Life with Sweetie

JTHOMP

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DISCLAIMER - Posts in this thread may be long winded. I'm using it as sort of a journal with photos for my first hunting dog, and would like to share with others who may appreciate it. I suck at proofreading (misspelling and typing wrong words) so I apologize in advance. Any advice from others is thoroughly welcome. I look forward to the days of training, hunting morning evening and night, and using my 4 legged friend to introduce others to hunting and the public land I have come to love in my adult life.

For the past 7 or 8 years I have wanted a hunting dog. I've never owned one, and only hunted a few times with them. Once with deer dogs, multiple times with hog dogs, and a few times running coons. Years of thinking what kind of dog and what kind of hunting I wanted I decided that I wanted to hunt a large portion of hunting season and even year round. If I'm going to feed it year round might as well hunt it year round. I decided on a combo treeing dog for coons and squirrels which led me to looking at Curs. It has taken awhile to put my dream into play, but life has finally lined up for it. A job where I'm not traveling and constantly on call, a good woman at home to help with taking care of it as well as family near by for when I/we are on the road.

I wanted to get a pup at the end of this hunting season, so I would have time all spring and summer to train and get for next hunting season. Even decided to give up much of my 2020-2021 deer season and Western dreams so I can focus of giving the dog the best start possible. I had planned on getting a pup out of a Tennessee Treeing Brindle, which the due date was January 12th. I called the guy shortly after the due date and found out the female that had paired twice with the male, just never got pregnant. I asked the handful of people I know that are involved with dogs (or know of others), and my buddy Adam put me in touch with Mr. Carlton. A brief phone conversation with Mr. Carlton last week and he told me he had two Mountain Cur pups for sale.

I visited Mr. Carlton on Monday. He is older in age, and due to a recent eye injury while squirrel hunting is selling a few of his younger dogs that need to be hunted. He advised that I go with the 7mo pup who was already treeing squirrels on his own even though he hasn't been worked that much. I feel there is a lot to learn from him in his years of experience, and hate to go against his judgement, but I feel that if I am going to do this, I want to start my own dog. The 4mo female shined in her kennel. All of the dogs barked and pawed at the fence. She calmly looked at us wagging her nub, and joined in with a few barks. I named her there Sweetie.

Inside his shop he showed me some vests he makes. If anyone is interested in a small game/upland bird vest I'll gladly put you in touch with him. Similar price as other vests I've looked at online, but the material is indestructible, and balances well with weight. He gave me a long skinny piece of material, cut a tear down the middle, and told me to continue the rip with my hands. It wouldn't budge. Vest has multiple large pockets, lined game bag, and shell holders on the front. He doesn't advertise them, just sells by word of mouth. We agreed on a price for the dog and a vest, and I planned to return the next day.

Last night me and Ashley went to get the pup, but first sat and visited with he and his wife. Both polite and kind people. Mr. Carlton has raised squirrel dogs for 60 years, and I feel will be a great resource. He gave me lots of advise for getting the pup started and reminded me many times to call with questions. I hope to hunt with him some next season.

Ashley drove home while I carried Sweetie in my lap. Her calmness was almost unnerving. Sat up a few times, but mostly laid there for the hour long ride. She smelled TERRIBLE . Not knocking anyone that keeps hunting dogs kenneled, is what it is. But we wanted this dog to be a part of our home, and hopefully she'll have that switch when it's time to hunt, it's go time. First thing we were doing was giving her a bath (even after a bath my hands still stink today). It's easier to bathe the dog, and I needed one myself, so I put her in the shower with me. She whimpered and pawed at the glass when I first shut her in by herself, and it was good to see some form of life out of her. She gave me no problems in the shower or drying off. After the shower we let her explore the house. Now she had a bubble and veered from being petted, but she would follow me from room to room. She wanted to come to us, but was a little nervous. We introduced her to Ashley's dog Millie and they seemed fine. Just had to keep Millie from getting too excited. Sweetie seemed a little happier with Millie around. The night was thankfully peaceful. Only whining and barked for the first minute. I think having Millie sleep in the same room helped.

This morning she was hesitant to voluntary leave the kennel. Even when coaxed with a few pieces of dog food. She is use to being fed once a day in the evenings. I suspect when she gets a little hungrier she'll warm up more. I brought her outside and she peed and pooped. Would call to her, again with food, but she still maintained her bubble. I enjoyed watching her outside. The entire time on the move with her nose on the ground. I have high hopes for her. I leave for work earlier than Ashley so she continued to hang out with the dogs in the house. Shortly after I left, I got a text and video from Ashley. She was petting Sweetie and said that since I had left she would run to the door and whine, and then run to Ashley. She only stopped whining when she was petted, and repeated that multiple times. I selfishly enjoyed that.

