In this section I will go over some information that will help the average person avoid making common mistakes during training.
Scent Control- By far the most important and over looked aspects of training antler hunting dogs is scent control. There is so much conflicting and false information out there on this subject that I feel needs clarrfied. The main misconception is that you need some kind of artificial antler scents to train your dog to find shed antlers. I use the word artificial because that is what they are. Wether it is a wax or liquid scent. These are man made products that are ment to imitate the scent of a shed antler. The use of training scents is derived from a bird dog training mentality and it does not translate over to the training of an antler hunting dog. These Scents will not help your dog find antlers during an actual antler hunt. It will only interfere with your dogs ability to scent naturally shed antlers.
A dogs sence of smell is so acute that they can smell on a mulecullar DNA level. Trained dogs can smell cancer cells in patents with up to 97% accuracy this is a higher accuracy than any other medical testing device out there. With a sence of smell this accute the notion of using an artificial man made antler scent is absurd.
The goal and purpose of training an antler hunting dog is to have them scent and find naturally shed antlers. To do this your dog must be trained to scent the antler itself which is made of calcified bone. Basicaly it boils down to, if deer or elk do not put it on their antlers before they shed then you should not put on your training antlers!
To train your dog to scent naturally shed and untouched antlers you need to elminate as much foriegn scent as possible. Doing so will ensure your dog will key in on the scent of the calcified bone of the antler not a foriegn scent.
There are several ways to do this that are relativly simple. 1st, being to always wear gloves when handling your training antlers and never touch them bare handed. When choosing gloves to use there somethings to know. Never use gloves that have powder on them always us powder free gloves as this powder will transfer over to the sheds . Always use desposable gloves. Any type of desposable gloves will work, wether they are nitrile, vinyl or latex.
2nd- Store gloves in a gallon sized ziplock bag.
3rd- buy a plastic storage tub and store your antlers in the tub.
4th- de-scent your antlers after you use them by running hot water over the antlers while in the plastic storage tub.
All this comes down to keeping your training antlers as natural and scent free as possible. This will ensure your dog is scenting the antlers not foriegn scent, all of which will in the end make your dog more succesfull while in the field.