Let’s just cut to the chase. Do you want to catch more stuff with your hounds? Do you want increased success rates? We cannot achieve that if we do not understand what is causing barriers to that success. The old man down the road that has been hunting for fifty years may be a able to help, providing he hasn’t been doing it wrong for fifty years. It’s no slight to him if he didn’t understand what the real problem was.
After their last conversation, Heath follows up with Clinton Cillers from South Africa. They had barely scratched the surface on dog behavior and training a trailing dog. After the dry season a rain shower makes trailing seem easy. Heath and Clinton talk about how the different weather elements and the climate changes everything from the style and speed at which the dogs move to how they react when they make lose. The discussion gets very technical on behavior during a proximity alert and how air blown scent is stronger than ground scent. They give examples of what this means to all types of training. Clinton and Heath believe that self discovery is the ultimate teacher of any training. The two finish up the hour with scent pools and what it means, how the dogs struggle to work through them and what you may be witnessing without knowing what is actually taking place. This episode is packed full of knowledge and valuable information if you want to train better dogs and enjoy more success. Glad to have you along on the Journey.
[00:00:00] The Houseman XP podcast Network is taking you on the journey. Your host, master trainer, Heath Hyatt, will combine his decades of experience as a homan and as a professional trainer that will light the path forward and make our PACS lighter on this lifelong journey to become better hunters and hounds men.
There are no shortcuts, so lace up those boots and grab a dog leash. The journey begins now.
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On today's episode, I'm gonna follow back up with Clinton Sellers from South Africa. Clinton has a vast knowledge of training dogs and hounds in extreme environments, to say the least. He has an insight on climates most of us are not used to, but it's relevant to the guys out west who dry ground hunt. We talk about training dogs, elements of weather, humidity, and we go over one of the most [00:03:00] confusing things on both law enforcement and hound training the Scent Pool.
Guys, this episode is jam packed full of valuable information. I'm Heath Hyatt, your host, and this is The Journey.
Clinton, how is everything down in South Africa today? Hi, Heath. We are doing well. Thank you. Nice. Thank you for inviting me back. We've had a really bad electrical storm last night. We it was very static and we have we known for our, it's basically called high felt thunderstorms, so it's extremely static and it's like a lot of lighting and rumbling and everything else.
That was, it was quite hectic, but fortunately it was followed up with, quite decent rains without any wind. So we didn't have any damage. We had about an inch and a half of rain, which was absolutely fantastic because it's at the end of our [00:04:00] raining season and our rain season started well, and then it became very dry in the middle of the season.
And so we need to, to get a bit of. Play a bit of ketchup just to get water back into the earth ends and stuff. And, just to extend our grazing and stuff for the commercial farmers in the area where I'm based, it is, it's a dry area. Traditionally we are almost classified as semi desert, so we have very hot days.
The nights can get extremely cold and, we do have, dry spells that could run upwards of five, six years where it's ridiculously hot and dry. And then, we have good years, like this is another second, third year that, the rains have been forthcoming and, things are looking a bit better.
So when you say a couple years without is that without no rain or just like a shower and it's done, it's not putting water back into the earth.
No, it's just we have way below average. We might end up having 35% of [00:05:00] our average rainfall for over a three, four year period. Which then leads to, some of your trees start dying of you start overgrazing your vegetation because your grasses tend to disappear, your ground tables starts to go down.
So a lot of people are putting down, new wells and that kind of, that kind thing. It's a cyclical thing. It's been going on for decades and centuries probably. But yeah we can have some really bad drought and what I've found is the dryer, it gets just the hotter it gets.
It's as if the earth just doesn't cool down. And we. I'm not in the, not in the hottest of places, but we comfortably run over, over 40, 42, 44 degrees Celsius, which is probably about in the vicinity of about 105 Fahrenheit your site. So it, it can get properly hot out. Oh, wow.
And h how does, like, how does that affect the livestock and the farming? To me it seems almost [00:06:00] if you don't have water, things don't grow. They don't and, it creates a serious problem because what people do is they, we've had a large part of the country is, has been in a serious drought and we've got an area it's actually called Bushman, which directly translated translates to Bushman where they haven't had any rain in.
And it's just everything is just turned to dust and, so what happens is everyone starts selling and then the market gets flooded, and then the prices drop. And then in the shops they push the prices up and because there's a drought, they say meets expensive because there's a drought, it meanwhile, the whole market is flooded.
And then, the people try and level off that money and try and sustain themselves until the rain comes. And then when the rain comes you can't sell produce because you have to build up your stock and your flock numbers again. And that is when you do have a shortage and that is when you know the prices are then [00:07:00] obviously going up because for the, for real reasons.
But it's cyclical. And fortunately, in, in South Africa it's not, just as one part of the country might be going into a drought, other parts of country might be experiencing floods, so it's actually a very weird dynamic. And you'll find that, over the long run things balance themselves out quite nicely because we're, the one guys are having a really good season.
On the other side, it might be, by us it's more the southern and the western parts of the country is generally traditionally very dry. But the northern where I am can either have really good rains or we can have no rains by us. It's very much Jekyll and Hyde kind of thing. When it can rain really well.
And like I said, we can we can go three, four years with very little rain as well. And that is it does a lot of damage. It doesn't need damage to the area if you can keep the livestock off, but you can't sell all your livestock, you without getting soil ion erosion and, all of these type of [00:08:00] things.
And where I live, it's extremely mountainous. And when you start stripping off your vegetation, And when the big rains do come, you've got no retention of that water. That water runs away and it takes your top swell with you. So our biggest challenge is actually managing just managing our swell and our vegetation.
And the only way we can do that is, is, cutting the livestock numbers down, drastically. And that's all you can really do. And then sometimes you think just hold on. Next year's around the corner, the raining rain season is almost here and the rain season comes and you get a few early showers and it looks promising, and then the rain stays away again.
