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Congratulations to Zoe MacBean and her Lacy Taliesin, NLDA Dog of the Year.

“Taliesin (aka Tally) was born on my birthday and has truly been a gift and a blessing. He came into my life at a time when both my marriage and my sweet old stockdog were falling apart.

We live in a small, remote town (accessible only by ferry) on the edge of a vast wilderness. To say we have a healthy bear population is a profound understatement. The little acreage we rent sits on the edge of a salmon creek and is a commuter route for bears, wolves and cougar. Our area also boasts a very large eagle population and huge egg-stealing, chick-gobbling ravens.

I keep a small flock of sheep and a handful of pack goats along with assorted poultry and a small mule. A good dog is essential in these parts. Despite our geographic isolation, we have neighbours on all sides so shooting predators is rarely an option. Besides, we’re a conservation minded lot, bears are quite trainable and orphan cubs are hooligans.

My old girl Rowan was a marvellous bear dog and a fine hand with sheep. She passed along her knowledge of bears to Molly, our foxhound, who in turn showed Tally the ropes. And just before she “went on ahead” she must have whispered her stockdog secrets in Tally’s ear. He was just 7 months when she left us and he was already doing work that would have impressed me in a dog twice his age.

Tally usually starts his day with morning chores. We feed the goats and mule separately from the sheep but in the same paddock. Tally has informed the goats that they are to eat from their own pile at least until the sheep get a chance at theirs. Don’t ask me how he managed this. He just did.
If we’re feeding grain (only about a month out of the year), his job is to collect the feed pans afterwards so I don’t have to go find them in the dark later on.

Our fledgling farm is still largely unfenced and the price of hay here is astronomical ($38/bale for alfalfa) so getting the sheep out to graze is important. I used to have to stand there and watch them lest they wander down the drive to the highway or up the cut into bear territory or over to the neighbour’s hay field. I was impressed a year ago that Tally could help me bring them back. Now I take it for granted that I can get busy with other jobs or even go in the house to bake and Tally will either tell me there’s a problem or just go fetch them back himself. Truly, they rarely try to leave now – they know better than to test him.

He keeps a sharp eye on the skies, too, because eagles will stoop and strike right at our doorstep and the ravens are always hungry. They sure don’t try much when Tal’s on duty. I’ve seen eagles pull a u-turn when they spot him in the yard!
Come time to bring the sheep back in, I just say, “bedtime” or “I need sheep” and he’s off like a rocket. I just stand at the gate and wait most times. He rarely needs help. He’s also learned that sometimes I want just sheep and sometimes I want the goats, too.

If the goats were picketed and I’m leading them back in on halters, I just say “escort only” and he puts just enough pressure on to keep them trotting along nicely.
Out on the trails when we’re packing we say “they’re your brothers here” and he has to leave them in peace to do their work.

We often have to sort sheep for herding lessons or to do foot care and shearing. He’s learning their names and how to help me catch one specifically, then hold it to me while I trim or medicate. Equally important, when I say “let her go”, I can release her and not have him chase. Sometimes I need goats to be moved and he knows he’s allowed to yell at them and back it up with teeth if necessary – goats are not known for their obliging ways. They rarely argue with him these days.

In addition to his farm work, Tally has to help me teach at Dog Club two nights/week. He’s sharp as a tack and keeps me on my toes as we work on agility, rally, perch work and tricks. We’re adding scent work to the class rotation and he loves it. He’ll do pretty much anything I ask him to and do it well but if he thinks I’m doing it wrong or that what I’m asking is stupid, he’ll grumble like a cranky old man the whole time. The class is generally laughing hysterically by the time we’re done. Then the next time we do the same exercise he acts like it’s no big deal because we’ve always done it this way.

When we’re not teaching or farming, we’re hiking or swimming or travelling together. I’ve been training dogs now for about thirty years and he is hands down the smartest and weirdest dog I’ve ever worked with that was still functional.

He is also in no small way the reason I now have two “handsome silver gentlemen” in my life.So, in addition to all his other skills, apparently he can also mend a broken heart.”
– Zoe

Past dog of the year winners:
Wes Mundy’s Brutus 2014
BBK’s Patch 2015
Middleton’s Cazadora Rowdy 2016
Low’s Taliesin 2017

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The NLDA Annual Meeting and Fellowship Dove Hunt was a huge success! We raised over $3,000 for the hurricane relief fund. We would like to thank all of the people who were involved in putting this event together and everyone who came out to show their support. Thanks to Reneau Farm, Lauri Lowry, Shane Lowry, Amber Low Middleton, D.J. Middleton, Rod Buvens and event sponsors Texas Farm Bureau, Randy Bartel Commercial Truck Center and to the numerous donors.

