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 Post subject: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 17th, 2018, 11:54 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 am
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Location: Morrisville, PA
Hello FHF,

We recently had to put our dog down. I came into the situation with him not being very good socially so I never took him out. I'm beginning to hear conversations of a new family companion. Before I offer my two cents on the family's dog situation, I'd like to make sure I have input that would aim toward adopting a dog that is good in the field.

I'm not looking for any specific answers necessarily. I'd like to hear any and all advice from people who have experience with this... whether that be breed, proper training, when to start taking them out, for how long at first, snake-training (if that's a thing), etc.

Having a dog with me in the field has only ever happened once on a family vacation. If we are getting a new one, I'd like it to be a reality for me - at least when herping/hiking alone. I appreciate any thought/comments.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 17th, 2018, 4:55 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:02 am
Posts: 594
Location: Southern Cal.
My only response from 15 years as an animal control officer/administrator in California would be whatever dog you get, take it with you every where. Show it what you want it to do, in simple repetitive ways. Show it that you care. It will return the affection.

I started with local oil fields and board lines with controlled or semi - fenced areas. Go to the same area a few times so it knows what to expect. Follow a routine.
Get a young dog 10 months to 2 years old. I personally like females better than males for stability and predictability.
Make sure the dog is spayed or neutered. Get it licensed and keep the tag on the dog all the time. That license or ID tag is your dog's return ticket home if lost. It is important.

You don't have to spend a lot of money. Shelter or rescued dogs are just as smart and trainable.
In PA. you would want a dog that could handle some cold temps.
A dog that was good in water would be good also (and can be trained into any breed).

Labrador and Shepard mixes are very common and make excellent choices. But so do other breeds.

Those are just some thoughts from a lifelong, 60 year old dog owner.

P.S. Make your whole family part of the process. Each of you use the same commands, and routine.
It will naturally protect you and your family given some time. If you can raise kids you can train a dog.
It's like a two year old that take two years to get with the program.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 17th, 2018, 9:10 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Posts: 4142
Location: San Francisco, California
I hope you share your journey once you find The One, Brick.

Craig, Love your advice up there. Should be a sticky.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 18th, 2018, 2:40 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
Posts: 2247
ImageBoots2 by Tamara McConnell1, on Flickr

Yes, Brick, please keep us posted!
I love herping with this guy. Boots is a mutt I found in a ditch when he was a tiny puppy. He's 75 pounds now and loves to go on adventures. He learned quickly that he is not to bother herps (and I don't have any dog training special knowledge, the dog just wants very much to please his people).
A good dog is a great field companion.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 18th, 2018, 3:53 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
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Location: Unicoi, TN
Topic close to my heart also as a lifelong dog owner.... ( 2 weeks away from 70 years)
Lots of variation here and your type of herping can even enter into it.


Craig's advice is right on: training, training, training.

And after a few fundamentals, like come, sit, stay, wait, down, on leash and off leash, the easiest way for a family to train is to take the dog with them everywhere they go if it is possible. The animal learns quickly what is expected and what is not as a pack member, and you don't even realize you're training. As Craig said, consistency amongst your pack members is important.


1 to 2 year old dogs are best, but I prefer puppies that haven't already been taught bad habits, but you have to be take training seriously and be aware that you're going to go through formative stages on high energy (even teenage times! Argh).
Selecting a puppy that doesn’t seem to be the first in the litter to greet you (trying to be most dominate) and often a female, can often be an easier train.


Just an opinion on pure breeds:
All the pure breeds carry selective breeding traits that are obvious to see, but genetic behavior dispositions are also in the background. These can positive or negative and can usually be overcome with training, but recognizing it upfront needs to be taken seriously helps on training emphasis.


Generalized examples are:

Hound dogs often seem to think that they’re hiking WITH you, as long as you’re within smell and ear distance. (A hound we had could go several hundred yards off trail, but was always still with us even on long hikes! LOL)

Southern quail hunters often have to deal with a dog that goes on point for Box Turtles.

Small breeds, terriers, Westies, Poms, etc., were often bred originally to control vermin, so can be aggressive to small animals. (We had a dachshund that would find a crawling snake, bark frantically, and, if the snake assumed a defensive position, dance around it. If I didn’t get there quickly, and the snake turned to escape, it would close in and kill. - nicht gut.)

Short snouted dogs were bred for the fighting pits, so their training needs to take that seriously (why so many pit bull owners get in trouble!)

Personally, we’ve found herding dogs to be best for herping and stream wild trout fishing where occasionally you need the dog to remain behind you a few yards, while you flip a rock or sneak up on a basking snake, or stalk a trout pool. We’ve had 3 rough collies, and are excellent hiking/herping companions and excellent family dogs.