So it is forming as feast or famine. It's either, it's the same as the one area we had that's just come outta a serious drought. They've just had flash floods and that, that is just as devastating. It's, it helps for the rivers and for the water table and stuff, but for the agricultural sector and the guys have just [00:09:00] planted and half of their crops and stuff is literally washed away and, all their top soil and everything gets lost.
So it's difficult. I suppose it's the same everywhere in the world. We just, we more prone to drought than most pensions. So with that said, how does that affect your training, your trailing and your success with those dogs? I know we had talked a little bit before we started recording and you said the rain.
Had dropped the temperature, the humidity was up and you said your male dog was on fire. Tell me and us about that.
Actually, give you an example. I've got one of these youngsters that I got from Tsen Carrico, and he's nine months old. He is naturally a slow dog. He's got a really deep nose very methodical. And he is he's not a [00:10:00] racer. And we've now gone through two months of relatively dry and hot and the humidity is low.
We were running 18% humidity wise. And then we had a small little shower and I took him out the next morning and, he was really on fire. And then I took him out yesterday and it had cooled down. And the humidity was up to about 60 odd and you, he was just, plowing through everything.
I could hardly hold onto him. He was on a track that was an hour old, but he wasn't even putting his head down. He was literally, his head was up and he was just in full odor. And this is the dog that normally very methodically, you can actually hear him saying thing, as he works along.
It was as if that trail was five minutes old. So it's very interesting, to see what huge depicted temperature. And obviously humidity has for us, normally I only see the effect on vegetation. When you go from very little [00:11:00] vegetation to better vegetation, the dog starts beating up a bit and, you can see it becomes easier for them.
But with the almost, when you say the humidity seems to, the moment we go below 30%, it's as if the dog's really battle. And I say battle really slowed down in any days. And now you're saying, let me make sure I understand. So you're saying when the humidity is below 30, you're saying the dogs struggle?
They definitely slowed down. Okay. And they have to work the trail. You can clearly see the dogs are working the trail. It's not just. It's not easy for them. And we regularly, in winter, we go down to 12, 15% humidity and the dogs manage. But I think what makes it more difficult by us in winter is we often lose all of our ground color.
In other words, it would just be baked earth. We live in the area that I'm in is, it's called the bush felt complex. So it's actually, it's almost shrub. Shrub and trees.[00:12:00] And it has in intermittent grasses, but these grasses, they go into seed and they disappear. Not every winter, if you've had a very good summer with late summer rains, some of the grasses remain.
But if it's been fairly dry here, the grasses are all but nonexistent. And then you have this hard, you, I either have sand or depending which side you go, you either have sand. Oh, you have really hard baked earth. The shrubs in that definitely do hold thin and there's a shade under there and you'll find that dogs are actually hunting the shade spots and looking for the shrubs.
It's not A to B truck. The dogs are starting to, it's almost like eating the dots. Yes. Where you can see the dog is veered off a bit. He's coming to send, he's worked it, he's gone into the, let's call it the open area and he starts working it. He's not comfortable. He goes to the other side where there's more shade.
And I find the dog start to [00:13:00] learn this very quickly. I think it's almost like you will do with your heart surface work. I think it becomes a little bit more similar to that type of stuff where you have earlier that's just no longer existent and you're looking for any bit of moisture, any bit of shade something that'll haul better.
And that's where the dogs then gravitate to and they start working it out that way. Yeah. So I wanna paint a picture for, the guys that are hunting. And, we're still talking about trailing the same purpose, same mission, when you're hunting and you're running an old track.
And I've got a follow up question for that too, Clint. So when you're hunting and you're running an old track, and those do, if you've got a good open mouth dog and that dog's given good mouth and then he shuts up and, you may have 30 seconds, a minute, two minutes that go by and then you know, that dog opens again and letting you know that he's acquired the track again.
That is the connecting the dots. That dog is working stumps and logs and bushes. And I put this phrase out there [00:14:00] when Jeff and I had Jeff on we call it twigging. When my dog's up on the laurels and the rotor dru, and they're smelling up on the bushes. I know that bears went through there and they're picking up that, that odor off his body like that, that bear has brushed up against that, that shrubbery, whatever it may be.
And, it's not always, I think sometimes in our minds that we think that it's just a drag, you drag a piece of hide through your yard and that's what the dog's smelling. And that's so far from actually what's happening with the dog and the way they're working and the connect the dots is a great analogy.
And we teach it, I teach it in my tracking school when I'm teaching a dog. We, I try to have them visualize, this dog's connecting the dots, like he's putting the pieces of the puzzle together for you. So yes I'm glad that you're using the same, terminology that we use with that.
And I want to go back to that follow up [00:15:00] question on the humidity. So below 30% humidity the dogs struggle. I think I'm with you. I like that, that 60 and 70% humidity, but we have to pair, we have to pair the other elements with that. It's not just the humidity alone. Like what is your temperature outside, what time of day is this, is it summer or winter?
Like when you're in that 60%, like you said that, your dog was, just running basically with his head up. What was the other elements that linked that, that, that made, that sent picture that low?
Yeah. When I look normally, when we have that type of humidity, it's normally not too early, even early mornings. When it's rain, the humidity might be 40, 50. But what I find is in the moment the sun starts, getting out behind the clouds, let's say nine o'clock, 10 o'clock in the [00:16:00] morning, and you start getting a bit of proper radiation then the humidity spikes very quickly.
And the odor is very strong, but the scent does weird things. I think you start getting, I almost wanna use the words, probably not the correct term. You start getting a bit of a thermal effect where you'll have scent actually rising and getting deposited. So even though the dog is.