Later Ashley sent more pictures and videos of her outside with the dogs. Sweetie is starting to warm up to us. I've been saving coon and squirrel hides, tails, and even a few hides with the heads and tails in the freezer since last season. Look forward to getting home, and letting her chase a tail on a string.

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Bhill552

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Sweet looking dog. Good luck with training. I'm also starting an adventure with my own first hound.
 

JTHOMP

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I got in yesterday 1.5 hours later than normal. It was dark, but I pulled a coon hide out of the freezer and tied it to a cane pole for her to chase. While working I wore my hunting vest I bought from Mr. Carlton. I plan to wear the vest every time we train or hunt so it's her switch for it's time to hunt. She was still hesitant on coming close, so I put her supper in one of the vest pockets.
After a few cautious sniffs she was into chasing the hide more so when it made noise across the leaves. Showed less interest when raised a little in a tree, but would still go up some. Throughout that time I'd put the pole across the fence and let her roam around the yard. Nose to the ground the whole time. I'd call her over and feed her a few pieces out of my hand and praise her. Then go back to the coon. We finished the night sitting on the couch.

This morning puppy was in full force. We worked on sit and she did well. After that while getting ready for work the pitter patter of little feet was constant through the house. When called she came running. I'm interested to see how much more she'll be invested in the hide this evening.
 

JTHOMP

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I really wanted and had originally planned for a brindle colored dog, but wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to get one just because of color. Maybe I'm biased but she really is pretty dog.

When I got in yesterday evening we went to the back of the house with the coon tail to try to minimize distractions, but there were still plenty. Millie cutting up, geese honking, neighbor's dog barking, and smells of a new area. She was interested in chasing the tail on the ground but smells would ultimately win her attention when the tail was raised at the base of a tree. I eventually brought her inside with Ashley and Millie while I left to help my dad.

I got back after dark and Sweetie rushed the door when Ashley stepped out (we're working on that). Figured might as well let her chase again, and grabbed my vest. This time the only thing in the world that mattered was the coon tail and I loved every second of it. Even when I would lean the pole across the other side of the fence to try to give her attention span a break she still wanted that coon. We did that for probably 20 minutes and she still wanted more when we quit. In the house before washing my hands she was obsessed with my right hand which was used to grab the tail after she caught it.

I'm on call this weekend, so hopefully things will be quiet and I'll have more time to get her acclimated to the area and work her. Also plan to start building a small squirrel run to put in the patch of pines behind the house.


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JTHOMP

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Having two full days with Sweetie was great. At this point she is fully a part of our family. Her spot on the couch with me is exactly where you see her in the above photo. Her and Millie and still working things out but getting along fine. Even got a photo from Ashley this morning of them laying on the couch together. Her favorite things are naps and the coon tail. Now when she gets of that tail you'd think it was and alive and she's trying to kill it. Taking it away is like fighting with a crackhead over a piece of copper wire.

Saturday evening I took Sweetie to the woods for the first time. Walking on a lead was different for her, but by Sunday it was easy going for both of us. We played with the coon tail on the cane pole similar to the yard to get her fired up. Then tried to get her to follow a drag. While attached to the lead I tied it to a tree, drug the tail about 10yds and hung it in front of her. The whole time she is whining and pulling against the lead to get after the tail. Unclipped her and “Get Ahead”. She took off in a straight line at with her nose to the ground and ran right past yet. I wasn’t expecting that. But she kept her nose to the ground and eventually found it. We did that a few times. Sometimes she would sniff all around the area just knowing it was there, but didn’t know that if she would just look up it was right above her head. As to not let her get distracted on something else I’d give the tail a shake to get her attention. Now when she gets This dog is really growing on me. When in the truck going back home she laid in the middle of the truck with her head on my lap fast asleep.
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By Saturday night I had a small trap in the yard to try to catch a squirrel and a trap in the woods to try to get a coon. Ashley wanted to check the coon trap with me Sunday morning, because she wanted to see how Sweetie would react. I think if she gets to see a live animal she’ll really be on fire. Nothing had visit the trap over night, but we working some more with the cane pole and a couple more drags. She was still too excited to see where I put the tail and used her nose to find it which was great to see. Now she also figured out the scent was above her and she needed to look up.
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Worked with her again after lunch and now she learned to go off sight. We just did a couple and went back to house since we had company over. Sunday evening I took her back to the woods just to get her accumulated to sniffing around. She had a long day and I didn’t want to burn her out, but brought the tail just in case. I unclipped her at the pond just to let her walk around and sniff without me giving her any commands. We walked around and she sniffed things out. Eventually I decided to break out the tail which as usual she was fired up about. Still not barking much but some. I did two drags with her and placed them both out of sight. Both times she did great following her nose and finding it above her. Wish I had a video of those because of how good she did, but Ashley videoed Sunday morning.

