Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Brain Train Your Catahoula Hog Dog

Keeping a Catahoula Cur puppy or dog focused and mentally stimulated is important.

If we don’t pay enough attention early enough to our started puppy and later to our finished dogs’ minds, they often become bored or start misbehaving, and their mental health can quickly deteriorate. In my opinion, a finished dog is never finished learning! To avoid these problems which could lead to dog fights on the road or at home or worse: to your dog trashing on something other than a wild hog in the woods, here are 5 quick tips to challenge your dog’s brainpower, keep him focused and turn him into a hog hunting genius!
1) Go off the Beaten Path and Diversify Your Dogs Activities
All year long, keep a kennel in the back of your truck even when it is not hunting season and take your dog places like the hardware store on a Saturday morning, or on family walks or fishing trips. 

Yes, literally, haul, hunt, scout and walk your dog in as many new areas and routes as much as possible and at the very least every once in a while. I call it boat and 'road dog' conditioning. And I do it year-round so my dog has a life off the chain and learns to be a well-behaved tourist on the road or on the water in a boat. 

If you take your dog on family walks using the same woods and path each and every day or when you scout in the offseason, he’s missing opportunities to come across anything new and be distracted during hog hunts. But don’t limit this scent training to just scouting and family walks; expand it to all areas of your dog’s life. 

Teach your dog a new skill, let him sniff out new places, or try taking part in a cow dog, blood trail dog or hog dog field trial or some other competitive sport. Keep your dog’s environment full of new and exciting things, and offer him plenty of opportunities to use his brain. If all you do is leave your dog kenneled and tied unless you are hog hunting, he will not be as good a hog hunter as someone who 'spoils' their dog and allows him to be a family pet and the clean family inside pet/hog dog. Now I know some of you believe that he cannot be an inside family pet and a good hog hunter, but that philosophy doesn't apply to well-bred Catahoula Curs and I will agree if you are feeding him too much because he won't hunt because a hungry dog hunts, and a dog whose guts are packed with Ol' Roy high pro is not 'motivated' to hunt. Always remember: HUNGRY DOGS HUNT!
2) Hide Your Dog’s Treats and Bones
Puppies and dogs can be quite playful and determined when it comes to getting the things they want, so why not use this to put their brains to work? 

If your puppy or dog wants a bone, try placing it under a laundry basket or hiding it under a blanket (making sure he doesn't see you put it there). Then, sit back and watch him use his nose and problem-solving skills to try and get it. When he solves the puzzle, praise him just as he reaches for the bone.

If your dog struggles or gets frustrated, make the exercise easier at first, and then gradually make it harder and harder over time. Throw a Frisbee, get him to retrieve a stick or make a liver drag and train your dog to trail blood for deer season. If all you do is hog hunt or tie your dog, he will not be as good as someone who hauled their dog everywhere, year round
3) Increase Your Dog’s Vocabulary
Dogs may not speak our language, but they understand every word we say and are always ready to learn new words, so why not take the time to expand your dog’s vocabulary? For example, you could start saying "load 'em up" when leading him to the truck or boat, and “let’s go potty” just before opening the door to let your dog out. After doing this often enough, your dog should come running over when you say; "load 'em up!" at the truck, or if they are an inside dog, and need to be let out whenever you say “let’s go potty.” Dogs are pretty fast to learn to associate a particular action with a word or phrase, and are quick to anticipate what will happen next, so you will usually see results very quickly.
4) Never Stop Training and DON'T assume he is a cull if not hunting by 6-8 months
Don’t stop training your dog/puppy when he is not hunting by 6-8 months or if he gets a cracked rib and quits hunting, or when he slows down and reaches his golden years. “If you don’t use it, you lose it” especially applies to young started and also to senior dogs. Yes, old dogs can learn new tricks, the only thing is, they may take just a little bit longer to learn them, but be patient and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. So don’t let that brain go to rust, an older dog’s brain never loses its ability to learn new things so long as you give it the chance.
5) Brain Training for Dogs
The canine brain is like a muscle – if you don’t challenge it, it won’t grow! That’s why the best way to make your dog a smarter hog dog is by teaching him special “brain games” and “brain exercises.” Brain games are fun little games you can play with your dog to teach him new skills and increase his intelligence as you turn your dog into a well-behaved and obedient hog hunting genius! 

And if you are looking for something to do with your dog... Don't miss the 25th Uncle Earl's Hog Dog Trials coming up at the end of March in Winnfield, Louisiana.

