I am somewhat flumoxed by the number of people who think a picture of a bleeding dog is a "red badge of courage"
Hardly! More like the scarlett letter of a novice.
A dog that is constantly knackered is a dog that does not know butt from breath -- or else it is a good indication of a novice digger that does not know how to terminate quarry or get it out of a stop end.
Either way, a muzzle that is covered with blood is a good indication that you own a dog that cannot hunt next weekend, for one reason or another. Is this such a good thing that it is worth photographing and bragging about?
Injuries to both human and dog are part of the sport, to be sure, but they are something we try to avoid -- a regret, not a mark of success. They are some small or large measure of failure, even as they were in the old days before people had huge kennels of rosette-chasing dogs.
Once upon a time people hunted several times a week and worked all season with just two or three or four reliable dogs that knew the busines. The men were experienced and the dogs were too -- instant experts and replaceable dogs had not yet found favor.
It does not take a smart dog or an experienced dog to get ripped up in a hole -- any over-large, thick-headed, over-adrenalized dog can get wrecked. If you have such a dog (and yes, I have owned one!) you learn to temper your own style of work to spare the dog unnecessary abuse.
That means you pull the dog and snare out the animal, you take the trouble to drop another hole and tail the quarry out (what's another three feet?), or you shoot it, bar it, or let it bolt free. Whatever your option (and you have many) you have respect for the dog and guard it against injuring itself.
Above all you do not take pictures of wrecked dogs and post them on the interet! To do so is to shout from the rooftop: "I am greener than alfalfa in April."
The job of terrier work is not to get a dog wrecked, but for the dog and master to locate the quarry, to bottle it, to dig to it, and -- if needed -- to dispatch it.
A successful day in the field is not defined as a day in which a dog is injured, but one in which there are few regrets, no condolences offered, and the dog and master are both tired, happy and healthy.
A friend of mine -- somewhat puzzled that my dogs were so eager to hunt -- recently asked me how I rewarded my dogs after a successful day in the field.
"Simple," I said. "I let them hunt next weekend too."
The reward for success is being able to do it again the next day -- and all of us wanting to.