amount of work he will start to pick the boars from the mob just like us they will want the big pigs as they know they will have more fight and are easy to track solo. Training them to find and bailer on their own is key, if you hunt them in a pack they will rely on the pack and won’t work independently from the other dogs. Training a pup with no other dogs can be hard the main thing is obedience and stock proofing before you go hunting obviously teaming up with a mate with a started dog is easier but with a solo dog it is best to walk creeks or behind dams and showing the dog even smaller pigs to help him get started. Walking or riding a quad towards the pigs to get the dog excited so he wants to give chase even if the dog bails the pig you can shoot the pig and praise the dog and give him pats and tell him good boy. Sometimes you might have to hit pigs several times with your pup but he only needs to catch even one pig or bail one up to get him interested and to know what he can do.

Some dogs may naturally chase and grab them but with him being unexperienced you want him starting small as a large pig could hurt him and make him shy, you want the first experience exciting not unpleasant. Don’t forget breeding and age are important the younger the better when starting but start them on pigs suitable to their age and size. Pick a breed that is most appropriately bred for your needs as a poorly bred dog will be harder to train. Most dogs can be taught to hunt but some breeds are simply easier and more natural. It’s important to at least use a neck collar or a chest plate when training as being young and inexperienced he won’t know he can get hurt yet, trackers are important as well and make life a lot easier. Stay tuned for next issue.


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  • Cassie Lee
    Cassie Lee  · Mar 11
  • Cassie Lee
    Cassie Lee  · Mar 11
    pitty, their 5-6 mths
  • Danial  Cubby
    Danial Cubby  · Mar 11
    depends on the breed I rekon but I generally like to around 8 to 10 months old
  • Cassie Lee
    Cassie Lee  · Mar 11
    At what age would you say is a good age to start a pup?