Friday, January 24, 2020

In Honor Of Sherry Bando II

I published this 4 years ago, but blogger is acting up!
Valyrie, a grandaughter of Camp a Whiles' Cutting Buck

It has been too long that I have not posted here and for many reasons that I will not get into now, but I have a mission to carry out and Sherry Bando appointed me to it. 

   de la Houssaye's  Cutty Dark, a son of Campawhile's Cuttin Buck

In honor of this great woman who inspired me and took time to talk to me and teach me, I am going to start telling it like Sherry did and in her honor, I will pass two Sherry Bando gems to you now: 
1. As a puppy when raising them up, keep these dogs out of harms way for about 2 years because they are so high performance breed(and confrontational) that they often do not survive long as a hog dog or cow dog otherwise. 

2. Unless we recognize and respect that the dogs are not only smarter than we think, (they are smarter than us! But don't tell anyone I said that! Yes, Miss Sherry.) we will not get 100% performance out of these high performance bred working dogs. 

It was Sherry Bando who first encouraged me to write the book on Catahoulas that has yet to be published. In her honor, and to her credit for spending many hours on the phone sharing her wisdom of breeding and properly raising Catahoula pups, I must fulfill her vision of giving the dogs the credit they deserve by telling their story. 

If I can call myself a true dog man today, it is in large part due to Sherry Bando being a true dog woman, who recognized a spiritual kinship that I had with these dogs and for being my friend for 20 years. 

the theme of the book briefly;
 For those who have known these great dogs and why they do what they do as working dogs, we all know that there is no greater love than to lay your life down for your friends. 

Below is a letter from my friend Jake to Miss Sherry just a few weeks before she went home to the Lord.    

Jake thank you, I could not have said it better.

Jake Loiacano to Sherry Bando
Being a cowboy and having working dogs has been as big of a part of my life as anything I've ever done.

 I've been from coast to coast, as far north as Missouri, and down to south Texas all because I ran dogs. I never really learned a trade except for being a cowboy and a dog man. In all those travels I've met thousands of people but few as special as other dog men. 

When I got into the field trial scene everyone stayed at a distance no one really mingled or mixed up with each like they do today. In them days everyone had their own camp and that is where they stayed there wasn't much fellowship or visiting at all. 

About a year or so of going to bayings and never really meeting anyone other than who we came with we met you. You were the first person outside of our circle to be our friends. I'll never forget the day we met.

 We were in Union Hill, Louisiana you were as charismatic and genuinely as nice a person as we had ever met in that business and you started a friendship that day that you'll have for as long as I walk this earth. You had stories about going to Georgia and competing against all these high powered dogs and winning when you were the only woman there.

 I remember everything you talked about in your experiences competing and it fascinated me to know end and I hung on every word. Eventually, it lit a fire under me to go to Georgia too and I met some of the best people in the business of whom I'm still friends with today. 

To me you were a trendsetter in that aspect you didn't care what other folks did or thought you did what you wanted, befriended who you wanted and did what you thought was right and being friends with folks as you competed against them was your style. You weren't into the good ol boy systems you put it all out in the open.

 You are also a dog breeder unlike most of the others. (This part is going to step on some toes) I had heard all these tall tales about Catahoula dogs from days past and all these high powered pedigrees but none of those people put their money where their mouth was... YOU DID.

 Most folks selling puppies didn't even compete they sold dogs based on what they did one time long ago.... NOT YOU. You ran your dog at every trial. He was your lead dog everyone knew it and they didn't have to read his papers to learn about him you actually competed with him which no one else really did because they were afraid of losing to non-registered dogs and maybe their puppies wouldn't be as valuable. 

Your dogs spoke for themselves by the way they worked not by a sales pitch. I've had two camp-a-while dogs in my time and at their prime they were the best in the business even if it was a short run because they both left this earth too soon. I now have my third Camp-a-While dog and I named her QUEEN in honor of you the First Lady in hog baying. You are by far the most influential woman this sport has ever seen and no one else comes close. 

This business is tough and folks don't normally last but a few years but like Donna Gaudet Whipple said you're still here for a reason. You did things right and didn't cross anyone, you were honest to a fault sometimes, but that is what made you, you. I remember sitting in the bleachers at Uncle Earls one year and some guy said something about a group of dog MEN and he included you in that group. 

Another lady took offence to his comment and said something to you along the lines of aren't you offended by him calling you a "dog man" you just laughed in her face and said "hell no that's the best compliment he could've given me". 

You will always be remembered by all the great dog men including this one. You are one of a kind,  Me, mom, and dad love you. We pray for your comfort and that you may rest easy. Please call anytime if you feel like talking..... again thanks for being my friend.