Click Here for, DANCING WITH THE WILD BEAST, diary among friends of the Mozambique Bush

Hard Nosed Big Game Hounds

Hard Nosed Big Game Hounds
Click the pic for "The hard Nosed Pack"

Luwire Photographic Safaris

Luwire Photographic Safaris
Looking across the Lugenda from one of the camps

Thursday, December 27, 2012

More from Henry Johnson on Airedales

Henry sent a copy of this, I always listen to the man especially when it comes to dogs. He sent it to be posted on the Traditional Working Airedale board. A great place to learn about Airedales that are used for various work.
I thought I would share for all my "Dog People" friends.

Would appreciate your putting the following on the board for me if you

think it worthwhile.  Your choice, your decision.  Won't hurt my feelings
at all if you decide it doesn't fit.  If you do use it, please make it
clear it is presented only as my own thinking and experience and I do not
tell other people what to think or what to do.

Raising, Training, Messing Around with Airedales:

  -- Just my personal thinking and experience.  I do not tell other
people what to think or what to do.

  -- As a breed, the Airedale is generally quite intelligent and very
people oriented.  Easy to work with, easy to train. But very sensitive.
 Do not get too rough with them.  Best to build on their natural
instincts and traits and not to try to force them to do anything.

  -- Pay attention to the dog at all times.  Learn to read them like a
book.  By their actions and body language you will know if they are
well and happy or sick or unhappy. It's like having your personal
radar.  You will know if they see, hear, or smell something and whether
it is close or far, something to eat, something to roll in, animal or
human intruders, or something to chase or hunt.

  -- I never fed puppy chow to pups.  Too rich.  Makes them grow too
fast.  Too fast growth can cause hip and bone problems.  Always fed
pups same basic ration I fed the adults.  Just slurried for very small
pups, starting about week three, as soon as I could feel teeth coming
through the gums.  Slurry the dry kibble and add a little raw hamburger
or original style Vienna sausage.  Stop the slurrying and go to dry
food by the time they have well developed teeth and can easily crunch
up the dry kibble.  When they are older and have lost teeth to combat
or age, the soft Vienna sausage added to kibble works well for them.
Works well for old semi-toothless men too.

  -- Alway fed a hunting/working type dogfood.  Want to see chicken or
meat products or bone meal up front.  Want lots of fat.  Dogs run on
fat.  Never any soy. Soy makes for runny stools.  A good ration in a
healthy dog will produce stools that are "round and firm and fully
packed and free and easy on the draw" (as the old cigarette ad used to
put it).  You should be able to easily clean up the poop bare handed,
as I am accustomed to do with my dogs.

  -- If you want to stop a dog from jumping up and pawing you, just grasp
his paws when he does it and squeeze enough to make him want to
withdraw.  About three times like that and he will still jump up but
pull his feet back and not paw you.

  -- I never used electricity or choke or pinch collars on an Airedale.
Just a lot of talking to them and running my hands over them, praising
them when they did well and snarling at them when they did something I
did not like.  They are very sensitive to the sound of your voice and
know when you are pleased and know when you are not.

  -- Train them to accept loud noises from puppy stage on.  Bang the food
and water dishes around.  Use a gunshot or the loud popping of a paper
bag as a dinner bell to announce feeding time.  They should never get
gunshy.  If they ever do cow down or shy away because of noise, ignore
them and go on as though everything is perfectly normal.  If you try to
sweet talk or reassure them it usually just makes the shyness worse.

  -- Airedales will work for treats.  Use them in training.  Get a small
plastic bottle and fill it with dog treats and carry it with you in the
kennel yard and in the field.  I use an 8 ounce bottle that comes with
the cherry juice I drink each morning to keep the gout away.  Don't
completely fill the bottle.  Leave enough space in it so it makes a
good rattling sound when you shake it.  To train a dog to come to you,
rattle the bottle and call his name and always give him one treat if he
responds.  About three such treat experiences and an Airedale will know
the drill and will come to you on the run when he hears you call his
name and hears or sees you shake the bottle.  And they can generally
hear the rattle up to fifty yards away.  Always give him one treat when
he comes.

  -- In the beginning, when hunting my Airedales in big Southern swamp
country or in Western desert or prairie, I used a hunting horn to call
the dogs when they were far away.  Somewhere along the way I lost my
horn but learned I could make the same sound very loudly just with my
voice alone.  Have called dogs up to half a mile or more away like that
in swamp or forest when they were out of sight.  Now, in later life I
use a simple "Hup" or "Hoot" , pronounced very distinctly and very
loudly.  It only takes one or two and the dog will come to you for his

  -- I have never thought of myself as any kind of dog trainer.  To get
them started hunting, all I ever did was take young ones out with old
ones and let them learn on the job.  The younger ones naturally take
their cue from the actions of older, more experienced dogs.  If you
don't have old ones available you just have to build on the natural
instincts of the dog.  Airedales are natural born hunters and usually
natural retrievers as well.  Praise them when they do well and snarl at
them when they do wrong and give them lots of field experience.  Keep
it fun and games.  It should always be an enjoyable experience for the
both of you.  The dog can learn from you and you can learn from your

  -- Airedales, and I think all dogs, are always reading the body
language of other dogs and they are reading your body language too.
They are very quick to pick up on hand signals.  Use the same hand
motion any time you give them a command and after three or four times
they will know the drill.  As they get old and deaf, as most of them
eventually will, hand signals become more useful.  When they become
half blind as well as deaf, you just have to cut them some slack and
tolerate poor response.  The same applies to old men too.

fults cove
"Any time a smart man tells you what he thinks, you're better off for it
even if you don't like it."  (Paul Holiday, Hutchinson, Kansas)

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About Me

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I’m a Southern Boy, just 56 last November, I get around here and there, Central America, Africa, Red Bay. I’m a Father, Grandfather, Husband, Artist and general flunky of sorts. Live in a little historic town in an old building I remodeled. Just wanted to hear myself think I guess, talk about the need of simplification, show some art, express an interest or two, brag on my dogs and see where it goes. That’s it!, That’s the deal, Thanks