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Pig dog (bulldog, blue heeler, or other suitable breed)
If you are a hunter and dog owner, you may be able to combine those interests into one hobby. Many dogs can be trained to become pig dogs, particularly bulldogs and blue heelers. If you live in an area with wild pigs, you can use your dog to track and run down pigs. It will take some patience on your part, as there are several steps to follow when training a pig dog. If you're willing to invest the time and effort, you can end up with a skilled pig dog to accompany you on your hunts.
Determine whether your pig dog is old enough to start its training. Michelle Mears, from High on the Hog Kennel, says that you can begin to train a pig dog when it is between three and four months old.
Buy a pig to use for training your dog. High on the Hog Kennel recommends choosing a pig that is a bit smaller than the dog. This will help build your pig dog's confidence and keep it from being frightened by the pig.
Introduce your pig dog to the pig. This should be done in a controlled way, with your dog inside a contained area like a fenced yard or pen. Choose a place where the dog feels secure and can easily see the pig. Work the dog up as you let it see the pig, encouraging it to jump and bark.
Continue to show the pig to your dog every few days, and continue this process for two weeks. The dog should get more aggressive and struggle to get at the pig. When it does, shower it with praise to reinforce its aggression towards the pig. Stop each session before the dog's interest wanders, as young dogs often have short attention spans.
Teach your dog to associate your vehicle with finding pigs. Since you will most likely be driving to pig hunts, your dog should know that riding in your truck or other vehicle means it will soon be seaching for its prey. Tie the pig out somewhere, then load up your dog and drive to the pig. Let the dog see it, but keep them separated and get the dog excited. Praise it if it shows signs of aggression, then drive back home before its interest wanes. Repeat this process every few days.
Teach your dog to track the pig. Lead the pig around in a wooded area to make a fresh track for the dog to locate. High on the Hog Kennel suggests wearing rubber boots while doing this so you don't spread your own scent around. Hobble the pig at the end of the track so the dog can find it. Encourage the dog to find the scent on its own. If it doesn't, give it some guidance the first few times in finding and following the trail. When it finally follows the scent and locates the pig, shower it with praise.
- Photo: Wikimedia Commons (NASA)