PS Tamara, it looks like you have a keeper there!


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 18th, 2018, 3:57 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 am
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Location: Morrisville, PA
Thanks to everyone so far! I'm soaking it in.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 18th, 2018, 8:00 am 
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Joined: March 15th, 2018, 12:02 pm
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Location: Drumgooland Lower, County Down, Norlin Ulster
Go to a cowhunter in Florida who sells yeller curr dogs.
https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1EJ ... _5Y-a_m5-M


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 19th, 2018, 9:52 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
There's something so big and bright, so uniting, about dogs. Bill love your post and insights.

Love the photos and stories.

Tamara the more you share the more I wish we were neighbors.

Our dogs - my partner's - my "step kids" have both passed away these past couple years - they were terrier mixes, and small animal killers - catching rats that were living in the fruit trees at my partner's last residence - it was an interesting backyard ecology - the rats were fat and shiny. Coco the tiny one was the most adamant killer. The rest of the time she was as dainty and innocent as a polka dot.

We would like another dog, and I have the ability to bring dog to work, its allowed but its not the right time. Our cat relaxed her dislike when Coco entered her frail stage, and had lost her brother to lymphoma. It was rather profound that my cat did this, and helpful as Coco needed to be with us very closely, her brother was her Leader and he was such a good big brother - The Best.

We are letting Lula be the Grand Dam in her golden years without having to share territory. Until then we enjoy the dogs of our friends and neighbors.

Some of the clients have service dogs were I work - the dorms that do are happier and have less interpersonal conflicts.

Imagine.. somewhere is Brick's dog, right now, and how good its going to be when they find each other. :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: April 20th, 2018, 2:42 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
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Quote:
Imagine.. somewhere is Brick's dog, right now, and how good its going to be when they find each other.

Yes!

Quote:
Tamara the more you share the more I wish we were neighbors.

We would have enormous fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 10th, 2018, 8:04 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 4:46 pm
Posts: 271
Hi,
I also have had dogs all my life and they will do anything to please you and it is not breed specific. That being said you can teach/train your dog to "Down" when they see a snake or reptile. Repetition, praise and practice practice practice and you will be amazed at what will happen.

Your dog will find snakes before you do. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 10th, 2018, 10:12 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1784
Hi Brick,

I'm sorry you lost your dog. It beats the alternative (dog outlived you) but it's really just the better of two crappy options. Eh, what can you do though? Life is a serial heartbreaker.

I've had and trained (and eventually lost) a number of dogs too. Craig and Bill clearly have tons of experience and insight; most everything they say rings true to me also.

A few things to reinforce or fill in what they and others said:

You are ALWAYS training a dog. Whether or not you mean to be, whether or not you are paying attention, the dog is learning from you (or other people, when you are not around). Failure to completely embrace and internalize this is THE source of most dog/human or dog/animal conflicts. The remaining sources of conflict derive from the dog's inherent genetic predispositions. For example, expecting a terrier to not kill, a scent hound to not follow its nose, a sight hound to not run off, a pit dog to not fight other dogs, or a border collie not to herd, are simply delusional or ignorant.

Quote:
they will do anything to please you and it is not breed specific

Uh, to a point. It's a continuum really. Breeds (or mutts with a lot of such breeds in them) that were created by people to do jobs without much or any human supervision, aren't very motivated by your happiness (or lack thereof). Whereas breeds created explicitly to work very closely with humans, are very motivated to please or satisfy. They are also (mostly) quick learners in training. (I don't know much about breeds that weren't created to do jobs, they don't interest me, and I've never had any of those.)

I would give some more thought to what kind of co-existence you want in the woods with a dog. Do you want him to heel or stick behind you, and when you stop to flip or whatever, to sit and watch you quietly, staying out of the way? Or do you want him to be roaming, searching, and alerting you of his finds? Some breeds are versatile enough to do either (as long as you demonstrate & reinforce the expectations) while other breeds would be exceptional at one or the other, but not both. And many would be no good for either. The little killers come to mind...

To me the keys to dog-ownership satisfaction begins with understanding what you want out of the relationship, follows with you matching breeds to your wants & needs, and "ends" (not really, it just keeps going...) with you training the dog and maintaining the reinforcement.

One last thing - I have alternated rescues and puppies. My current 13 year-old German Shepherd rescue will be followed by a puppy. Both routes are great, and both offer some challenges. Rescues always come with some baggage, as you know. Your situation might call for a puppy or "teenager" (under maybe 18 months).

Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck and let us know how it goes!


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 19th, 2018, 5:44 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 am
Posts: 3488
Location: Morrisville, PA
Just wanted to check in with everyone and say thanks for taking the time to post. I have read and re-read your responses. We are finally at the stage of visiting shelters for dogs. I'll keep you all updated!


