Snow’s kennel training

Snow on the training rope

Snow on the training rope

I had two occasions where Snow did not want to come up to me when I wanted to put him into his kennel. This is a sign that I love to see in young dogs because he is telling me he is ready to think for himself and this is a great time to start with some training to stimulate that brain of his. Training should not be done in a forceful manner. All I use is a long piece of rope and a dog collar, with one end of the rope tied to the dog I can have control of Snow from ten meters away. Before I call him to me I make sure that I am holding the other end of the rope. If he does not come to me on the first nice call or the second serious call then I pull on the rope so he has not option but to come to me. When he gets to me I just give him a pat and tell him that he’s a good dog. Then I let him carry on playing with the other dogs again.

When it came to putting Snow away he had already worked out that he could not get away from me so he followed me. This bit of training is explained on the video of how Snow is taking notice of how the other dogs react and one of the most important things here is to keep calm about things, all animals are quick on picking up energy this is something that I think a lot of people are losing because of our societies. People don’t pay enough attention to external factors, we regularly hear people running other people down from different cultures. This is out of ignorance because people don’t want to open their eyes and see these people as the same as any other person within our society. When people are not prepared to take the time to learn about and understand our own people then how can we be expected to understand how an animal thinks as we like to think that we are the clever ones. Once you understand the dog and the situation you are both in you can make training a good time that your dog enjoys and this is with the right energy. So as I put the other dogs away Snow had walked to his kennel and was waiting at the door. He was still just a bit to small to jump up so I had to give him a quick pull up with the collar. I’m pleased to say that now he is very happy to go and jump up into his own kennel and wait at the door for me to give him a pat before I close his door.

This next bit of footage was taken two weeks later.

Boris’s escape foiled

I had just spent the last three days driving a milk tanker for Fonterra which had not left me with much spare time for the animals. I would let the dogs out for a run at 4am before work then again at night at about 6.30pm. One thing that pleased me was that none of the older dogs had a crap in their kennel only Snow but he did have one day that he did not which is not to bad as he is not quite 15 weeks old.

When I went to feed the pigs Boris came up to me from outside of the wire. What is interesting to me is that Boris has never been on this side of the wire before. Yet four days earlier Black and white got in with Boris and they had a big scrap which at the time Boris won. I gave all of the other pigs some food and Boris started trying to get grumpy with me by chomping his tusks. This is where I have to be in control so rather than get angry and aggressive I acted serious and talked to Boris in a strong serious voice with a lot of energy behind what I was saying. Boris stopped chomping and backed off so I went back up to the shed to sort out the pig buckets. Every thing was going fine until Boris turned up. This was too good of an opportunity for the dogs to miss out on. As soon as they knew that Boris was on the wrong side of the fence they were onto him. I just flicked my camera on as they went around the side of the house. The dogs done very well considering only Fog had a collar on and no dogs were wearing muzzles. At one point the dogs had Boris backing up to the fence and I was hoping he could get back into the block. I don’t think he wanted to turn long enough to go under the wire. At one point I think Jeff bit him on the arse and this got him to break up and down the track. In the end Boris shot under the wire into Mr Pigs block so it will be interesting to see what happens between these two as they both think they are the main boar in their blocks.

Snow’s stock training

My mates daughter Aria showing Snow some affection, Snow's father Fog looking on.

My mates daughter Aria showing Snow some affection, Snow’s father Fog looking on.

Stock training for any young dog is very simple all I do is get a pup around stock while they are young. A young dog will always look at the older dogs and learn from their behaviour. It always pays to be around to watch how the young dog reacts to each giving situation. Snow likes being with me when I feed the pigs so he is getting to see how they react. He is starting to play the bailing game with my smallest pig Snuffles which is great to watch. When I am walking somewhere with the dogs Snow keeps wanting to get in front of the other dogs and start barking at them.

Snow playing with his little mate Snuffles

Snow playing with his little mate Snuffles

This game is setting him up well for when he does decide to want to work the pigs. At the moment I do not want to encourage Snow to bark at the pigs because he will learn this himself when he is ready. If I was to try and encourage him to go and bark at the pig it might get him thinking wrong and start to chase the pig. This is where I see a lot of hunters doing things differently than me. Most young pig dogs get to see their first pig when the hunter gets down to a pig that the dogs are giving a hiding to. I would never want to start a young dog like that for the simple reason, you are teaching the dog to be aggressive to another animal.

