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Training a shed dog


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
On Friday night our local humane society posted a pic of 5 lab/border collie pups. Since we recently had to put down our family pet, my wife was all over this. I really didn't want a dog, but started to waiver thinking maybe I could train this pup to find sheds since it's got lab in it.
So, yesterday morning Kendra, Klay, and Katie went to pick up the new pup. It was a crap shoot which one they would get (if any) since there were a lot of posts on the Facebook listing. They ended up with 3rd pick. Both females went first so she had pick of the 3 boys. They picked out a blonde male and named him Billy.


So, I'm looking for any advice on training shed dogs. I've been researching already and most articles say you will get best results with fresh sheds. This dog isn't really ready to start playing games of fetch and getting fresh sheds in a month may be tough.

Anyone have any experience with this? Any tips?


Pellet Smoker Aficionado
Supporting Member
Davie County, NC
Cut his nuts!!! lol

You've got a good looking pup Mike....

Just get him playing with them, start small and work up....


Senior Member
1st off buy the soft antler from dog bone. Keep all other sheds off the ground at all times.

Start small. Basic obedience is first. Without that you will hate life.

Develop a steady dog, this is important in when the hunt starts. And even at home.

Start with simple fetch of the antler in the hallway.

Then move to the yard with just fetch.

Then the leash comes in play. Walk the dog with the antler and walk 10 steps and lay the antler down. Hold him steady and give him his hunt command.

After this he will learn what his hunt command is.

Once he grasps the idea of the command start planting the soft antler in the house.

Once the dog is finding the soft antler with the command, go back and start over With the real shed.

Once you are this far you can move to the yard with the hunt command and planted antlers.

After the dog has his adult teeth he needs to be force fetched or hold conditioned. Otherwise he will be all but worthless in the field.

It isn't easy. It's a pain in the butt. Haha
That's my quick guide, but I'm no pro.


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
Taylor summed it up very well. As with ANY dog, start with a solid foundation of obedience. It doesn't matter how many sheds he finds... If he's a pain in the ass he won't be much fun for you or the family. Manners first, sheds second.

There are a ton of resources out there for training. Look up YouTube videos by Bill Hillman... He's a great trainer and offers a lot of tips for free online. If/when you get to the force fetch process (which I strongly recommend), look into SmartWork by Evan Graham. He also has a book called SmartFetch which focuses specifically on the FF process. Don't be intimidated by it. Watch some videos and study up on it. It can be frustrating but you and the dog will both benefit from it.

Oh... Do your best to keep a high standard in training and be consistent. This will likely be your biggest hurdle, since it'll be a family dog and kids will be involved. It's easy to erode good habits you've created when kids get in the mix.

And congrats on the new pup!
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Junior Member
Do not use the antler in the house or let the kids play with him with the antler. Use a small 1" paint roller to start him retrieving in the house. Let him be a puppy his attention span will be very short at for the first few months. Use a puppy program to get his foundation for obedience, I like Evan Grahams "Smart Puppy" but there are many out there and some decent You tube videos. I Forced Fetched both of my dogs which I feel really help with them bringing antlers to me. I have seen several shed dogs find the antler and just leave it to keep hunting. I really watch my dogs, if your familiar with bird dogs, they will get birdy when they scent the antler, sometimes they struggle to locate the antler as it looks very similar to a stick.

PM me I could send you some fresh Shed if you want them. I always use gloves and place them in Ziplock bags for training. I also use a wax based antler scent you rub on the antler. You do not want your scent on the antler. When placing the antler throw it at least 20 or 30 yards, if you lplace the antler where you walked the dog will trail your tracks to the antler.

Its fun and you should have a great pup to find sheds with. sheds.jpg Last weekend.