With the proceeds from this fundraiser we have chosen to donate to four organizations that are helping both animals and people affected by Hurricane Harvey. Each of these organizations has received an $800 donation from the NLDA.

Adventure in Youth Missions, Inc. (http://www.aiym.org/)
Restoration Ranch (http://www.restorationranch.org/)
Key to Happiness Rescue
SPCA of Texas (https://www.spca.org/hurricane-harvey)

Additionally, the NLDA and the National Lacy Dog Registry donated $200 to Mrs. Siwek’s class at Lemm Elementary to help with immediate needs right after the hurricane.

 

 

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100% of net proceeds will directly benefit Harvey victims, primarily animal rescue.This is a pre-sale item. You will be notified of ship date.

Available in the NLDA Store!

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Tracking and treeing events.

There is a parking area (no hookups) for RVs.

Concessions available during the bay and a special Thank You dinner Saturday night.

We will be having a raffle fund raiser and auction to benefit NLDA member Rachael Connally to assist with medical expenses.

Let us know if you have an item to donate to the fund raiser. No donation is too small!

Members Meeting
There will be an NLDA meeting Saturday night.

I get a lot of questions about training a dog to hunt for shed antlers. Because I get so many questions about it and it is relatively easy to teach, I am going to start a blog on training a shed antler dog.

You don’t need a retriever to hunt for sheds. Any dog with good food or toy drive can be trained for antler hunting. Retrievers already have strong retrieving instincts and the physical strength to carry a good sized antler but even a small dog can be taught to locate them.

The focus of this blog will be on teaching a dog to work for a reward. Before we begin, let me say that in dog training, there are often many different methods to achieve the same goal and this is certainly not the only way.

Reward-based training is a little bit different from blood trailing and other prey-based hunting activities which are self reinforcing  (the hunt or chase itself is rewarding to the dog.) We have to give the antler appeal, give the dog a reason to hunt for antlers, and make antler hunting a fun game that the dog is willing to perform in order to win a reward.

In case you are wondering, antler hunting will not interfere with your dog’s other jobs if you do your training correctly. If you have a blood tracking dog, cross training him to hunt sheds during the Spring and Summer will not interfere with his other jobs.

So first things first…

Let’s talk about antlers, because not just any old antler will do.

The type of antlers that work best for this kind of thing are very fresh antlers with pedicle attached. Most of the odor originates from the pedical. If you look closely at the image below, you can see these pedicals have hair and skin tissue still attached to them. If you could smell them, you would detect a distinct animal odor very much like the forehead of a buck in rut. If a person can smell this a few inches away, the dog certainly can smell it from several feet or even yards downwind.
These antlers are very white in color because they came from pen-raised deer but normally antlers that are very dry and sun-bleached are not good to use. These are “fresh picked” from a deer pen, even though they are white.

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If your dog already enjoys playing with or chewing on antlers, you may be able to skip this step, but it’s a good way to teach a dog the foundations of scenting and searching behavior.
Before we introduce the target odor (antler odor) we are going to show the dog how to use its nose to search for a reward (in the form of food or a toy.) In the beginning, we are going to have the dog self-reward by finding the source and eating it or playing with it. The key here is that the search and find behavior is perfectly reinforced through the dog’s ability to self-reward at source.

I have had the pleasure of working with some very food-driven dogs so, for the purposes of this blog, I’ll be focusing on food rewards but if your dog is more motivated by a certain toy or ball (or an antler!) by all means, substitute that item for the food.

I start with a very high value treat. Soft, moist foods are easy to break up and have the most appeal. If your dog doesn’t go crazy for soft pressed dog treats, pieces of hot dog work wonders.

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I crate the dog or put him in a place where he can’t see what is going on and hide a piece of food under a bucket or a rock. Then I take the dog out and allow him to search for the food. If your dog has a good handle and is good at following your hand signals and directions, you don’t need to leash him but a leash will help you control the search area and help the dog find the treats faster. Walk him by the hides and give him time to search and pin point the odor. Once he finds the treat, quickly reward him by offering another treat. It’s important to carry a few treats in a pouch or baggy in your pocket so that you can quickly reward a successful find. This will help once it’s time to pair the food odor with the target odor (in our case, antlers.) You want to reward the find as quickly as possible. (If using a favorite toy instead of using food for this step, this would be a good time to bounce or throw the toy.)