Very strong and odor, you'll find that he tends to deviate to the side of it and he investigates and he comes back. It's as if you have these pockets of scent that are, literally flowing and they get picked up and they get deposited again. When it cools, the moment it starts cooling down, then that seems to be a lot easier.
The dogs just run A to B, it's a pretty straight line and they're very, dedicated to the actual, track itself. But I've found when it starts getting, when it starts getting hot like that, I always look up, we have a lot of birds of prey and when there's, when the birds of prey are thermally those are [00:17:00] normally not ideal conditions to, to be running a dog.
Cause you. A lot of, a lot of these small mini thermals coming through and, picking air up and depositing it, just literally a hundred meters further. But the dogs learn to work. Those quant conditions are just the, what I find is the handlers don't trust their dogs when they start doing that.
They can see the dog's going in a direction, the dog is an odor. And then the dog veers off in investigates and, they think the dog is trashing and they start correcting the dog and telling the dog, to get back at work. But the dog is still in the same odor. It's just, there's a pocket there.
And he just wants to satisfy himself. And this is the problem, with these it's very similar. It's basically aerial scent, so you get the very much the same type of scenario than you would with a scene pool. And with some dogs, they really battle the scene pools unless you've given them enough exposure on it.
And I had a young dog yesterday [00:18:00] where with this high humidity and this thermally uran, he really ran the track well. And then when he hit the cone, he was a bit confused, he didn't quite know, he was working around it and you could see he was getting a bit stuck.
There was just so much odor and I, the person had been sitting for quite some time. And with the type of trailing I do my dogs often trail without someone at the end. And so every time I have people, I make use of the opportunity to put them at the end to expose my dogs to the sand cones and, all of that at the end.
So he hasn't heard a lot of that, and I could see it. Because, he had to really figure it out and he would get a bit stuck and then he'd work around the edges and then he'd come back in and he figured it out well enough. What I normally do, when that starts happening, I just drop the trailing line because, I don't want the dog still getting himself wound up around shrub while he is trying to work something and so I normally just drop the trailing line and [00:19:00] allow the dogs to autonomously figure out the problem by themselves.
I find as people we tend to want to guide the dogs because we know where the hi where the runner is. But we have no idea what the is doing. Yeah. I want to talk, I wanna go back and talk about scent pools cause that dives into a whole different topic, but I want your take on it.
But what, so I was running a tracking class LA last week? Week, yeah, last week. Week four last. And what your tail, what you're saying there with the dropping the lead. So I've got I've got a really good handler that's got a young German short hair pointer. The dog's got loads of potential and, pointers are tip, a lot of pointers like to have that head up, that's their natural.
Yep. That's genetic programmed. So we got into this open field. It was a cut corn field, so it had been cut, the wind was [00:20:00] blowing from. From the west to the east. It was blowing across the field from our right to our left. And he, the dog got in there and the dog just started working and working and working.
And like I was watching the handler and I knew the handler was doing exactly what you just said. The handler was trying to direct the dog without understanding the complete process. And I told him, I said, just drop the lead. Yeah. He said, what? I said, just drop the lead. And we were a good 200 yards from the sus the person hiding.
I knew where the person was. He didn't, yeah. And he dropped the lead on this dog. Same thing. Scent cone. One side, left side, right side. And it got smaller and smaller. And he got up. Now here's another thing. So a tractor trailer is coming out of this area, so it's not run, it's not running wide open.
The tractor trailer's running, 15 mile an hour. The dog's headed right to the tractor trailer. [00:21:00] And I'm like, Lord, have mercy. Do not chase that truck outta here. And the dog had veered left, the truck was going right. Then the dog makes a hard turn right and is going right to the tractor trailer and that dog spins on a dime and bam, right in the suspect.
And, standing back and I'm like, okay, do you see how hard it was for that dog to work that out with that wind blowing and how hard you were holding him back from doing that exact thing that you want him to do? And it, it was one of those aha moments. Yeah, I get it. And I said, when it gets hard and it gets tough, and you have the ability to turn your dog loose, let himself discover.
And I know that, we can't use that word enough. It's just let the dogs do their thing. And best advice ever. Yeah. Yes. And even in the the hound world, let's go back to the hunting [00:22:00] world. And this is one of the things that I see amongst my group that I hunt with and I see it everywhere I go and hunt is everybody wants to help the dog.
Just let the dog do his thing. If he don't find it or he doesn't succeed, that is a learning lesson for him. He will learn from that and do better next time. And it's a process. You and I had just had this conversation. Jeff had posted a video of a dog a hound getting into a proximity.
So I'll explain that real quick to the listeners. Our proximity alert is the dog picks up the airborne scent of the individual that he's tracking. So nose comes from ground. To air boom. Ground air. Ground air. He's picking his head up. He's popping. All right. And what people don't understand is that airborne odor is stronger than the ground odor, [00:23:00] and the dogs naturally pick it up.
Agree. It always trumps the trailing odor. Correct. Airborne odor always gets throat. Okay. So he post this video and he says, dog got in proximity, which means he sm smelled the airborne odor and then wind came through and the dog starts chasing odor, which means he was going to the edge of the sinkin coons, which that cone could be 50 foot or 500 foot, depending on how hard the wind's blowing.
The same dog that I just told you about, the German, the young German shorthair. Had the exact same thing happen on the exact day that Jeff posted that video. And then Clinton, he starts laughing because he's I had the same thing happen. Like same thing. So you and I, or continents away from each other dealing with the same issues, which makes it universal for dog [00:24:00] handlers and hounds.
And, watching that video and the, Jeff says it, we just talked about it. The dog has to self, the dog has to figure it out. We can't smell and we can't do some of those things for that dog. And failure is a part of success. You gotta have, you gotta have failure and learning lessons to be more successful.
