Rabbit/squirrel dog

Thread starter #1
This year my oldest daughter has turned six and has become a pretty good shot with her 22 rascal. I took her bow hunting two weekends ago and while she enjoyed it, she enjoyed squirrel hunting a lot more.
It was a bit frustrating with leaves on the trees, but she enjoyed the walking, looking, and getting to hear the barks and sounds. So fast forward a little and she has discovered that dogs can be trained to trees squirrel so she has put in a request for a squirrel dog and a rabbit dog (she proclaims she will be a vet when she grows up), only problem is I don’t know anyone who has either and everyone I have asked doesn’t know either. Can anyone point me in the direction of a good breeder/trainer where I can purchase either or both? I’m in the habersham county area of northeast Georgia.

I appreciate it, thanks.
 

Dbender

Senior Member
I would focus on either one or the other. It is going to be hard to train two different types of dogs unless you have a lot of free time. I sent you a P.M.
 
You probally should just go with a squirrel dog for now because of several reasons
1. There's a lot more squirrels than rabbits
2. There are a lot more places you can squirrel hunt than rabbit hunt, both public and private.
3. You have a longer season squirrel hunting with more action.
4. Young/ small hunters seldom get a shot off at a stretched out rabbit, squirrels they can take their time and shoot, sometimes a lot
5. Buy a started squirrel dog instead of trying to train your first one. You can be hunting and killing squirrels this season with a started dog.

Check out "squirrel dog central " to find a dog and/ or breeder. Do not, I repeat, do not buy a started dog without hunting with it first.
I love rabbit hunting also but it's best done with a pack of dogs and you have to have places to hunt. It gets harder and harder every year to have places to run beagles.
 

Dbender

Senior Member
90% of the dogs on facebook and sdc are going to be junk! Unless you are willing to spend 2,000 and up for a started dog with real potential, I'd start with a puppy. Most "started" dogs have major flaws and or faults that the owner isn't willing to live with. Real squirrel dogs are few and far between. If you have a pup that you honestly believe has all the tools to make a dog you aren't going to sell him cheap. If you get the right pup and spend quality time with it you should have a halfway decent dog by next season. Not saying it is going to be a squirrel dog but should be a fine first dog for a young child with zero expectations. I had one when I was 10 or 11 that by today's standard wouldn't be worth giving away but was worth everything to me.
 
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Hooty Hoot

Senior Member
All dogs have flaws. Are you saying that any pup purchased on the squirrel dog site is automatically inferior? That is like saying turkey calls purchased from Walmart will not call turkeys. I wouldn't buy a started dog without seeing him in the woods by himself. With a pup, you have no idea what you are getting unless you know both parents.
 

Dbender

Senior Member
No, not all of them, about 90% of them. :) Even if you know both parents the chance of getting a squirrel dog from a pup is still low. I've bred two powerhouses and all the pups but one were only mediocre at best.
 
There are many reputable breeders and people selling dogs on Squirrel dog central. They have references and don’t mind showing them. As with anything else in life you have to do your homework. It shouldn’t be real hard to find a pleasure dog for a young un. Not everyone feels the need to own a “top” dog. There are plenty out there. A 5 year old will not enjoy doing what it takes to train one from a pup up. I know I enjoy starting a pup, and many other people do also
 
Thread starter #9
I plan to train the dog and just let her get to enjoy the hunting and companionship. I’m sure she’ll join in on the training, shes a pretty sharp little girl.
 
Thread starter #10
I’ve been reading and researching training squirrel dogs and I keep reading about using trapped squirrels but not to release them more than a few times? I figure the first time you release one your not seeing it again, am I missing something?
 
Using a cage or a trap when you aren't familiar with training a squirrel dog is about the quickest way to ruin a good prospect . And no , you don't see the squirrel again. They seldom stay alive for a whole day in a tube,cage or trap. Theres a lot more to training a squirrel dog than most people realize, it takes a lot of trips to the woods to even get one started. That's why I suggested you check into a started dog. Good luck.
 
Thread starter #12
Judging from your avatar I’d say you know what your doing.
By no means am I thinking this is going to be easy but you have to start somewhere. So stay away from traps and cages.... as far as hitting the woods, that’s not an issue, I can probably get the dog out 4 days a week or more.
 
Sq. hunting is actually kinda tough. There's a lot of little pieces to the puzzle. If the dog doesn't do one, it isn't going to make a sq. dog. As this will be a pet you're not going to be able to cull, consider pet quality. We have a pet here that would be a jam up sq. feist, but it won't bark treed after you kill a couple sq. Once it figures out the sq. are going in the bag, it refuses to share the tree.

It'd be a good idea to attend some comp. hunts (check UKC, NKC web sites) or hunt with folks who have different types before you settle on one.

Here's the brief version of training a sq. dog:

Be careful with loud noises up to about nine months. They go through stages where they are more impressionable about being made to fear things. Introduce gun fire slowly. A gun shy dog is an automatic cull.

After six to nine months of age, take to sq. woods where there are not deer hunters nearby at least three times per week. Keep sessions short, half an hour is good.

