Squirrel Hunting With Dogs: A Guide to Everything You Need to Know

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The abundance of squirrels from Maine to Mississippi, Kentucky to California, yields plenty of seasonal hunting opportunities. However, some people don’t understand the idea of hunting rodents, and you never know what reaction you’re going to get. It is literally like bringing up politics at a dinner table. Those who aren’t familiar with squirrel dogs will give you funny looks when you mention hunting bushtails with dogs.

But how do you find a squirrel dog? Choosing a good squirrel hunting dog is as easy as selecting a pet and a hunting ground, but if you look around, you will find a dizzying range of opinions. You will no doubt hear of gigantic dogs that have become legends over time, but even within a breed, not every dog has what it takes. Most exceptional squirrel dogs come from races that have earned the respect of their owners as the best hunting dogs.

Remember that nature and genetics mean that you can get your dog from a reputable breeder and still meet a dog that is a beautiful companion. So, choose your breeder carefully, know your preferred bushtail hunting style and make sure you have time to train it properly. In other words, much depends on the breed of dog, size, and temperament.

Can Any Dog Be a Squirrel Dog?

Your dog can’t hunt squirrels if it can’t get out of the house. Take him into the forest, even if it is only for a few hours or even a day or two until he begins to understand how to hurt. According to the President of the American Treeing Feist Association (ATFA), good genetics and proper training are both necessary for producing a worthy feist.

How Much Does a Well-Trained Squirrel Dog Cost?

A well-trained squirrel hound, depending on genetics, costs between US$700 and $1,500. You should also plan to spend $800 to $2,000 a year on dog food, housing, training, and care.

Why Is the Mountain Cur the Most Popular Squirrel Dog?

The Mountain Cur is by far the most common and popular squirrel dog in the United States because it is resilient and loves outdoors. Curs can quickly adapt to any form of climate and environment, making it the perfect canine for hunting.

Are Poodles Good Squirrel Hunting Dogs?

Though Poodles may be associated with dog shows, they initially came from Europe. They are energetic, alert, and confident and have the right anatomy for hunting. But are Poodles squirrel hunting dogs in reality? 

Poodles were originally hunting dogs. In fact, Standard Poodles are excellent hunting companions. Toy and Miniature-sized Poodles, though, aren’t that good at hunting or recovery.

Do Dachshunds and Beagles Still Make Good Squirrel Hunting Dogs?

Dachshunds and Beagles are excellent squirrel hunting dogs. These famous breeds nowadays are common companion dogs with good instincts for hunting. Dachshunds and Beagles come in two types. For example, Regular Dachshunds are more significant than Miniature Dachshunds. 

Beagles are also available in two varieties – Pocket Beagle and a more significant Beagle. Miniature Dachshunds are more common in cities where it is easier to keep a smaller dog, like Pocket Beagles. On the other hand, Beagles and Regular Dachshunds are more suited for the suburbs or the rural environments.

What Do Squirrel Hunting Dogs Eat?

Hunting dogs do not eat their quarry. A good retriever can gently return the squirrel to its hunting companion without further damage. 

Good food for dogs may be dry or wet, but talk to your veterinarian to make sure that your pet gets the nourishment it needs. Highly active hunting dogs, such as the Mountain Cur and the Beagles, need a lot of protein-high foods to provide them with energy after a long day in the field.

How Important Is a Squirrel Dog With a Good Nose?

Many dog owners are proud of their canine’s ability to hunt squirrels, but some are unaware of the importance of a good nose in hunting. The truth is that every dog has a strong sense of smell, and a hound with a good nose can find a squirrel in many different places, even in the remotest parts of the country.

You will probably have a hunting partner with the best nose if you choose a respected breeder, but whether your dog becomes a superstar sniffer depends on a combination of training and the individual dog. Other qualities are more crucial, including what the dog can offer over long distances and keeping a fixed point while the hunter is in place.

Can an Intelligent Squirrel Dog Correct Its Mistakes?

Intelligence and eagerness to learn are the essential characteristics of a large hunting dog not only for the hunter but also for his hound. For the hunter, intelligence is described as the dog’s ability to figure things out and remember. You can’t teach a dog to learn through experience, but this trait is invaluable.

Having an intelligent dog, such as the Doberman Pinscher, is not always easy for the hunter’s ego, but almost everyone who has worked with large hunting dogs has had one or more instances where his dog has outwitted him and done the job while trying to tell him to do something else.

Does Your Hunting Dog Have Style?

Style refers to whether a breed is trainable or how well a dog will do what is asked of him. Many dogs can be fixed easily. For instance, the Golden Retrievers and the Labs are renowned for being easy to train. Brittany, Springer, and German Shorthair also score highly in this area. Furthermore, some dogs are very tense and need a firm hand. 

One of the easiest ways to miss a return call to a hunt is to get your dog to chase all squirrels out of a 100 yards gun range on the other side of a cut stubble area. However, other dogs, like the Labrador Retrievers, prefer a more formal screaming style. 

Whatever breed you chose as your local companion, the secret is to bond with your dog and spend time in his training. 

Is it Important to Talk to Your Squirrel Hunting Dog?

For a successful hunting experience, you’ll need to speak its lingo and understand words and phrases like: 

  • Has the Flesh: The squirrel is in the tree.
  • Bark Treed: The bark made by a dog if he thinks he has the squirrel hidden on the tree. 
  • Timbering: Squirrel dog talks for a squirrel that races across the trees.
  • Toenailed: If a dog gets his forelegs on the tree bark, and the squirrel is pinned up.
  • Range: The space a dog keeps from the hunter during pursuit of a squirrel.

Besides that, learn the breeds. Squirrel dogs are perhaps more diverse than any other hunting group. Few farm dogs, like the German Shepherd and the Border Collie, will make good squirrel dogs.

How Do I Stimulate My Hunting Dog?

Hunting and working on the field are the perfect ways to relax your dog. If you can’t get to the field as much as you want, keeping your pet off-leash closer to home is the right choice. Regardless of the nature of your hound, keeping it active and occupied, avoids disruptive behavior. 

It should be evident that picking a squirrel hunting dog needs consistency as to how long and how much time you are putting into training. In the backyard or the field in the offseason, time spent together will pay off better.  

Wrapping Up

There’s no best squirrel hunting dog, and one feature isn’t more critical than the others. Some breeds need more practice but can produce impressive results. Many breeds can provide a high level of skill with little effort. What are you interested in? Would you like a dog everyone will applaud, or would you prefer a pet dog, who would not trouble you on your regular squirrel chasing trip?

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