And that's how your older dogs, guys that are your phenomenal big game hounds, or your coonhounds or your sight hound Seth, they've made mistakes and they've learned from 'em, and then they learn how to navigate through that process, and that allows them to be able to catch the game that you're asking them to catch.
Yeah I had him drop the lead, watched the dog. We sat back and watched the dog from 200 yards away and it was just, I love that's one of the things about training that I love is watching those dogs work and figure things out. And when that light bulb goes off in her, that's a rewarding thing for [00:25:00] me.
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I am 100% with you on that. When I see young handlers and they're trailing the [00:26:00] dogs, and when the dog runs into a bit of a scenario where he is battling you actually see the handlers become defeated. And because the dog is, there's a bit of conflict there that the dog needs to resolve.
And, I say to them this is the beautiful pot. This is the, this is what it's about. Because this is where the wheels are turning and this is where the learning is taking place. And this is where the dog is actually stretching his legs and he's taking what he knows and he's balding on.
And he's, basically increasing his repertoire in terms of understanding how odor and stuff works. So I'm in full agreement, when a dog goes off the trail, that's never a problem to me. I wanna see what he does to get back on trail. Because that's where the things start happening.
It's even when we imprint dogs on trace, for instance, when, whenever the dog goes off, people think, oh damn, dog was doing so well. The dog needs to go off and not get paid, and it needs to come back. So it gets paid and it needs to make these [00:27:00] decisions completely by itself.
And I think the biggest issue we have as handlers is we are not seeing what the dog is seeing. We have a mental picture of where the trail is and we are not seeing that trail in terms of odor and what the odor does and the effect of the wind and the effect of hills and gullies and that kind of stuff.
And the very first thing, I, the only thing I disagreed with Jeff initially was the fact that he started his dogs blind right from the start. I thought to myself, you need to first get a foundation, make sure the dog is fairly solid, and then I, blind is important. Now I have to eat humble pie.
And I have to say to him blind, right from the start, because while you are teaching that dog, you are actually influencing him and you are Yes. Pulling him off orders that he should be on, and you're creating all sorts of conflict. And what I have found with students is, and handlers, if you start him on unknown traps, [00:28:00] it's an incredibly stressful thing for them to go off and start doing.
And because they know the trail, they're not reading the dog. As long as the dog is on they find, and if the dog is off, they know the dog is off, or they think the dog is off. Whereas if you go blind right from the start, that handler needs to start learning his dog's behavior and his dog's cues. And you, there's never an influence.
So that is honestly the only thing that I thought I didn't agree with Jeff's work initially. And then as I, got into trailing more and I started going blind earlier and earlier, I realized that the only truth is a blind trail. And for that reason, even if I've laid a trail or, I know where the trail is.
Right from the start, I dropped the leash because then it's still blind for the dog at least. And I have no influence on the dog. Yeah. I had So [00:29:00] as that class went on, I had a couple of my newer handlers, newer very very new in the canine handling. And as I run tracks with them, I realized that they really didn't know how to read their dogs.
And I had a couple of guys that were not in my group that had come from outside our group, throughout the state. And same problem. Like you guys, you aren't recognizing when your dog is out of odor. And here's the thing that really and when we have training next Monday, we're gonna sit down and discuss this is the amount of help they try to give the dogs.
Clicking, hollering. Yeah. Pointing guys and ham. Guys. This, this is for you too. Dogs are 80% nonverbal. 80% of their communication is non-verbal. You don't need to be saying, especially for my canine guys, get back to work or[00:30:00] they keep giving the track command.
And I had two guys that was not a part of our group that were there. And I told 'em like, guys, every time you tell this dog to go track and he doesn't find a track and he doesn't get a reward, he's gonna go find something to track. So get, exactly, get away from the verbiage and get away from the, from assisting the dog.
And I had this conversation with one of the guys that I hunt with. He's got a young dog, she's doing really well. And I told him, I'm like, you've gotta let her fail. You've got to leave her alone and let her figure it out. She can smell stuff you never know that is in this world. She knows better.
And she's genetically programmed to do that. And it's a process. Just let her learn. And at four years old, she's a year old. When she's four year old, you're gonna have a phenomenal specimen of a hound. But yeah, to, and it's an extremely difficult thing for people to take a backseat [00:31:00] and allow the learning process to happen.
The very first thing I say to anybody that I work with when we work dogs is not a sound. I don't want you praising your dog. I don't want you talking to you. I've never seen. Any negative effects from little to no impetus from the handler when dogs are working. But I've seen a hell of a lot of problems, due to people constantly ev, every time you praise the dog's looking over his shoulder.
Meanwhile, he was trashing on coyote S bloody his scat. And when you rewarded him at that moment and. So for me I agree. I don't like, especially on the anti-poaching side, you can't be talking to your dog consistently when you are, tracking in the night, and you're trying to find poachers.
I believe, I don't, any time there's verbal, when I'm verbal with a dog, literally is when I ask them to take a track. And when I thank them at the end when I, you, I praise them, there's virtually [00:32:00] nothing in between. If I see a dog that's gone, has lost a track, and he is worked really hard, and I see him pick it up and I see there's a footprint lying there, and I'm a hundred percent sure I might tell him, good dog, just, especially the younger dogs, just that little bit of confirmation.
But I believe we are our dog's biggest downfall when it comes to training. We are, there's no question about it, that we are the achilles heel of our dogs. Yep. No, undoubtedly. So I want to go back, Clinton, I wanna go back to the scent pool. And first I want to explain what a scent pool is.
And I know that on some of the prior podcasts that we've talked about it, but in case you're a first time listener, we're glad to have you on. But I'm gonna explain what a scent pool is. And Clinton, I want your take on what you see when your dogs hit a scent pool, the behavior that you see, and some of the things that come out of that.
