If you're serious about digging on the dogs, you need a few basics:
- A dog that will fit in the hole.
Smaller is generally better, and chest size is everything. Anyone who tells you a larger dog can "eventually get there if it has the desire," is a dog dealer or an armchair theorist. A dog cannot dig through rock or a root, nor can it excavate the length of a pipe. You cannot pound a gallon of sand into a pint bottle. With teriers, chest size matters. A lot. >> To read more
- A locator collar.
I prefer Deben locator collars. Other parts of the world may be able to get by with larger avalanche locators, but I have tried them and I do not recommend them as I have found them to be too larger for our needs. I still use the old Deben Mark I kit, but the new Deben LRT collars are better tech in that they are waterproof and do not need to be taped up before and outing. >> To read more
- A good shovel.
There is no better shovel than an Ames "Pony" sold by A.M. Leonard and other industrial tool companies. This shovel is heavy, has a good dish, and holds an edge when sharpened. Ames has been making tools in this country longer than we have been a nation. >> To read more
- A heavy-duty posthole digger.
If you dig in hedgerows and rocky areas with heavy soil, you cannot do without this tool. >> To read more
- A digging bar.
I do not like T-bars -- they are too hard on the hands. My bar is 3/4" hex stock, 6 feet long and straight, with a rounded point on one end, and sharp chisel point in the other. Perfect.
- A decent pack to carry it all.
And by "all," I mean a snare, a long-handled trowel, a root saw, a machete, a scraper, water for you and the dogs, a small veterinary kit, extra batteries, tape, leashes, collars and tieouts. And by "decent" I mean one made of canvas and not light-weight "ripstop" nylon which cannot take the longterm abuse of tools and dirt. The pack I recommend is the Brockwood Bow/Rifle pack which fits a shovel head like it was designed for it. This pack will hold everything (and then some), wears like iron, and has good shoulder and waist straps. "Made in U.S.A. with Manufacturer Lifetime Guarantee."
If you are new to terrier work (or simply want to save money in the future), I also recommend one other investment. This little item. As Greg D. once said, "If you are serious about terrier work, nothing else will save you more time, grief and money." The JRTCA, the largest Jack Russell terrier club in the world, recommends it as "great reading for all terriermen and women." I only promise one thing: It will save you money ... and maybe your dog's life.