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TOPIC: How does the SMELL of deer affect your hound?

How does the SMELL of deer affect your hound? 3 years 9 months ago #41932

I would be interested in other people's observations on the affect of the smell of deer.

I am wondering because Henry has been acting somewhat out of character recently.

We moved last year to a lovely location surrounded by countryside. Normally all the fields around our house are full of sheep, not deer (apparently the deer stay away when the sheep are grazing because they do not like the taste of the grass after sheep have fouled it). However since January all the sheep have gone (off to home farm 4 miles away to lamb). Its been heavenly being able to let all the dogs run free off lead.
And so the fields have regularly had groups of fallow deer (often about 15 in a herd). They've usually gone when I'm out dog walking but I have noticed a change in Henry's behaviour and am wondering if the smell of the deer who have obviously passed by/ been resting/or grazing very recently is causing the change.

He normally is very good on a walk and will stick near me - now he is ranging far off to the other ends of the field or even jumping the (rather too low) fences and going into the next fields and seems to be in "hunting mode" all the time - whereas before he really wasn't that bothered.

The other explaination is that he has just become obsessed with hunting for rabbits, squirrels, foxes, hares etc. Can't say that we are seeing any more of these (except hares) than we used to where we lived before - and he really was rather half-hearted about chasing things then.

He's just turned 5 - surely this can't be an age - related thing?

I would be very interested to hear of anyone else's experiences.
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How does the SMELL of deer affect your hound? 3 years 9 months ago #41939

My Fiona only smells deer when it is very near or just short after crossing the way or path. She then is very excited and every muscle is tensed her look is far away and she is scanning the surroundings wiht both eyes and nose. But I found that when the deer is too far away she does not smell anything. Another thing is it about fox - they have a very strong odour and my Fiona gets very upset then. I have heard that the fox is a great thing for them to hunt. As you mentioned you think he became obsessed, I think that is the point. Whenever they have had one run after a prey - or even had a hunt with success - then they get kind of addicted to that. In their brains a region is stimulated, the reward centre, it is just as if you take drugs or are addicted to something, it gets out of your control and you want more and cannot stop.
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How does the SMELL of deer affect your hound? 3 years 9 months ago #41947

If they have sighted deer in an area they will forever be on the lookout and of course they're always testing the winds for the scent of prey. I suspect a lot of activity goes on in fields and woods that we humans are not even aware of. I keep a good grip on their leads because I respect that they are sighthounds bred to purpose, their instinct is to hunt even while they are pretending to be on pleasant walks with owners!
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How does the SMELL of deer affect your hound? 3 years 8 months ago #42033

I remember once going to a show in Peterborough which was in a field next to Deer, think they were breeding them. Not one dog showed any interest!

I do find its the smell of Fox that gets mine going, I see them air sniff and look for it
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How does the SMELL of deer affect your hound? 3 years 8 months ago #42036

At Christmas my local garden centre houses two rheindeer for all the children to come and pet but I didn't know about it until Aoife spotted them . She became very alert and at least 6 inches taller, I thought oh heck, are we about to get banned. No emotion was shown neither aggression or pleasure nose to nose they were fully accepting that neither was at risk. It would I think have been different if the deer had panicked.
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How does the SMELL of deer affect your hound? 3 years 8 months ago #42059

Yalla is about 2.5 now and is gradually growing out of his deer-obsession....it's squirrels now though. Since his castration and toe amputation he's been less inclined to chase deer (unless it's really close and runs from a standing start....basically Yall has become too lazy!) - but he either remembers where he's chased deer before, or the deer regularly go the same place and he can smell them. Weeks or even months after a deer chase he sill still stand looking at the spot, and going off on his own sweet way through the woods even though we can't see any sign of deer at all. He also gets super excited when we see a deer walking on the road on the way to or from a walk...he stands up in the back of the car, ears pricked, straining to keep his eye on the deer and whining. But we can see a deer in the woods about 20 meters away, after a quick locking of eyes the deer steps off the path into the woods and Yalla continues to sniff a particularly interesting nettle leaf!

I think they've all just got noodles for brains!
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