Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Sleeper


So I've started on the road toward building my pack.

We'll have to see how this works out, but for now the plan is to utilize the best traits of each dog I end up with. Till the end of January it will be just Haru and I, but Baron should be able to make it out there with us for a bit of training for the last 2 weeks of the season.

Haru is very intelligent, but cautious. She has excellent problem solving skills, speed, and stamina. She also seems to have a pretty good nose, and a lot of drive as far as 'finding' goes. I'm hoping that she'll end up being my lead dog (or finder), and bay the pigs up till the other dogs get there.

There is a major monkey wrench in my plan at the moment. Haru is a very quiet dog, hardly ever barking. Up till now we've mostly done tracking/following boar to their nests, but we'd only once gotten there while the pigs were still home. She gave chase, but came back right away. Not a bad start I was thinking. Problem was, she didn't bark at all.

I've been wanting to get her to either a training facility with a training pen, or borrow a freshly trapped (caged) boar to see her reaction. So far this hasn't worked out.

This past week, the morning after I got back from Kyushu, I took Haru to the mountains. I tried to use some of the tricks/tips I'd gleaned from the hunters down south, and it seemed I had lucked onto the right spot. There were fresh boar marks and uprooted areas from the night before, and I had a guess as to where they were sleeping.

We got there, and it looked like they had been bedded down, but were already hoofing it. We started heading toward the next ridge, but Haru seemed intent on going down to the bottom of the ridge toward a stream. I followed, and we got around 50 meters downhill with Haru around 10 meters to my right. She stopped and was just staring in full alarm mode, so I was curious as to what she was looking at. Walked over quietly beside her and looked downhill and lo and behold a 50-60kg boar was sitting there staring back at her.

The pig was 10 meters away trying to scent us, but there was a crosswind. Very magnificent looking animal. Haru and the pig continued to stare at each other for around 20 seconds. All the while I was trying to encourage her to chase or bark or anything, but she just stood there staring. If the season up here in Chiba was open, we would have been taking home some bacon. The pig actually moved a meter or so closer to us, then went broadside. I almost laughed cause I felt like it was taunting me. I swear it knew I couldn't take him.

So after a bit of this standoff, I figured I'd just have to show Haru how it's done. Yup, I started chasing the pig barking at the top of my lungs. Haru looked at me for a second then got the idea and took off after the pig with me. Only after running a few meters downhill did I realize that there were more pigs there. One was actually even closer to Haru's right than the one I saw.

Haru and I chased them aways up into a bamboo covered area, and then I called her off. The pigs obviously wanted the last laugh, with one of them sitting up at the top of the ridge snorting at us till we left.

Good news, we found pigs, and after my Oscar nominated hunting dog impression, Haru gave chase. Bad news, no barking. Big monkey wrench.

Will have to see if we can sort this issue out.

Today we headed out to an 'Imonikai' (boil-potato-get-together), which is basically a big pot of soup with meat/potatoes/vegetables, to hang out with friends and socialize the pups. Baron stole the hearts of everyone there, and played with everyone till he dropped. Works for me, I may actually get some sleep tonight.

1 comment:

  1. You may want to ask the hunters if there is such a thing as dogs who "point" at the prey for the hunter rather than baying or giving chase.

    My Shiba has never barked at any of the wildlife in our area, but she will always alert me to it by standing very still and focused. Essentially, she is doing a "point". Usually she does this if she sees something, such as a deer or wild turkey or coyote. She also does this after scenting something, such as skunks. There may be something to be said for the "point"/stealth mode.

    Sukoshi's Mom