Once your dog is consistently locating pieces of food, we can either pair that odor with an antler by hiding food and antlers together or teach the dog to target the antler without pairing.

If you are going to pair, just hide the antler and piece of food together. Continue rewarding for a successful search & find and eventually remove the piece of food from the hide area. The dog should begin to target the antler in anticipation of a receiving a reward from you. This is why it’s important to continue rewarding a successful search with food out of your pocket. The dog knows every time he found that odor in the past, it has earned him a reward so he will continue to search for it in anticipation of winning another reward.

I’ve trained a dog with pairing and I’ve trained a dog without pairing. Most dogs do better with either one or the other. If you’re not going to pair odors, you’ll have to teach the dog to target antlers with a technique dog trainers refer to as “shaping.” When shaping behaviors, all we are doing is fine-tuning a behavior that your dog already knows.

In a nutshell, we make the antler appealing and give the dog a reason to pick up. I might start off teasing the dog with an antler and rewarding him for chasing, pouncing on, or picking it up.

At first, you might just be rewarding the act of sniffing the antler.  If the dog occasionally picks it up, start administering rewards for that behavior only. If the dog picks it up and brings it to you, only reward that and not just picking the antler up and dropping it.

Dogs do what works. And any behavior that results in reward is more likely to be repeated.

The reward may come in the form of a piece of food or having the antler tossed for him. It really depends on what motivates the dog. Some are so motivated by play that the antler itself becomes a toy. Others are more motivated by the food they earn for picking the antler up and bringing it to your hand. Whatever the case may be, the reward adds value to the antlers and a highly motivated dog will not be able to resist picking them up to earn that reward.

If the dog loves to tug, tie the antler to a rope and drag or swing it around. Whatever it takes to get the dog engaged and then pay, pay, pay! by rewarding the dog with more play time or food. Every time he grabs the antler, chases it, or paws at it, praise and reward.

I am currently training a young dog that loves to find the antlers and play with them but he has a bad habit of taking them off then prancing around for a few seconds before laying down to chew on them or dropping them in favor of something else.

If your dog is doing this, put him on a long leash. Stand on the leash but make sure he has plenty of slack to run around. Now hand him the antler. Once he’s got it in his mouth, cup your hand under it. Don’t ask him to do anything and don’t try to take it away from him. Just wait it out. The instant he drops the antler, even if he doesn’t drop it in your hand, pick it up and hand it back to him. Better yet, toss it to him if he enjoys picking it up. Remember, antlers are hard and pointy and most dogs don’t enjoy playing “catch” with them. They’ll duck or dodge if an antler is thrown at their head. So be careful not to clock the dog while playing antler games.

 

In the next part of this blog, we will hide some antlers and begin showing the dog how to search for them. If you have any questions about any of the techniques up until now, please post them as I would love to answer them!

The NLDA will be hosting a tracking dog clinic during the Lone Star Bowhunters Banquet on June 11th, 2016 at Reunion Ranch in Georgetown, Texas.
http://reunionranch1.com/

Our workshops are appropriate for beginner and novice dogs and their handlers as well as anyone else just interested in learning more about tracking dogs. During a typical workshop, everyone has a chance to work their dog on a blood trail. We will have about 40 acres of diverse terrain to work on.

Seminar topics covered generally include:

» Starting a dog and Building drive
» Training techniques
» GPS and E-collar use

A tracking lead will be provided if you do not have one. If you plan to stay at the banquet all day, bring a crate and water dish. Reunion Ranch has a nice covered porch so your dog can be crated in the shade while you play.

The entry fee is $40. Half will be donated back to the LSBA. We will provide donuts and beverages.

It will be at Reunion Ranch in Georgetown.
The start time is 9 am.

