Friday, July 13, 2007

The Nonsense of Pull Dogs

.

This is a repost from this blog, circa Feb 2005:


In "The Working Jack Russell Terrier," Eddie Chapman writes:

"Something that makes my blood boil is when I hear terrier men talk about dogs they call Caesar dogs. They will show you a Russell type that has been bred too big and say, 'I use him as a Caesar dog'. If I ask what a Caesar dog is, they say it is a dog which will hold the badger, he won't let go,' they say. I have never heard such rubbish in my life. Besides being unnecessary, it is invariably cruel to the dog and more often than not he will be badly bitten for his pains. Besides that, it is unnecessarily cruel to the badger and the sort of behavior that got badger digging banned. I have tried to explain how to remove badgers from a sett without injury to dog or badger. There is nothing clever about getting a hard dog smashed up by a badger. On the contrary, it shows ignorance and a lack of responsibility and feeling. Bravery in a terrier should never be exploited."


I found it quite refreshing to read this passage, as I have often noted that there is is little reason to own a "pull dog" if you actually know how to handle things at the end of a dig. The use of "pull dogs" damages dogs and quarry alike and is wasteful as it often necessitates time out of the field and expensive veterinary work.

In the U.S., the use of pull dogs (what Chapman and some others call "Caesar" dogs) is to due to the prevalence of too many over-large terriers that cannot go to ground in a real earth. To say you have a "good pull dog," is to say you do not have a dog capable of actually going to ground.

If you have followed the Kennel Club dictates, and embraced a 14 inch tall dog with a 17" or 18" chest (or larger!), you are forced to rationalize a job for it. No matter that it is a stupid job forged in pain. Most people would rather see their dog injured than swallow their pride and admit they have drunk the Koolaid offered up by the Kennel Club know-nothings who think a fox den is as big around as a go-to-ground tunnel.

Another factor is that many people simply have no idea of how to handle quarry and so use the dog to to do the job. Having gotten to the end of a dig, they do not know how to get the animal out of the pipe, nor do they know how to dispatch it. In such a situation, the use of a "pull dog" is ignorance in motion.

The simplest way for a novice to handle quarry is with a snare. You can make your own for about $5, or else buy a pig snare from a feedstore. An alternative is a "coon tong" available from Bill Boatman's raccoon hunting supply catalogue.

Groundhogs can also be tailed out alive -- it is not hard if the groundhog's tail is presented, as it so often is. If very much of the pipe is remaining, however, you may find yourself in a tug-of-war with the groundhog who can jamb up inside a pipe so tightly that even a large man can have difficulty pulling one free.

Always use a snare for raccoons -- they can twist all the way around on their short fat bodies. They can grab you with their hands and have crushing bites. Rabies is not uncommon in raccoons, especially on the East Coast.

If you have entangled a fox in a net, be carefully when extricating the fox. The best advice is to pin the animal to the ground under your boot while removing the net. Work the net off the fox in sections, and then release it to hunt another day.

.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eddie has it right! So many dig just once or twice a year and have no idea how to handle things as a consequence. If the dog takes a peppering, that's OK as it will not work again for a year and it at least shows the dog was in the ground once, "One and done and seldom seen again" is the motto of far too many.