Heel the dog in to the hunt area. Cast it.

Don't shoot anything out unless the pup barks up. On the first few, even a squeak counts. As it makes more trees, require more barking. Once I start hunting a pup, it gets no attention in the woods unless it does what I want. Then I love up on it big time.

After a successful tree or three, start tying the dog at or right by the tree to teach it to stick to the tree to get the sq. out.

After the sq. is out and you loved up on it to beat the bad, heel the dog at least fifty yards away and cast it again. This teaches it to no go back to the old tree.

Some of these dogs get attached and will only hunt for their master. This is probably going to be 'your' dog, not hers. Good luck! It is a lot of work, but it is very entertaining.

And there's nothing wrong with saving time and money by buying a finished dog. Just make sure you hunt with it and see it will do what you want before buying.
 
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Thread starter #15
I greatly appreciate it.
I have nothing against getting a finished dog, but would also like to attempt to train one. I’m gonna give the book a long look.
 

lagrangedave

useless thread starter
Dogs are strange, I shot my first rabbit behind a 130# german shepherd that was a rabbit hunting fool...…..I had a rat terrier that deer would feed within 10 yards of her...……..I now have a shi Tzu that would drown herself trying if I told her to fetch a duck.....she does do small water retrieves...………...
 
Sq. hunting is actually kinda tough. There's a lot of little pieces to the puzzle. If the dog doesn't do one, it isn't going to make a sq. dog. As this will be a pet you're not going to be able to cull, consider pet quality. We have a pet here that would be a jam up sq. feist, but it won't bark treed after you kill a couple sq. Once it figures out the sq. are going in the bag, it refuses to share the tree.

It'd be a good idea to attend some comp. hunts (check UKC, NKC web sites) or hunt with folks who have different types before you settle on one.

Here's the brief version of training a sq. dog:

Be careful with loud noises up to about nine months. They go through stages where they are more impressionable about being made to fear things. Introduce gun fire slowly. A gun shy dog is an automatic cull.

After six to nine months of age, take to sq. woods where there are not deer hunters nearby at least three times per week. Keep sessions short, half an hour is good.

Heel the dog in to the hunt area. Cast it.

Don't shoot anything out unless the pup barks up. On the first few, even a squeak counts. As it makes more trees, require more barking. Once I start hunting a pup, it gets no attention in the woods unless it does what I want. Then I love up on it big time.

After a successful tree or three, start tying the dog at or right by the tree to teach it to stick to the tree to get the sq. out.

After the sq. is out and you loved up on it to beat the bad, heel the dog at least fifty yards away and cast it again. This teaches it to no go back to the old tree.

Some of these dogs get attached and will only hunt for their master. This is probably going to be 'your' dog, not hers. Good luck! It is a lot of work, but it is very entertaining.

And there's nothing wrong with saving time and money by buying a finished dog. Just make sure you hunt with it and see it will do what you want before buying.
I have trained too many dogs to count !! I have had few that have been the once in lifetime, meaning they done everything right. This gentleman is giving you good advice. The cage squirrel and tube (tied up), i agree is not good after a few times. It will ruun one. One other thing I think he left out, is hunting a young dog alone while in training. A couple times with a good dog then no more. I believe they will become dependent on the better dog to do all the work. I had Curt Ladner to breed me a smaller dog from his line. He has been his feet on tree treeing since he was around 4 1/2 months old !! He is looking like he will be a very good one !! He appears to be a natural !! Knowing uour breeder and both parents being good dogs is where I too would start !! Do you a search on Ladner Curs. I searched high and low before I replaced my old dog i had to put to sleep a couple years ago.
 
You are gona find it hard to find a started dog this close to season as the prices rise, and like has been said before, you will find culls. If they keep this started dog through the season, hunt it, get it better, the price would be worth the wait before they sale (more money for them)!!. I be glad to come and run John Henry some around Turnerville, he is still a pup, if yall would like tag along !! I think he will work with a stranger around, never tried him with strangers !! There is a guy up here that has a pair of registered omc. He will be having another litter in the Spring, if you do not find anything sooner. The price might surprise ya since it is going to a youngster !!
 

Dbender

Senior Member
I wouldn't waste my money on the squirrel dog basics book. It isn't rocket science. Pay attention to the pup first and foremost. Killing squirrels when training should be last on your list. Everyone has different ideas about what a squirrel dog should do. Some can live with chewing, tree jacking, zero handle, sloppy treeing, not-timbering(some prefer it), etc. These dogs are bred to tree squirrels, you aren't training them to tree just like you don't train a bird dog to point or a retriever to retrieve. You merely "refine" the natural instinct to suit the style you prefer. This refining might only take two sessions or it may take 20 you never know. There is no set time frame to introduce certain aspects of training, each dog is different. Just like a child, if you do your home training(obedience) half the battle is already won.
 
Mile Dooley has some very nice dogs I have had few out his line and have enjoyed them. Very early starting dogs tree hard and most make great combo dogs. He always has pups for sale. He is on Facebook kennel mame is swamp creek kennels . I had pups out hitman and Beth
 
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