Basenji Tracks Wounded Deer
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  • For those of you who had an interest in how a basenji trails/ tracks wounded game, I was able to get a portion of some recent work on video.

    A friend called me to have Axel try to trail a wounded deer that was shot about 6 hours prior to the request. I put Axel on the place last seen and he picked up the trail and found various spots with blood. He winded the deer at one point and eventually trailed right to where it was bedded down in thick brush. He flushed the deer which eventually outran him. The video is a portion of the trail just prior to the find.

    Jeff

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  • First Basenji's

    Hey Jeff, was this B one of your litters? and if so, I would guess you have bred the 'good' stuff. But on a general question, can you describe how you keep the pup's focus??? I am only vaguely familiar with tracking (all trainers don't know all….) I just love watching your boy work the scent, but have you ever had one on a scent and then found another (rabbit or squirrel pee for example) trail and have him go off the deer scent? Someone called the Basenji a "dim witted dog"....(not going to go there...must not know how to get into a canine's mind) I walk around a 20acre trail daily with known coyote perimeters around us, and my (B) boy and two others do smell markings (I investigate it..some are scat piles and some are fox squirrel trails...). Appreciate any input....thanks!

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  • Clever! What a nice solid dog.
    Question - when you are out in the woods like that, in an area where hunting takes place, should you need to wear an orange vest? Just asking for my own education. Thanks!

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  • @Buddys:

    Hey Jeff, was this B one of your litters? and if so, I would guess you have bred the 'good' stuff. But on a general question, can you describe how you keep the pup's focus??? I am only vaguely familiar with tracking (all trainers don't know all….) I just love watching your boy work the scent, but have you ever had one on a scent and then found another (rabbit or squirrel pee for example) trail and have him go off the deer scent? Someone called the Basenji a "dim witted dog"....(not going to go there...must not know how to get into a canine's mind) I walk around a 20acre trail daily with known coyote perimeters around us, and my (B) boy and two others do smell markings (I investigate it..some are scat piles and some are fox squirrel trails...). Appreciate any input....thanks!

    Axel is from Bushbabies Basenjis in Livermore, CA. Terri was my early B mentor and helped me decide on what kind of B I needed for work. He was the foundation stock for my current generation of working B's. His daughter, Phoenix, was the pick of the litter for working traits and has an amazing nose.

    Generally the reason why a dog will "jump" trail/ track is because the odor they are following petered out and they have lost it for a while and discovered something else. However, a savvy handler should be able to read the body language change to show they jumped. All critter smells seem to produce different body language in a trailing dog. In the video above, notice how slow and careful Axel is. That was because of all the blood drops he found aside from the wounded animal odor. You will also notice that he is wary. He is hunting live wounded game that is large and he knows it. He encounters a wind scent of the bedded down deer at one point in the video and bolts. That was because it was close and he knew it. He goes back to the hunt but much more carefully.

    If that odor were a squirrel, rabbit, or turkey, he would have been faster, and less concerned for his safety. These are some of the body language changes I am referring to.

    The key to scent memory is prey drive. The more the dog is focused on something, the less chance they have of switching odors when the chips are down. These are some of the traits I test for in litters for working dogs. If I have a dog that has great prey drive and focus, he or she may remember one particular odor for days and if they encounter it again, will hunt with abandon.

    The coyotes are competition and threats to the average B and I see that my Basenjis will mark over coyote scat, try to cover it up, or even eat it to get rid of the evidence. They are not hungary or missing something from their diet, the reason they eat scat is to get rid of the competition.

    Basenjis are not dim witted at all and I believe they are probably one of the most intelligent domestic dogs. I think this is due to the fact hat we have had less time to water them down from a domestic standpoint than other breeds.

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  • @Kipawa:

    Clever! What a nice solid dog.
    Question - when you are out in the woods like that, in an area where hunting takes place, should you need to wear an orange vest? Just asking for my own education. Thanks!

    I could have but because I was not hunting with a gun, I was not required to. If I was in a public place I might have thought of it though. This area is pretty private and I was not concerned. I have put orange on axel in the past, though.

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  • P

    An interesting video, thank you for posting it. A point I wondered when watching is whether a Basenji with less than strong 'prey drive' can be trained? In my experience with my own and fostered Basenjis, following blood spoors has been a natural talent and we have followed quite a few injured prey. Now hunting is banned in the UK it's very difficult to control Basenjis as opposed to other breeds I've known.

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  • I think any dog can do it trained or untrained. This work is in their DNA. Where the drive comes in is how long will the dog work the track, through what obstacles, distractions, and other issues that could cause the dog to lose it or quit. What we look for is a dog that has so much hot, off the charts drive for work, that it's scent memory retention is high. We look for dogs that once they engage, they do not quit. This is what separates the professional dogs from the amateurs and one of the main traits we look for for dogs that we provide for police, military, or SAR. The trait is not so much basenji as it is "dog" for us. We provide GSD's, Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, bloodhounds, goldens, and labs for work and this trait is important in each breed. What I have found with the basenji, and what originally drew me into the breed, was the "natural" drive for certain things; OCD in a way but with uncanny intelligence behind the OCD. It was almost preternatural in form and quite useful. It may be what is missing in certain other over bred domestic breeds. The problem is that is not all that common in the basenji either just different.

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