Dogs are natural hunters and seekers. Give them a few treasure hunt clues, and they’ll set off on the trail to find their target. But just like humans, they need to hone their skills to become better tracker dogs. It’s important to understand what exercises you should consider, as well as how to organize the whole thing.
How to Train Your Dog to Treasure Hunt
It can be challenging to train dogs to be treasure hunters, but the result is rewarding. The most important thing is to make sure that you have a tight bond with your pet. Your relationship is the key to success.
Developing that bond starts with basic training commands.
Teach the Basics Before a Treasure Hunt
Before you can train your pet to prey treasure hunt, you need to make sure that the dog understands basic commands, including:
It’s also essential for your canine to figure out right and wrong behavior when on a treasure hunt. Reward good one (being calm, following commands, etc.) with treats and praise. Otherwise, correct and work on weak points.
Make sure that your pet masters the basics before you move forward with your training.
Get Your Dog Comfortable in Nature
If your dog is going to play the hunt game, it must be comfortable in nature and be able to navigate outdoor terrain effectively. One of the best ways to do this is to get it used to take long walks on trails and in parks – surrounded by nature.
If you already know where you want to organize your treasure hunt, you can introduce your dog to the surroundings and the lay of the land. Getting your pet comfortable in the wild, allowing to explore and learn the hunting grounds, will prepare it for the treasure hunt. Moreover, it will also get plenty of exercises, which is crucial for all animals.
Introduce Your Dog to Water
Some treasure hunt courses will take your dog through all types of terrain, including water. If your canine friend has never been exposed to water, it may get distracted or even be too afraid to cross through the stream.
It’s crucial for your pet to feel safe in the water, and that will require training. The key to success is to make sure that it associates a river or lake with praise, rewards, and fun. Dogs can quickly develop a fear of water, so it’s important to make this experience as positive as possible. Consider starting this type of training from the early stage, when it’s a puppy.
Once your dog is comfortable walking and wading in the water, you can move on to running. Have it fetch sticks and balls, dashing through the water to reach the prize. Once it is completely and totally comfortable in the water, the pet is ready for your treasure hunt course.
If you plan on hunting in areas with no ponds and rivers, you don’t have to stress as much about this kind of exercise.
Engage in Decoy Training
When treasure hunting with dogs, decoys will almost always be a part of the game. Your pet needs to learn the difference between a decoy and the real thing. That can be tricky. If it can’t do this, your catch may be damaged and chewed up completely instead of fall into your hands.
One simple but effective training exercise involves laying out a row of decoys but only spraying one with scent. This way, your dog understands what you want when you tell him to fetch. Use retrieving gestures as often as possible to make sure that your pup knows what you expect of it.
Teach Your Dog to Relax in Hunting Environments
If you’re taking your pet on the secret treasure hunt, it needs to feel calm and at ease being in the middle of the hunting environment. The dog must lay down, relax, and stay quiet while you’re busy with the process.
The canine should only be on the chase when you give the command.
Exposure is the best way to get your pet accustomed to this type of atmosphere. If at all possible, start introducing the site from an early age. It can be challenging to get an older dog accustomed to new things, especially in loud environments. For a trained puppy, it will feel like second nature.
Consult With a Professional
If you’re having trouble training your pet or you’d rather leave it to the professionals, think about applying for a specialized training program. Believe it or not, there are quite a few facilities that offer gun dog training. Valhalla Kennels is one such example, which is located on 500 acres of upland bird habitat. It is both a boarding and training facility.
The people who run this business are true professionals with lots of experience in training dogs to hunt.
How to Organise a Treasure Hunt for Dogs
There are many ways to organize hunting, and you’ll find plenty of treasure hunt ideas on the web. It really depends on your goal.
A lot of lost treasure hunters choose to do this on public land. It is a great option because they’re expensive, giving you plenty of room for training and carrying out your hunt.
Not all public lands can be used for such a purpose at any time of the year. Some areas are closed for training during the summer months, which is prime time for arranging these undertakings.
If you cannot find public land, you may want to consider private premises. Depending on your location, it’s possible even to travel long distances just to find private land options.
Network With Other Dog Owners
When organizing a treasure hunt, try connecting with other dog owners. Some hunters are lone wolves and prefer to do business on their own with their animals. Others enjoy forming groups and making a day of it.
If you fall into the latter category, you’re sure to find other dog owners who may want to join in. Social media is a great way to connect with local dog owners and get more parties involved.
If you prefer hunting alone, you can still connect with others to find new places. Someone may grant you access to their private land, or you may get tips or pointers on the best places to treasure hunt on state land.
Prepare for the Hunt
Once you have a location, it’s time to start preparing. Along with brushing up on your dog’s training, you should also make sure you have all of your supplies ready to go. Don’t forget to pack plenty of food and water for the day –both for you and your pup.
If you embark on a treasure hunt with a companion, assure that everyone understands the plan. You should be on the same page for the venture to be successful.
Do you have a tracker dog? Let us know your experience in the comments.
Thomas Quarry is a data scientist, successful writer, dog lover, and outdoor enthusiast. He spends free time fishing and hunting, and his dog is always by his side. Thomas enjoys sharing his outdoor experiences in his writing. Occasionally, he writes for travel blogs and outdoor sports publications.