Snow gaining  confidence standing beside a large boar, Digger

Snow gaining confidence standing beside a large boar, Digger

If a dog learns this behavior it can be harder to train the dog to calmly work the pig. So with Snow when he does decide to start barking at the boars they will still be standing in front of him not running because they to are used to him. So what will happen for Snow is he will learn to stand back and bark at a pig and not chase them everywhere. My main dog Fog does not chase pigs he bails pigs. I do not hear a bark from him until he bails a good pig and he is so fast that a pig works out real quick that they can’t out run him but he does not want to attack the pig either so they just stand for him.

Snow climbed up onto the motor bike on his own to get away from the cows.

Snow climbed up onto the motor bike on his own to get away from the cows.

He understands how a pig thinks rationally before they get worked up. It is not just with the pigs that Snow is getting a lot of training on I am also taking him around the sheep all the time. When I first ran him up the hill behind the motor bike he was a bit reluctant to run through the sheep but he is learning fast and watching how the other dogs are moving through the sheep. Snow will progress through these experiences to become confident around sheep.

Stock training around sheep is that easy. When he gets to the stage of wanting to bail the pigs I might see him look at the sheep but as long as I am watching for this stage it will just be a mater of me talking to him. Another big part of the stock training where a lot of hunters go wrong is giving their dogs a hiding if they take off after a rabbit, possum or hare. Giving a dog a hiding for this behavior can stop your young dog from wanting to hunt and you can end up with a dog that walks with you all day. The block around my hut has a few hares and rabbits running around which Jeff catches the odd one but they have so much cover and are very fast. If my pig dogs track around this area I know what they will be tracking but I do not stop them at this point because when they are out hunting I don’t want them coming back to me when they smell the wrong animal. Fog know that its ok to track them but don’t let the boss catch you actually chasing one. Its quit funny watching him when he is tracking around the hares when he gets close enough that he sees one he will move away and make out he hasn’t seen it. Lightning on the other hand is starting to get a bit lazier because he knows that Fog can find the pigs better than him so he does not run around the same and I never see him tracking or chasing hares. Thunder has been caught out taking off after a hare trying to break out but the electric collar makes short work of that. I don’t get him to hard on the collar because I don’t want to knock his ability to want to hunt. Snow is still to young for this stage as he can not run fast enough yet.

Mustering rams out of the pig block

Rams heading down through the pine trees

Rams heading down through the pine trees

Its that time of the year again when I needed to muster the rams out of the pig block. This is where Jeff is a good dog as he knows the difference of the sheep and the pigs. Before entering the block I said to Jeff that I wanted to get the sheep and he had to leave the pigs alone. on entering the block I had the sow and Digger right beside us and Jeff showed no interest in them. As we got to the top of the block I could hear a boar shomping his tusks which turned out to be Boris and Jeff showed no interest in him.

Rams heading out of the pig block through the gate

Rams heading out of the pig block through the gate

As we started to head up the other side there were four sheep that moved up the face above us. By the time we got up to the far corner we had seven sheep together. Once on the way down the hill the sheep tried to break away on me through the trees which Jeff done a very good job of turning them and getting them to head the way that I wanted.

 

The rams back up on the hill with the other sheep

The rams back up on the hill with the other sheep

Just before we got the gate I picked up an eighth sheep and they went though the gully so I had to open the gate then run up the hill to cut them off and head them back to the gate. I managed to get the rams up the hill past the house and in with the rest of the sheep.

Wild boars fighting

 

Fog and Jake bailing Mr Pig

Fog and Jake bailing Mr Pig

Jack Gordon came in for some training with three of his dogs, Chirp is an older bitch and Jacks main dog,Jake  is a young eighteen month old that is starting to find and catch pigs, Jack wanted to give him some more work and his youngest dog Rusty is only seven moths old. For our first run we took Jack’s two younger dogs down into the small training block with Mr Pig and black and white but they were a bit reluctant to do much with the boars on their own so I went and got Fog. The dogs first chased the black and white boar around until he managed to get into his A frame shelter. Because the other dogs were not hard I decided to give them a go on Mr Pig. This was a very good run as Jake had to learn to stay on the boar. Young Rusty took a wee bit to get going and I had to use Fog to come back off the boar to me and then encourage Rusty to follow him back in to the bail.

This had a great effect as his confidence started to grow. For our next run we swapped the two younger dogs for Chirp. This was to be the second time that I have had Fog in the block with a bitch and he just does not want to do anything. I find it interesting to see how dogs think and now Fog has got something going on in his head that he does not want to work with certain bitches. Before I got to swap Fog the black and white boar ran out of the training block and pushed his nose under about a six inch gap under the fence leading into the big training block. I did have the electric fence turned off at the time as I always turn it off during training sessions so that a dog does not get a shock at the wrong time. This set Jack and I up with some real interesting viewing as the boars form this block were quick to start a fight with black and white. The first fight started within seconds and I was not quick enough to get the camera out of my pocket.