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Winners of the Feb 2016 NLDA Hog Dog Trials
Puppy Bay
1st – Shep’s Lone Star Lacys “Ole Shep”
2nd – Sandy Mira “Ram”
3rd David Denman “Trixie”

Young & Old
1st – Chris Merworth and David Shepherd “Pete and Ole Shep”
2nd – John Wyble and David Shepherd “Bull and Ole Shep”
3rd – Rick Carter and David Denman “Ariel and Buck”

Two Dog Am
1st – The Leeks “Ben and Colt”
2nd – Jay Davis and David Denman “Ranger and Buck”
3rd – Chris Merworth and Jay Davis “Pete and Ranger”

Single Dog Am
1st – Chris Merworth ” Pete”
2nd – Shane Lowry “Belle”
3rd – John Wyble “BBK’s Sammy”

Youth Bay
1st – Josie Davis “Pete”
2nd – Autumn Merworth “Daisy”
3rd – Jaylee Davis “Ranger”

2 Dog Open
1st – Chris Merworth “Pete and Daisy”
2nd – Jay Davis and Chris Merworth “Ranger and Pete”
3rd – John Wyble and David Denman “Bull and Buck”

Single Dog Open
Chris Merworth “Daisy”
David Denman “Buck”
Shep’s Lonestar Lacys “Ole Shep”

The 2016 calendar now available for purchase!
12 Month Wall Calendar
Images were submitted by our members and fans. Get your copy today! Makes a great gift for the holidays!

Contributing photographers:
Courtney Farris
Andrew Virdell
Elaine Jones
Wes Mundy
Chris Day

$17.50 + shipping

We are taking pre-orders now. These will ship the week of December 10th…just in time for Christmas!

Order online!

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Save the date! The Annual WDFD is only a month away!

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This year, we are exited to introduce Barn Hunt! Come participate in a seminar sponsored by Countryside Barn Hunt club in Georgetown, TX. In Barn Hunt, dogs locate rats hidden in a hay bale maze.

In the Blood Trail Workshop, topics include: Selecting and Starting a Tracking Prospect, Building Drive, and Unleash your dog’s potential! (Collar Clinic) Puppy trails and Advanced trails available.
We find people tend to get a lot out of this seminar aside from just tracking.
My goal is for everyone to leave with a better understanding of how their dog’s brain works and ways to build a better relationship with their dog.
Every dog / handler team will get a chance to work a blood trail.
We are really excited that Texas Blood Trackers will be returning to offer tracking testing (TBT-1, TBT-2, and TBT-3)

Please email paul@texasbloodtrackers.com to register for a tracking test.

The workshop must also be pre-registered so we can prepare enough materials for everyone.
David Jones will also be returning with his phenomenal bird dogs. This is a must see! His dog work is amazing!

And, as usual, there will be a rattlesnake avoidance clinic.
A more detailed schedule will be posted later. Events will begin at 9:30 on Saturday and end around 4. Saturday night Meet & Greet and Cook – out begins around 5pm. BYOB.
If you want to be a vendor, sponsor, or volunteer, contact me, Amber Low Middleton, Karen Appe Lewis, or Lauri Lowry asap. (Volunteers get in for free!)

Accommodations:
Many of us camp at Reveille Peak Friday and Sunday and just make a weekend out of it.

Thunderbird Resort – pet friendly cabins on the lake
512-756-4878

Best Western Post Oak Inn in Burnet
512-756-4747

Reveille Peak Ranch
http://www.rprtexas.com
All other questions, contact Courtney at 830-220-4747 or nationallacydog@gmail.com

 

 

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Hey Texas bowhunters, the LSBA Annual Awards Banquet, Expo & Pop-up 3-D Shoot is just a little over a month away June 14, 2014, at Reunion Ranch in Georgetown, Texas.

Guest Speakers will be Mike and Bonnie McFerrin from the Outdoor Channel’s The Legends of the Fall. They will be there throughout the day to sign autographs and will do a question and answer session during the Banquet, so get your questions ready.

The NLDA will be there with a tracking dog seminar & shed antler dog demo. We are also raffling off a Yeti Roadie.

Pop-up 3-D Tournament with Jerry Boyles and Team Bowmasters of Arkansas begins 10:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m. Blood Trailing Seminar by Courtney Farris, National Lacy Dog Association

12:00 p.m. Expo and Vendors Open; MDH Outdoors will have their Techno Hunt trailer set up

2:00 p.m. Shed Hunting Seminar by Courtney Farris, National Lacy Dog Association

6:00 p.m. 40th Anniversary Annual Awards Banquet begins

Hope to see you there!!! This event is open to the general public. You do not have to be a member to attend!

http://lonestarbowhunter.com/

Hotel information for the Banquet:

Best Western Plus Georgetown Inn & Suites
600 San Gabriel Village Boulevard
Georgetown, Texas 78626
512 868-8555

There are both king and two queen rooms available for both Friday and Saturday nights. Best Western is a pet friendly hotel.

Rate is $92.00 per night.

 

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