| A hunting dog refers to any dog who assists human hunters in the hunting of wild game. There are several types of hunting dogs developed for the many tasks hunters require that they fulfill. The major categories of American hunting dogs include scent hounds and gun dogs. Among these categories further divisions can be made based upon the skills that the dogs possess.|
Working method of Pointers and Setters
When game is detected, a dog freezes, either pointing or crouching. If other dogs are present, they also freeze, "honoring" the first dog’s point. The pointing dog remains motionless until the hunters are in position. Some trainers train the dog to stay motionless while the hunter steps forward and flushes the game. Other trainers direct the dog to flush the game with a command such as get it!
If a bird is downed, the dogs are instructed to search for it with the command dead bird, or simply dead. The dogs then search for and retrieve the downed game.
Working method of Flushing Dogs
Flushing dogs are often used on birds which run from the hunter. On such birds, an aggressive flush is necessary to spring the bird to wing. Flushing dogs excel on these types of bird because they do not point the birds, giving them little time for escape on the ground.
Once a bird has been flushed, the dog will sit or "hup" to watch the flight of the bird and mark the fallen birds for retrieval.
When a bird is shot, the dog should mark where it fell and wait until given the command to retrieve. Once so commanded, the dog will race to the point of fall, pick up the bird, and return it to the handler.
These dogs specialize in following a smell or scent. Most of these breeds have long, drooping ears. They also have large nasal cavities, the better to process scent.
Scent hounds do not need to be fast, because they do not need to keep prey in sight, but they need endurance so that they can stick with a scent and follow it for long distances over rough terrain. The best scent hounds can follow a scent trail even across running water and even when it is several days old.
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