Both Digger and Boris threw Black and white over three meters into the air and he ended up ten meters down the bank. When he came back up to carry on fighting it was just black and white onto Boris and I just turned my camera on when Chirp went to go between the two Boars as they were fighting which ended with her getting a poke into the stomach for her troubles, luckily it was not to bad. The two boars were really going for it and ended up moving down into the gully out of sight. Later in the evening when it was dark I went down with some food for the pigs and Boris walked up looking all victories with over half a dozen small rips on him for his troubles. At about nine pm I noticed black and white up beside the fence wanting to get back with Mr Pig but not able to. He looked very scared as he disappeared into the trees as soon as I tried to approach him. While down the fence line Mr Pig and Boris were trying to have a fight through the fence and Mr Pig even tried to get a little bit pushy with me. This is where I need to be able to read the pigs body language. People are so focused on using there voice in words to get what they want because we have grown up thinking this way. Animals sense energy so to interact with animals we need to use the right energy. To calm the situation down I first need to be calm with Mr Pig while he was chomping his tusks and approaching me aggressively he was more focused on wanting to attack Boris to stick up for his mate black and white. Not only did I need to have clam positive energy I also needed to stand in the right position and that is just beside the boars front shoulder, when Mr Pig moves I needed to also move so that I was still in the dominant position. If we look at dogs for a second when one dog is being dominant over another dog they will stand facing the same way with the dominant dogs head at the back of the submissive dogs neck if they know their place within the hierarchy they will calm down and walk away if they don’t then a fight can start. So with Mr Pig I was standing behind his neck and using calm assertive energy. While Mr Pig was still worked up because he wanted to fight Boris because he had just beating up his mate he had to know that I was not about to get involved in the fight but he had to calm down around me.
The main reason that pigs fight, dogs fight or even people fight is because of boundaries for these pigs the fence is a physical boundary and in each block the pigs know their hierarchy and live within that system until something changes, this same thing would happen in the wild with one mature boar moving into another mature boars area, all of us pig hunters would have caught a boar at some point in time with rips in them from an encounter with another boar. Boundaries can be an important part of training if you work with them right. For instance’s a dog on a chain in town that sees the neighbours cat can get that worked up that it becomes fixated on attacking cats. With some dogs it is good to hold them back a bit just like people it can make us all that much keener. There is a big turning point in all of our lives and that is through the teenage years when our body’s have grown bigger yet our minds become confident but lack the experience. Three scenarios to explain this, first scenario, one day when I watching my pigs there were six younger boars playing around together just like teenagers and they approached the main boar who was over 180 pounds and tried to fight him. He was quick to try and sort out the first one but by the time he had flicked his head around he had the whole six pigs onto him and he had no option but to turn tail and get out of there. Scenario two I had Leroy out on the hill one day and he was bailing a mob of five pigs when out of the tussock came a sixth pig which grabbed a hold of Leroy by his neck and before he knew it he had six pigs fighting him. He was a tough old character and managed to break himself free and keep bailing them and I took five out of the six. Scenario three I saw on facebook recently of a boxing trainer who looked to be in his later years he had been challenge to a boxing match by a young fit looking twenty year old. This young guy looked real fit and would have been able to do more press ups run further and faster and shag more girls in a night than the old fella but when the young guy came out swinging he threw about three hard inaccurate punches before the old fella plastered him. It took the old fella about ten seconds to give the young fella a lesson that he will not forget for a very long time. Lessons scenario one it does not mater how tough we think we are if we are out muscled we cant win the fight. Scenario two Leroy stepped back from the fight and worked with his brains knowing that I would back him up with great results. Scenario three the knowledge of knowing how to fight is far more important than having the strength and speed.