Last training of the day was back at the house where I put a 15ft rope on her and we worked on “come” and “sit” while feeding her supper. Before finishing the night on the couch I called Mr. Carlton to give him an update. He advised in order to promote her to bark don’t raise my tone and praise cause it will distract her. Instead give her an almost whispering “ssshhhhhhh watch him” and made me repeat it back to him to make sure I said it right. Going to start doing that moving forward and hopefully she’ll open up more.

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JTHOMP

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This week of training we are working on keeping her bark going and introducing her to guns. Most mornings we work on "come" "sit" and "stay" while I get ready for work. I wasn't going to get home until late Tuesday so early morning before work we went behind the house. She finally her mouth opened and it was great. Got a short clip of it on my phone. I had an alarm set on my phone to go back inside and it went off during the clip.

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Wednesday I started introducing her to a .22 rifle. Ashley and I got home about the same. Let the dogs out and they did all their crazy running and bathroom routine. While somewhat distracted I figured this would be a good time to shoot. I kept her at a good distance away from me with Ashley and fired at a tree a few time. She seemed oblivious to it. Brought her too the woods and she was full energy ready to go sniff. Unclipped the leash and let her to her thing. After awhile I decided to try out the gun again. While still at a good distance, I caught her attention, fired and threw the tail to her. For the first time she really wasn't interested in the tail and more interested in the direction of the shot.

I gave it to her to let her chew, drug it around, put it up a tree. She would go after it but with little intensity. No barking or whining. When putting it up the tree her attention didn't last long and she would look back to the direction I shot. I didn't want to keep the tail out if she wasn't excited. So I put it in my vest and walked a bit until she went back to sniffing. A little after dark I took the tail out. Her intensity increased again and she was barking good. As much as I hated to ruin it I had to get her use to shots. Took a few steps back and pointed the gun the opposite way and fired. After the shot I pulled the tail out and let her get it. Again distracted by the direction of the shot. She would walk around with it some, drop it, and pick it back up. I let her have her time with it before taking it away and giving her a treat. I was giving her time to get back comfortable again when my grandma call needing help so we left.

I have the traps shut since I won't be able to regularly check them during this week. But the coons found the corn I put out. Hopefully I'll catch one this weekend. I need to dig through the freezer and find some of the squirrel hides and tails I saved. Also going to incorporate the gun to part of our trips to the woods. She gets excited when I'm getting the vest ready and I need to make the gun part of that equation.
 

JTHOMP

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Weekend Progress Report:

The Good
Sweetie seems to be comfortable when shooting the .22lr around her. Sunday evening I used my .17hmr. Significantly louder than the .22lr but not as bad as a shotgun. She did a little jump skip when fired the first shot. Second shot she was focused on treeing and it didn’t even phase her.

She is starting to tree on her own based on scent. Leading up to the weekend as well as Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening she would catch the scent and then tree after she saw what was in the tree. Now she’s getting confidence in her nose. Sunday morning while walking into the woods I slipped ahead to check the coon trap, and she started treeing behind me. She treed on a small skinny tallow tree. She checked the adjacent trees the treed again on the same tree. There was obviously nothing in the tree. An adjacent oak had a nest in it and I shook a few vines, but nothing. No idea how old it may have been, but I believe she was treeing on something that had been there. Sunday evening I rubbed a squirrel on a tree and put it back in my pocket without her seeing me. When she found the scent, she treed on it. My buddy has told me that it has been preached to him by other dog people that since she is treeing on her own, don’t do anymore drags or put her on a caged animal. Just hunt her.

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The Bad
We were in new woods Sunday evening. When it was time to go she did not want to come, and instead kept wanting to sniff. Even treats couldn’t persuade her. Which is good in a way, but aggravating. I did my best to keep from getting too frustrated because scaring her would only hinder her progress. While out in the yard she is starting to more often do the same thing. Just a puppy thing we’ll need to work on. This evening we’ll take a break from the woods and work on that. It was suggested to me before I even got her to get a Garmin collar with an electric shock for when she is hunting to get her to come back. Currently looking into that as well.

Having both Sweetie and Ashley’s dog together is becoming chaotic. When Millie is around other dogs she is often up their butt the entire time wanted to play. She’s gone through various phases so far with Sweetie. Wanting to play, indifference, jealousy, and now the play mode has become too much. Instead of using the bathroom outside she has held it and focused on playing only to later use it in the house. Ashley was frustrated this morning because Millie wouldn’t listen to any commands, running around and trying to mess with Sweetie to the point that Sweetie hardly had a chance to piss. Really hoping this is temporary, because she is becoming uncontrollable when they area outside together.

The Reflection
Everything was great until Sunday evening. She had done fantastic with every task. Sunday morning I pretty much hunted her where she ran searching for about an hour. Treed during the start of it, and once I put a squirrel on a tree without her seeing it and later she found it.

