How to Train a Deer Hunting Dog

Deer Sniffing Tracking Hunting Dog

Have you been successful in training your dog to hunt deer? If not, I completely understand your pain. From dealing with looking for a proper diet for your dog to seeking new skills and techniques to make your dog successful at hunting deer.

This topic is important because there are so many people in the world today that struggle with finding new and innovative ways to train their dog to hunt deer.

I believe that this guide will make your training more efficient and effective. In this guide, we will go over the steps which will make you more efficient and successful in training your deer hunting dog. Hopefully, this article will be beneficial to you and give you the necessary skills to become successful.

This article will teach you how to train a deer hunting dog in 5 easy steps:

  1. Choose the Breed and Type of Dog
  2. Pick the Right Diet for Your Hunting Dog
  3. Train Your Dog to Track Deer Scent
  4. Choose the Location for Hunting with Your Dog
  5. Reward Your Deer Hunting Dog

How to Train a Deer Hunting Dog

Choose the Breed and Type of Dog

Below, I will go over the top 5 dog breeds suitable for deer hunting. Here is a video on how to choose a hunting dog: ​

Labrador Retriever: Labrador Retrievers are born hunters. The majority of Labradors are already consumed with ambition, enthusiasm, and drive which makes them effective at hunting.

Golden Retriever: The Golden Retriever, much like the Labrador Retriever, is a very versatile dog and has been used as a hunting dog for quite some time.

Beagle: Beagles are great hunters because of their strong scent and smell capabilities which is crucial for hunting.

American Foxhound: Similar to the Beagle, the American Foxhound has a great sense of smell which makes this breed great for hunting.

English Springer Spaniel: The English Springer Spaniel is the type of dog that can work long days in the field. They weigh about 40 to 50 pounds on average which makes them the perfect hunting breed.

You can also consult with other hunters to get their input on why they chose that specific dog breed.

Pick the Right Diet for Your Hunting Dog

When seeking the right diet, you want to look for food that will make them last in the field. The best foods will provide them with high proteins, minerals, and essential vitamins to give them energy while hunting.

Feeding your hunting dog high quality and free of preservatives food is very important. You want to pick the dog food that includes multiple meat protein options. Beef, fish, and chicken are all top meats to include in a quality diet. High protein foods will provide the dog with longevity while hunting.

Some of the best dog foods for hunting:

  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness.
  • Solid Gold High Protein Dry Dog Food.
  • Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Premium Dry Dog Food.
  • Purina Pro Plan SPORT Formula.
  • Orijen Original.

You should research each specific brand, observe the pros and cons of each, and make your decision. Additionally, seeking out a fellow hunter will provide insight on which brands are the best and which you should avoid.

Train Your Dog to Track Deer Scent

A dog’s sense of smell is much more complex and advanced than that of a human which makes them great hunters. An effective way to train your dog to become familiar with the scent of a deer is to scatter blood droplets from a wounded deer across the ground away from the dog’s sight and see if he can find out where the source is.

Once this activity is done frequently enough, the dog should be successful in picking up the deer’s scent. The best and most effective time to scent train a dog is when it is three to six months old.

Here is a video link by ‘Dog Training by on how to train your dog to find any scent.

Choose the Location for Hunting with Your Dog

When hunting with a dog, you want to choose the perfect location so conducting research beforehand is essential. Use a budget spotting scope to find the right area. You want to avoid locations with dense brush and swampy areas.

These areas are hard to hunt in as the deer would hear you and flee the area.

A hunter dog with a killed deer
A hunter dog with a killed deer. Image Source:

Reward Your Deer Hunting Dog

Rewarding your dog is important but knowing when to reward them is essential. The majority of trainers like to use a method known as positive reinforcement which is said to be one of the easiest ways to train a dog for hunting.

There are many ways to reward your deer hunting dog such as using treats and/or games. Food and treat rewards tend to be the most popular. They are fast and efficient and a fantastic way to praise your dog for their good behavior and/or their newly learned deer hunting technique.

Here is a video by ‘Dog Training by’ on using positive reinforcement to train your dog.

This is perfect when you want your dog to learn and repeat a certain behavior quickly. The second most effective way to reward your dog is through games. I have used this method when training my own dog.

For example, when your dog does an action that you like, initiate a game that they enjoy such as ‘fetch’ or ‘tug-of-war’. This is a very fun yet effective way to reinforce your dog’s training.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial on How to Train a Deer Hunting Dog. From conducting research on a specific diet to choosing the right dog breed for your hunting experience, each step is equally important. I hope that this tutorial provided you with the necessary skills and resources to make your dog training experience more efficient.

References and Further Reading

Last Updated on January 4, 2024 by Marty Prokop