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 25th, 2018, 6:03 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 am
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Location: Morrisville, PA
Ok, we found our dog! She is a 5.5 month old "Hound mix." ...I've been told possibly Blue tick Coonhound, maybe Border Collie, maybe Catahoula. I personally have no clue - maybe I'll do a DNA test. She was placed with us from an NJ rescue who took her in from a kill-shelter in Alabama where they "think" she was found as a stray - the details on that are iffy.

Everyone loves her so far. I actually can't believe I'm falling for a dog. I've only had her a few days but I've been busy building some bonding with walks and trying to be a pack leader. I haven't really even tried any commands. I'm trying to establish a relationship and boundaries at this point and really working on my dog psychology.

Anyway, I promised an update, so here she is... Mia! *I haven't gotten any great pics yet - these will have to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 25th, 2018, 6:34 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
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Location: Unicoi, TN
That's great, Bob.
She looks like a dog that you could work with and be great for the family as well.

For herping the east, the most important commands to teach, so you can check cover are sit, down, wait, and stay.
For the west rattlesnake avoidance is important.

As far as her breeds go, pick something that the family agrees with and there it is. My son had a rescue that went to 4 different vets because he moved around. Each vet listed 3 breeds in the mix. Each guess was different!!! :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 25th, 2018, 6:45 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 am
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:lol:

Personally, I'm fine with hound mix or mutt. I really only care out of curiosity or maybe playing to her strengths.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 25th, 2018, 8:36 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:56 pm
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Location: SW USA
That’s great, congrats on your new family member! Having adopted a girl pup a few years ago I can tell you that you still have some falling to do with your new gal lol! She will likely bond with you pretty hard so get ready for a new “love” that will easily contend with your human partner :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 25th, 2018, 11:02 am 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 11:35 pm
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Location: San Jose', Northern Catcrapistan
Congrats.

Dogs really like to be a part of what you do.

My rescue Malinois (Mal x GSD?) likes tracking Snake (Gartersnake) and Turtle (Red-eared Slider). To avoid confusing her, Snake refers only to my local 3 species of Gartersnake. Kingsnake is King, Gopher Snake is Gopher, Yellow-bellied Racer is Racer and Rattlesnakes are NO!. She drags me through the grass to Track a Turtle, but walks right past Western Pond Turtles because they don't smell like the Sliders.

When we do Track a Snake, she has found all 3 species.

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On the turtle front, she picks up on where they cross the trail and follows the track through the grass:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 25th, 2018, 11:23 am 
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Location: Unicoi, TN
Awsome, Owen,
I used to think Border Collies were the most intelligent dogs ever till I saw Belgian Malinois dogs working with K9 officers and military.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 25th, 2018, 1:07 pm 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1784
Quote:
till I saw Belgian Malinois


Indeed. They are most impressive. Very much created to work extremely closely with humans - like, part prosthetic organ, part projectile weapon that eagerly comes back for another shot.

Quote:
Dogs really like to be a part of what you do.


A dog like a Mal or GSD or border collie certainly does. One of those "go live alone up on the mountain with the sheep all summer" dogs really doesn't (I have seen some disturbing Great Pyrennes & Kuvasz "family pet" situations where the people had just gotten in way over their heads). I think for the most part a scent hound would - though I have no personal experience, considering them a little annoyingly loud for my tastes - since the way they are used requires a bit of inter-species communication throughout the task ("Find It!!!"). The hard thing sometimes is to break through their intense concentration, and get them to attend to your adjusted (or divergent...) commands.

I've had some hunter friends and family with one to about 5 hounds, and have gone out with them now and then. A hound doing its thing is a REALLY happy animal, and it is super stimulating for a person to be part of that. So to some extent I think you'll want/need to do (lead) some of what it wants to do, and it can therefore be part of what you do. This could be the opening page on a whole new chapter of your life; who knows, maybe in a couple of years you'll be neck-deep in e.g., wood or spotted turtle research in the northeast, on account of what you and your new dog got into. Or maybe you'll discover a drive in yourself to help with disaster rescue or retrieval (truly a lifestyle, not a hobby). Who knows? Dogs are fascinating, dogs can be addicting, dogs are a lot of work but so worth it if you put in the time.

Good luck! Thanks for sharing, and please post some stuff now and then like Owen does. Many of us here love his dog too.


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 Post subject: Re: Herping with a Dog - Advice sought...
PostPosted: May 26th, 2018, 3:00 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
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Owen: I am so in love with your dog. Completely. Thank you for the photos, and please give us more.

Brick: Your dog is absolutely beautiful! Am anticipating photos of her field adventures. Congratulations!


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