Are you thinking about training your dog to hunt antler sheds? Well, this is the best training product for those new to shed hunting. I purchased one of these kits two years ago to teach our older white Labrador to hunt sheds, trying to prove saying the “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” wrong. Being completely new to shed hunting training myself, this all-inclusive kit provided everything that I needed to get started. The kit includes a white rubber antler, antler training scent, and a training guide. I will go into more details on each of these items later in the article. From reading the provided training guide and further research, I found out there are three key phases to shed hunting training. This kit provides everything that you need for the first two phases and can be used in the third phase, although you should be transitioned to real sheds for training by then.
What is included in the Training Kit?
This Shed Hunting Antler Retriever Training Kit comes with three items: a white rubber antler, an antler training scent, and a training guide. My first recommendation is to take out the training manual and reading through it, familiarizing yourself with different training techniques and the goals of each training phase. Like all training, training your dog to hunt sheds will take time and it’s important to work through the training phases to ensure a well-trained dog. The better your training, the more successful your shed hunts will be.
About the Rubber Antler
The white rubber antler is designed for beginner dogs. Why rubber and not real antlers? The reason for the training antler being rubber is for dogs that have never been introduced to an antler before. You don’t want them coming in hard biting a point, or taking a point to the face. This could both injure the dog and offset them from future shed training and shed hunting. The look, size, and weight are roughly that of a real antler, making the rubber shed a great starting point. The antler is made out of a very durable rubber that will stand up to the beating of training and retrieving. Over time, the training shed antler will start to be covered in tooth marks and discolor, but it will serve its purpose.
Training Tip: When not using the training antler, keep it out of the dog’s reach and do not let them chew on it. Though it is made out of a durable rubber, a dog chewing on it will quickly damage the training antler. This will not only ruin training, but the small pieces of rubber can be a choking hazard for your dog.
About the Training Scent
The antler training scent is used to replicate the smell of a shedded antler. When an antler falls off the hunt of the animal, pieces of hair, blood, and flesh usually come with it. This training scent takes all of those same scents and makes them into an easily squirted liquid.
Training Tip: Caution! A little bit of this scent goes a long way and I would also recommend storing it in a Ziploc bag when not in use.
About the Training Guide
Also included in the training kit is Dog Bone's guide to shed hunting training. This guide covers a three step training process using the training supplies included in the kit.
Short retrieves, getting your dog use to seeing and smelling the antler. This is important to teach your dog what to look for in the woods, also how to approach and pick up the antler.
Short and long retrieves into cover. The dog gets to know the general direction of the antler, but by throwing it into cover, the dog now has to search and use their nose to find the antler.
Final step is hidden antlers. Hide one or several antlers in an area without your dog being able to see where they were placed, then take your dog and work them into the area and let them go to work hunting out the antlers.
TrainingTip: Take a small antler with you. If they appear to be getting discouraged, drop an antler from your pocket and have them find that to boost their hunt drive.
Due to international shipping restriction (antler training scent containing animal by-products), we will be unable to ship this product outside of the United States.
Other Recommended Training Items:
Want to step up the difficulty in phase one or phase two of training? Try using the Brown Shed Hunting Training Antler. Its brown color will blend in with surroundings better, making the retrieve more challenging.
For anyone just starting out shed hunting training, this is the go-to kit. After using it for the past few years, I can’t think of a better training tool to start out with. The training antler holds up to numerous training sessions without damage and the training guide is everything you need to know to start your training process.