So a scent pool is and this is [00:33:00] how I describe it when I'm teaching new handlers, is if I take a glass of water and I tilt it to where it starts dripping and it hits the table or the countertop, the more it drips, the more it pulls. So that water's going from the glass to the countertop, and it's getting bigger.
And it's, it went to a drop, to two drops to a little puddle, to a medium size puddle. And then all of a sudden I have a glass of water on the countertop that may spread all the way across the countertop. So if you can put that into a visual, a simp pool is when a person or animal is in one place for a long period of time and their odor or their scent we got into that too.
We'll call it scent when their scent starts building and getting bigger and stronger and bigger and stronger and bigger. And the longer they're there, the more that [00:34:00] odor spreads throughout an area that in reality could cover the size of a football field. Just to give you a visual and put that in context for you guys.
So a scent pool is when somebody or something sets steel that puts off odor, scent. And the longer they sit there, the more the scent spreads. So Clinton, what, when your dogs hit a scent pool, when you run into that, that first, how do you recognize it and then what happens to the dog's behavior? All right.
Firstly, I think that's a fantastic analogy. I'm gonna definitely use it. I've always said to people, if your neighbor is barbecuing you always know which neighbor it's barbecuing because you're standing outside. But if your wife is, if your wife has burned food in the house and you had to take a stranger and blindfold them and put them in the house and say, go and put off the [00:35:00] go and put off the oven that person wouldn't be able to find the oven based on scent because the whole place is just totally flooded.
But I really like your analogy very much, ah, with inex, with inexperienced handlers or even more ex, experienced handlers. What I find is initially when they start, they normally don't pick up, if you start getting these few head pops before they actually hit the sand pool.
And where the dog is trailing and then his head comes up and he's trailing and his head comes up. And then after that you might find that it becomes a little bit more directional and, the dog is starting to, look into a bit of an area and then when they hit the central, most of the time the handlers think the dog is literally lost the trail.
Yep. Exactly. Because the dog is his dog. The dog's head comes up and he's now not directional, he's actually starting to hunt to the left. He might even turn around and start and hunt to the right. So now it looks like [00:36:00] a dog that's trying to reacquire a trail and he was trailing beautifully and suddenly, boom, the dog is run into trouble.
And that's what I get most often. And not people, I'll say to, I'll ask people what's happening now, and I'll say to my dogs, no longer on trail is hunting for Oda. That is the. I would say 70% of time, the most common thing. So what I find is, there's a lot of things in terms of wind direction and wind speed.
All of these things play a role if the wind is blowing towards you and it's relatively strong the dogs generally work into it quite nicely. They don't, they don't go too wide. They'll negotiate it quite easily. But what I find is if it's fairly dead or the person sitting in a depression and you have that odor, like you said, that glass of water, you have half a football fuel that's just totally flooded with odor.
The dogs generally work around the edges, and they'll normally continue doing this until they get to the downwind side of the runner, [00:37:00] and then they'll suddenly turn in with, more purpose and they'll start pulling you and they'll go straight up to the, straight up to the runner. But it creates a lot of confusion.
For handlers. And I see people criticizing their dogs for literally running, going past the runner and, not indicating the runner, but you, the runner might be elevated into a tree and there's wind, taking that cent pool and really pushing it beyond them. And the dog first goes behind, starts popping, his head, turns around, and then with his head up runs basically straight back up.
So yeah, for me it's, it differs. I've seen dogs work a completely different, in different conditions. I had a bloodhound, a really nice bloodhound that I trained up for a guy and they do rural safety and they've got drones and everything else and they were chasing assailant and they were doing really well.
It's a very open area. And the [00:38:00] dog started popping head and he said, let's rest the dog a little bit. And he phoned me and he told me what's happening? And he said, I said, how strong was she on the trail? He said her head was down and she was just dragging, he had to just, and I said, and then, and he said then her head came up and she went left, and she went right, and he stopped.
And I said To those guys are in front of you. He said, no, it's completely flat. He said, there's, visibility is perfectly good. I said, have you got a drone? He said, yes. I said, put up the drone. And literally 25 meters a ahead of them, there was a ditch, just a little donga. And there were two, two armed assailants lying on their backs with their hippers pointing up, waiting for these guys to pass.
And the dog gave them a very proximity. And he actually thought that, she ran out of gas and she was now starting to get tight. So it's a very interesting field. It's something I still battle with. I don't always get it right sometimes. You must read the dog, it's a proximity, but you wanna help the dog.
And this is why [00:39:00] I've just, I just dropped the leash, especially the inexperienced dogs. And you get frustrated because they'll, especially if it's aerial, they'll turn underneath your suspect and they'll go back and then they'll work back. And you're so tempted, just to give them that little bit of help.
But, you're not, you're helping yourself you're not doing the dog any favors. You've gotta just bite your lip and let them work through the process. And they always do. They always manage to understand it and then next time they do it so much easier. So that's basically how I interpret it.
I think in colder climates you might find that the proximity that your scent cones go a lot further because by us, I think a lot of the aerial scent actually becomes airborne and starts actually, Getting taken up by thermals and that, but we've had, I've had hundred 50 meters, when you do a horseshoe on a trail and love hat, dogs trail perfectly, lift heads turn and go, 90 degrees, 100% in a straight ball to the runner. [00:40:00] Just because they've picked up his air center at 150 meters under our condition. So I can imagine under pristine conditions that these cent cones could probably be picked up.
Best part of, I almost wanna say a quarter of a mile or more. Yeah. And so why I had you explain that because you're giving a very good description of what happens. And I'm gonna, I'm gonna transition this back to the hound world because we're running off lead. And this is what I see with my hounds.