After Sunday evening I was more frustrated with myself than anything. We went to a small WMA where I thought she would have a better chance at finding a squirrel than the woods by the house. To get to the better squirrel woods not near a boundary is about .5mi walk down a trail. While trying to finish up a few things around the house I left later than I should have and was rushing to get to the Sweetie in the woods in time to hopefully get on a squirrel. The woods were new, and full of new scents to her. This was apparent every 10 feet of the trail. After a while I could tell she was getting frustrated.

When I finally turned her loose she seemed more interesting in ranging out behind us and not a general forward direction. She slightly treed in one spot but I think this was mostly due to seeing an odd shape in the tree, and tons of fresh pig sign. She seemed to mostly work the area of pig sign. I didn't realize they had gotten this bad on the WMA Eventually I put her back on the lead, moved a 100yds and started again. I really think I need to get her on a hunt with other dogs so she can figure how to range out and hunt. Just have to make sure she’s ready for the gun shots first.

I’m sure there’s more learning pains ahead of us. But last night Ashley reminded me of Mr. Carlton telling me the two most important things are patience and persistence.

 

1_pointer

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Awesome!! Good luck with the training.

FWIW, getting an e-collar so I had some control of Hank off leash was a game changer. That said, I did not introduce that until he was about 1yr old...
 

JTHOMP

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Awesome!! Good luck with the training.

FWIW, getting an e-collar so I had some control of Hank off leash was a game changer. That said, I did not introduce that until he was about 1yr old...

I'm still torn on the e collar. Both in usage and cost. A buddy advised similar to you to not use it until she is consistently treeing and hunting. Which I think is fair. As for cost I'm leaning towards buy once cry once. If I don't ever use electrical application I can sell it. I think that would be better than buying a standard tracking collar only having to upgrade later.
 

JTHOMP

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Monday evening I took her to a pasture she had never been to and we worked on "come" with the 15 foot rope. Can't say she did great, but overall I think she did good. I took off work Tuesday to take her to the vet and get a few other things done. Before the vet I took her her too the woods. I was very impressed drive ranging out. With just a little encouragement she ranged out well passed eye site. I was having to catch up and listen to hear where she was. Only complaint was that "come" was again not in her vocabulary. Not wanting to be late for the vet appt I caught her early, gave her a pat, "good girl", and treat before going back to the truck.

Back at the house we had some time to spare before the vet, so I put the rope back on her and we worked on "come" among the distractions of smells around the burn pile and whatever she was barking at on the neighbor's place. She was flawless! Rarely had to pull the rope to get her attention. I planned to work on "come" in the yard during the evening before going to the woods. Ended up not having time for the woods, but still worked on "come".
She was a completely different dog than earlier. Pretty much saying come twice, pulling her to me and giving her a treat. Never once came on command. I don't want to keep her out of the woods because of obedience. She's a hunting dog, and continuing to do great with it. Mr. Carlton suggested tying a piece of weed eater string to her to help with catching her in the woods so moving forward I'll do that.

Worked on "come" this morning and she did alright.

Persistence and Patience.
 

1_pointer

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I'm still torn on the e collar. Both in usage and cost. A buddy advised similar to you to not use it until she is consistently treeing and hunting. Which I think is fair. As for cost I'm leaning towards buy once cry once. If I don't ever use electrical application I can sell it. I think that would be better than buying a standard tracking collar only having to upgrade later.
I can be a spend-thrift at times. I wanted a GPS/E-collar, but didn't spend the money on it. I have the house brand of this collar. Nothing fancy, but it has worked quite well.

 

JTHOMP

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I can be a spend-thrift at times. I wanted a GPS/E-collar, but didn't spend the money on it. I have the house brand of this collar. Nothing fancy, but it has worked quite well.


Only problem is that I'd like to run a GPS for safety reasons when near roads. And one of the public lands I'll likely spend a lot of time on requires a tracking collar. Do you not use a GPS collar or did you train with e collar and put the GPS on by itself to hunt?
 

Bhill552

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JTHOMP, thank you for these posts. Like I said earlierI also am entering the world of training a hunting hound (beagle)and its nice to see another having the same struggle and success that I am experiences. I am definitely stealing the "patient and persistant" minset and feel that I need those 2 words tattooed on my inner eyelids sometimes. Please keep up the posts. Thanks again
 

1_pointer

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Only problem is that I'd like to run a GPS for safety reasons when near roads. And one of the public lands I'll likely spend a lot of time on requires a tracking collar. Do you not use a GPS collar or did you train with e collar and put the GPS on by itself to hunt?
I do not have a GPS to track the dog. Just an e collar. I've put a bell on him at times, which works well.

I'm working with a pointing breed and generally don't let him range too terribly far. That said, here in IN when just loafing in the woods, there's been a few times I wish I had a GPS.
 

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