Health and Training
your bGS for blood

Although this breed is non-aggressive, unless protecting the game after a find, loving, gentle and very loyal they are
hunting dogs first and foremost.  They are not merely a dog to keep around the house as a pet. They are commonly
referred to as blood tracking dogs but are more specifically very specialized scent tracking dogs.  It is not only the small
amounts of blood which they will follow but also scent from inter-digital glands on the hooves of deer, digestive juices,
and the overall scent of the animal that makes each individual animal different from the other. They do very well as
inside dogs when they are not tracking. They become very attached to their owners, have a very laid back personality
and love to play. They want to be with you wherever you are,  even when you are not tracking.  But, they are happiest
when they get plenty of time outside using their nose and receiving regular mental and physical exercise.

I have found that the long ears are prone to yeast infection (with the high humidity that we have here in the South). This
is a minor issue if taken care of in a timely manner. Another issue is their tail. Their tail is always wagging because they
are a very happy dog. The tail is like a whip and they beat it on everything in the house when they get excited or they
are playing. Its sounds like it would really hurt but it does not seem to phase them. This can cause a problem when they
bust the tip open and blood goes everywhere. With the constant wagging of the tail they also tend to create calluses on
the bottom side of the tail if they are left in an outside kennel with concrete floors all the time.  The tail hurts when it
strikes you in the face or on bare legs.

All BGS should be tested for Hip Dysplasia if they are to be used for breeding. It is rare but not unheard of. Only dogs
with and A or B rating should ever be breed and then only A to A or A to B and nothing less. Through testing and proper
breeding we can help slow and reduce the number of dogs effected.

Seizures, some dogs have been known to have seizures. If they do and it is reported to the breed warden,which it
should for the health of the breed. Then that bloodline is shut down and not used for breeding. This is the only way to
keep those genes from being passed on.

Over the years, proper breeding and training is what has made these dogs the great trackers they are. The tracking
ability is already there due to the breeding, but you have to fine tune it with training. Training a Bavarian Mountain
Bloodhound (BGS) requires patience because not only are these dogs very smart, they can be hard headed.  They do
not take to harsh punishment or scolding. Being hard headed is one of the traits that makes them excellent trackers.
When they lock in on a scent they become single minded and focused on finding whatever they are tracking. The BGS
requires a totally different approach to training than most Americans are use to.  

Training starts around 10-12 weeks for some but definitely by week 17 they should be showing an interest in following a
small liver drag. Start these drags with a small 5-10 yard drag of either a liver or a piece of hide with blood on it. This is
just something to get the puppies used to using their nose. You want to see a dog that has a drive to follow the line even
at this age. Do not worry so much at an early age about obedience training, this breed catches onto what you want from
them very quickly. Getting them started on developing their nose is more important at this time and obedience can be
taught after they have started working their nose on a regular basis.

As the dog picks up on these liver drags you can switch over to blood short blood trails. Once they are consistent with
the short lines you can start laying out straight trails over 100 yards with ample amounts of blood.  Age the track about 2
hrs at this point. You should lay some tracks on bare dirt which forces the dog to breath in deeply to draw in the scent
up off the ground, thus developing a dog with a "deep nose". This will help you later on in tracking when you get a track
that has very little or no blood. Always leave something at the end of the tracks as a reward, either a food treat or a
piece of hide or something along those lines. I prefer a deer leg at the end of the tracks as a reward.

Once the dogs shows that it can do the 100 yard track with no problem, you can start putting in a turn or two with the
same amount of blood over varying terrain and at slightly longer distances. You can also start aging the line another
hour or so. Gradually increase the line length and decrease the amount of blood used in the track.  By 6 months old the
dog should be doing 12 hour old tracks over 500 yards.

Two of the most important things to remember during this time is to be patient and to make it fun. Remember the BGS
do not take to being punished hard so you will need lots of patience and a soft hand. When you lay out your tracks and
the dog completes it give them plenty of praise and love. Of course, the more real tracks you can your dog on the
better. They do not care if the animal has already been "found".  There are so many scents on a real track that you will
never be able to reproduce on a mock trail. By all means have fun!

This breed is not considered an adult until they are 2 1/2 years old; However, they really start coming into their own
around age 3.  If you are not willing to take the time in training, or be dedicated to laying out the mock blood trails for
several years, then you will be dissatisfied with your dogs tracking abilities. It will not be the dog's fault but yours for not
spending the time required to fine tune the dog's nose. If you are
not willing to do this, then this is not the dog for you.
But if you spend the time training, you will have a quality tracking dog that your are satisfied with for many years to come.

You need some means of dispensing blood like an old ketchup bottle for laying moderately heavy blood trails down to a
big syringe without the needle to make just small drops of blood as you make the tracks harder. An alternate to this is
using the  dab method. This method is just taking a sponge on a stick that you dab in blood and then on the ground as
you walk along making your track.

A Quality tracking collar or harness is also needed. The tracking collar should be at least 2 inches wide to spread out
the weight on the dogs neck as they pull during tracking. A good quality tracking collar can be purchased from the
United Blood Trackers store. If you are not planning on testing your dog with the JGHV then a harness works really well.

A 30' lead made out of 8 mm climbing rope or some other stiff rope of the same size works well for a full grown BGS. You
will want to start the puppies out with a smaller diameter rope or cord when you first start tracking with them. We have
found a new product called Permatack that seems to be the best all around tracking leads, this is currently what we are
using. They can also be purchased from the UBT store.

A quality light for night tracking is required. Always keep a back up light and extra bulbs in case your batteries die or
break a bulb. I prefer a 6 volt coon hunters light since it allows my hands to be free, some handlers want even more light
and use up to a 21volt light.  Check with your local game warden about the legal restrictions regarding the use of or size
of lights you track wounded game with.

Wear a pair of rubber boots when laying out trails to minimize your own scent.  They are also nice to keep your feet dry
when doing real tracks down in swampy bottoms .

There is a lot of other equipment that makes tracking easier or more comfortable.  My favorites are brier pants and shirt
for comfort and a gps unit so you know were you are and how far you have traveled on the track. But the things listed
above are all you need to get you and your dog started in the enjoyable sport of recovering wounded game with
leashed tracking dogs.
The German Fahrtenschuh shown above is an old method of training. These are new and made of rubber with a
steel bracket made into them. The designer of these scent shoes has taken the old methods of training and applied
them with new technology. A deers foot is placed in the bracket and as you walk the scent of the inter-digital gland is
placed on the ground. Very little to no blood is used when training in with this method. Many seasoned trackers have
been very pleased with how well they work and that their dogs do not seem to have a problem tracking the lines laid
out by this method. Some also feel this is a more natural or realistic method of laying a track. If you are interested in
a pair you can purchase them at the UBT web site store.
A quality book about leashed
tracking dogs has been
written by John Jeanneny and
is now available. This is the
only book in English on this
subject. This is a must read
for anyone interested in
getting started in tracking.
The book can be purchased
by clicking on John's book.
John's second addition is
now available.
Hillock Kennels

Williamson Ga 30292
Ken Parker
Bavarian Mountain Blood Hound's Nature and
Health Issues
Basic equipment needs for tracking
Hillock Kennels is a proud member of
these organizations.
Club for Bavarian Mountain Blood Hounds
Web site created and maintained by Ken.
Last updated 8-06-11