You've described what I see in the police world, and I can set that scenario up every day in my training. And I can make, I can shut a dog down, which means I can go from a good trail and pulling hard, just like you described that bloodhound pull pulling. And then it's like they run into a fence and they've lost it.
Yeah, I can set that scenario up daily in my canine training. Now let's flip that over to the hound world. [00:41:00] Your dogs are, and especially you bear hunting guys. You guys that are trailing bear like I, I'm gonna paint this picture because you've seen it a hundred thousand times. Your dogs are trailing, they're giving good mouth.
They're trailing, and then all of a sudden, boom, you hear 'em be, you're, they're quiet, and then you're like what happened? And then 30 seconds later, a minute later, they're roaring. They're just, they're open, completely open mouth, and they're leaving the country.
So what happened is your dog was running that track and he hit a bedding area, a scent pool. The animal was beded, and the dog hit that scent pool and he shut up because he's trying to figure it out. Just like Clinton said. He's going left, he's going right. He's making circles. He's in the rocks. He's out of the rocks.
He's here. He's there. He is. Try. He is. He is trying to figure that out. And we don't have a lead on the back of that dog [00:42:00] standing there watching. So we don't see this out in, in the woods when we're hunting, we hear it. We hear the dogs given mouth, and then they shut up. And then all of a sudden, like I said, it could be 30 seconds, it could be a minute, it could be a couple minutes.
The dogs just, they're, they blow up and they're on the race is on and they work through that scent pool, and either the animal has escaped out of the back of that somehow some way, and they found the exit track, or they've jumped the animal up if it was beded up tight and the race is on. And that is a very good description of a scent pool in what's happening.
But the dogs do, they, it's like they've flipped a switch. They go from like trail and trail and trail into almost, like you said, Clinton, that they, it's almost like they lost a track. And if we were holding the lead on our hounds, we would [00:43:00] think that a. But in reality, they're just working the fringes of that CIN cone and that CIN cone could be, like we said, size half a football field.
They have to work through that to find where the source is at, because there's so much odor there. I love the analogy of the toast and trying to find the oven. So I'm gonna use your analogy. But yeah, so that's a picture of what's happening with the scent pool. And it happens a lot in our hunting, in our hunting.
And maybe we recognize it or don't recognize it. But if you pay attention going forward, you're gonna hear that and you're gonna know exactly what's going on. Give your dogs a little time to work through that. Don't be in a rush. Don't start toning your dogs or hollering for 'em. Give them time to work that scent cone out and more than likely they're gonna get that game up and get him moving.
So that was a great discussion on a scent. On a scent pool. It was a great discussion on the simple pool. [00:44:00] You're right. I think people underestimate the difficulty that a pool or sand cone actually poses for k9. Because you're going from a very low threshold that's completely directional, and the next thing everything is three-dimensional and it's fresh and it's everywhere.
And we always think while the dogs now found the bear or he is found the hog, or is found the person, the end should be the easiest because there's a lot of scent. The converse side of that coin can actually be very complicated for a dog to try and actually sort out and understand.
It's a lot of odor. And it's what it is. What we were explaining, there's a lot of odor and I had, I'll give a real quick story. Last fall. We had a per vehicle pursuit. Driver bailed out, took off running. He was in a national forest area, a place that I was very familiar with, and he bailed out and run.
I show up 30 minutes later. This is I think it's like May, may it, it [00:45:00] was 66 degrees outside, but the humidity was way up. It was up in the eighties. So I literally circled the car to try to find the exit, which I knew the direction he went, but I circled the car. Pinot, picked up the track, acquired the track.
We went down over the side of the mountain. And Pinot's pulling me pretty hard and I'm, we're going down the side of a ridge, so I'm trying really hard to hold him back and keep him at a good speed. And he throws a proximity and he stops and I'm like, crap. We look up and there's a hat laying beside a tree.
So he popped on that hat. So of course my team knows what to do. We just called it in, said, Hey, we've got a hat here. And we moved on. So we went down off the ridge, left-handed into a hollow, and then Pinot turns hard, right? Like I said, I've got a tracking team with me. Pinot turns hard, right?
And he goes down and, he's pulling me like, he's I'm literally holding him back, [00:46:00] trying to keep him from running us in the ground, like I'm holding him back. So that's, yeah he was pulling really good. And we get down in the base of this hollow, and he does the exact same thing, Clinton.
It's like he hit a wall, boom, stops. And I'm like, okay. And it's nighttime. I've got a headlamp on visibility's not really good for me. And then he starts working side to side. And I'm like, okay, got a cent pool. So I tell my tl, my team leader, I'm like, Hey we're hitting a cent pool. And all my team knows what a cent pool means.
It means, it means high danger. Like that person's either laying here or he was laying here and took off running. So we're in the nighttime. Yeah. Trying to have our light discipline and all that team knows that we're in a scent pool. So Pino works left-handed and I let him work. Like I just, I've gotta hold onto him, but I'm letting him work.
I'm letting him do his thing. He makes a huge circle, a huge circle. And we end up right [00:47:00] back where he stopped. And I look at my TL and I'm like, he's laying right. Like he's laying, just like what you said about those two armed guys, I'm like, he's laying right here. So my team, we communicate that to the team and I let Pino work again and Pino does the exact same thing.
Makes a big circle, works in works around this. Some blowdown timber comes right back to the same place. So by this time we're like, okay, he's here. We've we're, we may have to do like a search to try to find him. So we split the team up. Four man team, my, my rear guard and my right flank decide that they are going to try to do some man tracking, which is visual.
Okay. Will they find in some grass, they find where this guy had went in to some tall grass. It was just above your boot, so you know, eight inches of grass. They could see where he went through there. So they're working on that. Me and the TL and the other G flanker, we start [00:48:00] working that scent pool again.