Back to my training block Boris is the main boar with the pigs yet when the dogs are on him he does not fell confident enough to fight them and instead runs until he is tired then stands. The white boar on the other hand is not the main boar because Boris could beat him up but when it comes to dogs he is so confident that no dog gets to close to him or he will have them. This just goes to show how their minds work.
A bit of back ground on black and white, he was born in the Akatore forest south of Dunedin and I acquired him when he was around one hundred pounds. Whenever a dog would get near him he would just keep running until he was tired before he would bail. About nine months ago he escaped out of the big training block and lived on a ridge opposite my house for a month until one day when I had a mate Malcolm up and we were having a couple of drinks. Without telling Malcolm my intentions I just made out that I was taking Lightning and Breeze for a walk. Lightning did not take long to bail him up and over the next twenty minutes the dogs worked him across and into Mr Pigs area and he has stayed there ever since quite happily. There are only two hot wires around this area so he could easily have got out any time that he wanted but I would like to think that he had no desire to escape as he now sees his job as a dog trainer. Because the two training blocks are right beside each other the boars normally walk up and down the fence line trying to fight each other through the wires and if it was not for the electrics they would wreak the fence. There is no easy way for me to take one pig and put them in another block as I do not have any gates between them yet, which will be another job that I will have to look at but in the mean time it will be interesting to see if Black and white can work out how to get back on his own. If he stays in the big block he will now know his place in the pecking order and will take some time before he can join the rest of the pigs. This is the stuff that I love to learn, how these pigs think.

Horarata competition

Heath Smith's once in a life time boar tusks measured 24 5/8

Heath Smith’s once in a life time boar tusks measured 24 5/8

This was to be the second year that Horarata have run this competition as a fund raiser for their local school. When my son Bryce, Matt Simmons and I arrived to help out there was a good amount of rain falling down. We where quick to set up our Ridgeline gazebo to give us some shelter. By the time 12 noon came around at the start of the weigh in the rain had eased and the animals started rolling in.

A good line up of animals

A good line up of animals

One of the organises Heath Smith had caught a once in a life time boar which was to be the only boar at this comp that we did not cut the throat out of as he was going to get the head mounted. I was looking forward to measuring this jaw but first had to get the rest of the weigh in completed. The winning boar was caught by a young woman Hannah Forbes that weighed 194 pounds. Her father Neil is a regular at a few comps and catches a lot of good pigs, he drove a couple of hours down to the comp when Hannah had told him what she had caught just to be there at prize giving as Hannah was over the moon with her catch.

Heath's boar on the left and Hannah's boar on the right

Heath’s boar on the left and Hannah’s boar on the right

There were nine red deer and one fellow weighed in. One of the reds was shot that morning and they were in such a hurry to get it to the weigh in that it still had heart and lungs in it. We had a small digger at this comp which made lifting the animals such an easy task.

One of the many kids in the carrying comp, this time with a hare

One of the many kids in the carrying comp, this time with a hare

As the kids got bigger the animals got bigger, this time with a pig

As the kids got bigger the animals got bigger, this time with a pig

There was the usual pig carrying competition, for the younger ones they carried a hare around the course. There was also the possum throwing competition and a turkey shot where people got to shot a chosen few with a paint ball gun. All good things to get some audience participation.

The possum throwing comp

The possum throwing comp

At the end of the weigh in the skies opened up as the rain came down. We were lucky enough to have a big shed that everyone could fit into for the prize giving. This comp had so many prizes that there would not have been many people that would have missed out on a prize. One hunter that had a mixed day was Tairi Mullen, he had caught a 155 pound boar that his mate had cut the nuts out of so he knew that it would not be eligible so did not bring it.

another shot of Heath's top boar

another shot of Heath’s top boar

However on the spot prizes he seemed to have his name come out a few times and to top this off one of the main prizes sponsored by gun city was a brand new 270 rifle which Tairi won. I was later told that last year Tairi won a twenty two rifle, he will be going for a hat trick next year.
While the prize giving was going on we could hear the ran pouring down outside and when we walked back out there were puddles every where.

inside the shed at prize giving

inside the shed at prize giving

I have not seen the animals taken away form the racks so quick as you could not help but get drenched through.
Results
Heaviest boar open
1st Hannah Forbes 194 pounds
2nd Jeremy clayton 158 pounds
3rd Heath Smith 158 pounds
4th Jenny McMurdo 154 pounds
5th Ben Fitzgibbon 140 pounds
Heaviest stag open
1st Gavin Affleck 236 pounds
2nd Mckenzie Tapp 193 pounds
3rd Jenny McMurdo 190 pounds
Heaviest boar Junior
1st Kyle Horn 144 pounds
2nd Johny Miller 119 pounds
3rd Jake Cleland 80 pounds
Heaviest stag junior
1st Simon Penny 264 pounds
2nd Harry Smith 200 pounds
3rd Ryan Thomas 167 pounds
Average weight
Brad Watson 132 pounds
one either side
above Ben Miller 138 pounds
below Morgan Hesslewood 128 pounds
Best tusks
Heath Smith 24 5/8
Best antlers
Mckenzie Tapp