We work the scent pool, we get to the backside of it, just like you explained. We get to the backside of it, Pinot pops his head, and he literally takes me straight in and we hit a big it was an oak tree that had blowed down and the roots had come up with the tree. And my other two team members were on the other side of those roots.
And they had man tracked him into those roots, and he had buried himself down underneath the roots of that blow down tree. And we were on the backside of it. Pinot finally picked it up, and we come to the same place at the same time and was able to locate him. But the reason I tell you that until the listeners, that it took about 30 minutes, 30 minutes for me to get from the car to the scent pool, took me about seven to 10 minutes.
Easy. And took me 30 minutes to find where that scoundrel was laying [00:49:00] because of the scent pool. Yeah. It's not easy. No it's a very interesting phenomenon. I,
the hound I've actually, if you see how smart a lot of these animals are that are adapted to be hunt, hunting, hunted, they'll bed down and they'll disappear and then they'll backtrack and you see all sorts of funny things going on.
So I can imagine, how difficult it must be, just hunting, even simple things like Bo if you look at the tracking on some of the gars of the guys that will be hunting them, and you see what those Bo actually do once they start running. With us, our side, our.
Our pigs are smaller, but they're faster. And they, I almost wanna say wilder in the sense that, if there's a dog, if a dog opens up, maybe, 300 meters away, the pigs are gone. They just let it drip. And if you see where they go and then they literally come back to where it started and they go, [00:50:00] they backtrack the direction that they came.
You look at these things and you realize that, for a dog to actually do the math, then the amount of experience you need to put into them to understand all of these things it's just absolutely astounding. Yeah. And I think, going from the law the le training side of things to the hound side of things, and I've said this before on, on this podcast, that it has opened a whole different world of learning for me.
Because I don't get to see a lot of what my hounds do. I turn 'em loose and I pick 'em up. Basically. That's the part of it. I turn 'em loose. I go to where they're at. I try to follow them. Very seldom am I laying eyes on them. And yeah. Then, on, in, on the law enforcement side of it I've got a 30 foot of lead attached to these dogs every day I get to watch this behavior every day, and it opened my eyes to what, what's going [00:51:00] on, what the dogs are doing.
It was a, it was like eating humble pie because you think you know what your hounds are doing, and then you go and you start putting a lead on another dog that's doing basically the same. And it's man, I didn't know nothing. Like I didn't realize this stuff was going on, or I didn't realize that.
Yeah, I know that, my dog can track better in the snow as long as it's not frozen. And yes, a little bit of moisture helps my dogs and yeah, when it gets hot and the sun's at 12 o'clock, dogs struggle. Those that's just if you pay attention but then after doing it, it's now I know why.
I know because this element and this element doesn't line up together. Just like what you said, your air's cooled down, you hear humidity went up and now the dog's on fire. And you were talking about the vultures and stuff circling. And Gavin Lippes actually put this on one of our podcasts is, that you're looking at the barometric pressure [00:52:00] and when the barometric pressure is high, Which we would not think that would be normal.
When it's high, everything is good. The air sanding is ability is good. But when the bear maker pressure is low, it's pushing that odor straight up in the air. And that's why those vultures are circling, is because it's pushing the scent away from the earth. And that's how they're finding the they're their, they're dead, their roadkill or dead animals or whatever they're looking for.
It takes on a whole different perspective in training and learning. And when you start learning the little tidbits, I think it always gives you an advantage to being better, a better handler, whether it be hounds and hunting or, chasing guys down like you do. And the stuff that we do.
I think everything that you can learn and everything that you can do to make yourself more knowledgeable and I knowledge is power. It makes you better. Undoubtedly. And I think, the more we learn, the more [00:53:00] we realize that, we are just scratching the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more to learn and, for by, by me for instance, we have these, I felt thunderstorms where it would be a perfectly clear day and, within half an hour you have these huge towering columns of Columba numbers, clouds for me.
And if you see that those guys starting to stack up, you know you're gonna have a hell of a day trailing because, everything is just being sucked up and all the moistures being sucked up into the atmosphere. So then you need a dog that can go back to the, let's call it the tracking aspect where you can actually work that ground disturbance and is not just fixated on odor.
It was very interesting, initially I heard the term trailing. And but Okay. Yeah. We tracking now what's trailing and you go and you look at the definition and trailing, dog is seen specific and it can do any surfaces and, tracking the dogs falling ground [00:54:00] disturbance.
And then, but then you realize a lot of trailing dogs are not saying specific. They're just following generic human odor. And you realize a lot of,
there's also disturb that goes with
You can come back, you can start working that.
And then when it comes into a normal up, again, this is why people don't realize how extremely important it is to work your dog under different [00:55:00] surfaces and, not just to work on certain type of surfaces or very soft surfaces. Because I've had dogs that work really nice on soft surfaces in the moment they come to me where it's very rocky and very dry.
You realize the dogs are just working ground disturbance. They're not even worried about generic human odor. Yeah. And that would be, for us hound hunters, that would be guys on the coast hunting the marshes and the swamps and the stuff like that. And then you got your dry ground guys out west southwest Arizona, New Mexico.
Same, the you, you're, it's the same thing exactly what you're saying. So Clinton we we've got about an hour in what, is there anything that you, we could keep going on and on about training and elements and, I love the conversation. I love to learn. Is there anything that you wanna leave us with?
Anything you want to add or take away about the conversation we've had today?
I honestly think that, especially with the young [00:56:00] dogs and this goes for most canine disciplines, I think slow is fast. There's absolutely no rush. You're looking at a project for a dog that's gonna serve you 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years if you're blessed give him a lot of exposure, but, don't over overwork the dog.
I see, especially with the Mulk having this incredible work ability. I see people doing things with four month old puppies and it's all good and but I think that, there's a time for everything. I think let that dog be a puppy. Allow that dog to, to make his mistakes.
Just give him opportunities and don't try and, up, up the ante the whole time. Get the dog to the point where he is both comfortable and where he is enjoying it. And then, give him a bit of a break. Take him out again. I found, us guys that are totally addicted to, that's trailing, for instance, or hunting gets to the point where [00:57:00] it becomes so self-serving that you're doing it for yourself and you're pushing harder and harder.
I have, really passionate guys and I train them up with a trailing hound. And I'm getting all of these, tracks coming through daily and the guys are really putting in the time. And then a month forward, I get a phone call, the dog is messing her up now, try and find out what's happening.
And I say the dog is leaving the trail. He's showing interest in a lot of other things. And I'm like, how long was your last trial? About four kilometers, the previous one. Oh, that was six kilometers. And then I say to them all, listen carefully, put the dog in a kennel, feed it, water it, forget about it for five days, and then take it out and put it on a trail and tell me what and 99% of the time they come back, mate. The dog was 100% on point. And I always ask people, why do dogs trap? Because they enjoy it. That's the only reason. And if you've got a young dog and he [00:58:00] is, he's a superstar and he's doing really well, what do we do? We start expecting more of him.
We start increasing his workload. And, at some point that dog is gonna, is probably gonna burn out a little bit. I've done it myself. I've worked dogs to the point where I could see the desire. The dog will go through the motions for you, but the desires completely gone.
So I think, let puppies be puppies. Enjoy them. Lay your foundation. Foundation rather spend time on your foundation with, get them out, get them socialized. This is the biggest issue I see with Mullan. People are so busy playing to get the dogs to bite. They're not socializing the dogs, they're not getting the dogs stable, they're not getting the dogs environmentally.
Getting a mullan to is not a particularly difficult task, but there's a lot of other work that needs to be done, to make the dog a, a stable, suitable dog. So from my side, I think sometimes we get so caught up in our passion that we forget it's actually about the dogs. And we gotta take a step back.
And what [00:59:00] I've also seen a lot we expect our older dogs to teach our younger dogs, and I think we run our younger dogs with a pax too soon. I don't think we put enough individual, I'm not a hound hunter, but I don't think we put enough time into that individual dog before we start introducing them to pacts.
I see a lot of dogs just, if I go out, we've got a lot of hog hunters and if I see a vehicle and then 22 dogs bail out of the back of that vehicle, I know that guy is just, he's not a serious hunter because he needs 20 twos to catch something and then he needs another two days to get all his dogs back.
If I see a guy that stops and he's got, if he's got three hounds bailing out the back, then I know that guy has got three really good solid blocks. They all know what they're supposed to do. So I think, take time. You've got such a long time with that pluck.
And take time with that specific dog. Don't rush it. Go back to foundation. If you're battling, go right back to the stop and [01:00:00] make sure that the dog's desire for the work is there. If we start pushing the pups too, some pups can take it, but, I've seen it with myself. Let's, I've got Pepsi here that, I've just really been taking it easy with these are now, that Shepherd and Mullens I've allowed them to grow at their own place.
We'll do a bit of bite work, we'll do a little bit of scent imprinting with them, but it's nothing serious. We just, we get them out and we just allow them to be dogs. And I think in the long run, it's just a lot easier for those dogs when we start putting the mental stress on them, they actually be capable of absorbing.
Yeah I think that's great advice. And I have said this And I'm guilty of actually what you're saying. It has been through my career especially in the hunting world, more self-served than for the dogs. It's more about the dogs now. I don't run my dogs every day because they need that downtime, they need that rest and then back on the puppies.
Like every [01:01:00] dog matures differently. And yeah, we really see it in the canine the canine world. Like what you're talking about with the malley and the shepherds and the dutches. You see those four month old puppies being pushed and pushed and pushed. They've gotta be allowed to be a puppy.
They've got to be able to mature and grow. And I have said exactly what you have just told us in the bear hunting world, when a dog sets back or something goes on, or especially if I get a dog hurt, if I get a young, if I get a young dog hurt, I put him up. I let his mind reset. Yeah. I take him, I let him, I don't put the stress and pressure on him.
I don't take him right back out the next day and dump him on another one to see how he's gonna react. I give him some time off, I give him time to reset. Clinton that's great advice. That is great advice. You guys listening should really step back and think [01:02:00] about it and really do the stuff that that we're talking about because it will make a huge difference in your training and ultimately in your overall performance of the dog.
So Clinton, I can't thank you enough. Like I said, we may have another conversation because these are so good. It's so full of education. And it's so funny, like I said, we're two con, we're continent two continents away, and the same practices and principles, tactics and tricks work no matter where you're at.
And the more of those things you can have in your backpack and you can pull from a better trainer and handler and the more enjoyable it's gonna be for you to own and train these dogs. Definitely I think the synergy, with the world that has become a global village, there's it's just wonderful being able to [01:03:00] share information and knowledge with the like-minded people, so I suppose, technology does have its upsides and it's always nice knowing you know, what people are doing on the other side of the pond and realizing that there is definitely a golden thread, that works. Right across, be it law enforcement, be it hunting, dog is a dog.
And they're all there. They all have the same basic needs. And if we start training dogs out of a dog's point of view, instead of, trying to train the dogs out of our point of view, things just happen so much easier. And, you can't teach scent to a dog, and through self-discovery learn.
So the more we give the dogs the opportunities to figure things out and be successful, the happier they're, and I've even had dogs with over aggressive dogs with aggression issues where I've just done a bit of saint work with them and it just balances those dogs out completely without doing anything.
Yeah. It's good stuff. Clinton, as always, we end the podcast with. [01:04:00] Thank you for helping us teach, train, and definitely learn. This was a great learning session, so thank you. Always lovely talking to you. Keep well here. Yep.