Can you train a dog to find money? Yes it can. But that would be useless under normal circumstances. Most of the money found would be owned by third parties. Unless, of course, you were looking for buried treasure or relics. Remember that a dog can be trained to sniff out anything from drugs to weapons. For our article I have chosen something of great value, ginseng. Ginseng root sells, by the pound, more than any legal product that occurs to me at first glance. I remember my dad making over $ 1500.00 just for a little shoebox full of those things in the late seventies.
Hunting ginseng is not only a very lucrative hobby, but it is also a great exercise for both you and your dog. Personally, I love any excuse to walk in the woods.
So let’s get on with this great money making plan so you can get yours.
01. Find a good puppy.
A good sense of smell is probably not that important, since almost any dog has a tracker capable of locating ginseng. You would think that a hunting dog would be a good candidate, but this is not usually the case. A hunting dog, true to nature, could easily get distracted by hunting. It is important that the puppy you choose is friendly, intelligent and playful. These traits are more important than your sense of smell. All dogs have a keen sense of smell. Scent dogs think that their job is play. The more playful the puppy is, the better worker it will be. In my experience, females were always easier to train as they are not as stubborn or stubborn as males. Note: I would avoid any toy breeds or non-working dog breeds. Retrievers and certain shepherd and athletic dog breeds are your best bet. High-energy, nervous dogs like Jack Russell Terriers are a poor choice. Most dogs do not qualify because they generally have no interest in playing when mature, although they are used with great success at some airports. My beagle doesn’t play at all. Others do.
02. Have the puppy spayed or neutered.
Don’t lecture, but it is best for you if your dog is not interested in the other gender at the moment when you want to find ginseng.
03. The first thing to do is play with your puppy on a regular basis as soon as you can. His attention span will be short, so keep the game time short. But do it often. Play is the foundation of training. Training will focus on the game. Training will be the basis of the work. As a mature puppy, teach him some simple tricks. I would start training as soon as the puppy can walk steadily.
I guess the puppy knows to come when called. That is almost universal. To teach a puppy to sit up, command and hold a treat in front of him and, while lightly pressing on his butt, run the treat over his head to his back. She will automatically sit down when trying to see the treat. When the puppy achieves the goal, praise him as if he has done the best in the world. Remember not to try to train a puppy with complex tricks if he is too young to learn them. We want the training to be straightforward at the beginning. Always reinforce what the puppy has learned by doing each trick every day after your puppy masters it.
Immediately teach the puppy to shake hands. Have the puppy sit up and give the command as you lightly grasp the paw and go through the motions with it. Soon, the puppy will raise its paw automatically. When she does, reward her.
Note: Remember that puppies are like children. Physical punishment will ruin a good working dog. Puppies are also like people in that some learn faster than others and that dogs have individual personalities just like anyone else. Patience and consistency are the most important traits you can have. If training is not fun for the dog, you are doing it for too long or you have a bad attitude and the dog is sorry. Dogs can read people’s energy like a book. Even a puppy. Being petty will only counteract any productivity you may expect. The puppy should become your friend for life. If not, I beg you to forget this entire program. Money is not everything.
4. Finally we come to the critical part of the training.
Learning to play fetch. Most puppies pick up on this quickly. Especially retrievers and certain shepherd and athletic dog breeds. The object of the chase should be a tennis ball or any hollow ball that you can put ginseng root into. Go over all the exercises learned for puppies and then introduce the ball. Tease the puppy with him, but don’t overdo it. You want to maintain the confidence of the puppies. Throw the ball. When the puppy picks it up, give her a call. If the puppy refuses to come near you, turn him over and go. Puppies hate that and she will probably run after you because you might stop playing. If you have the ball, take it out of your mouth and repeat the game. NEVER go for the ball if the dog drops it. Just walk away. If you bring the ball for the dog, you have given him control of the game. You cannot afford this. Just walk away and try again at the next session. This is where patience is paramount. This is where the type of dog you have becomes apparent. This may or may not take longer than the other exercises you teach your dog.
Now play the guessing game. This exercise emphasizes the importance of aroma. Put your hands behind your back with a piece of ginseng in one hand. Present your fists. Excitedly ask the puppy where it is. When the dog sniffs your hand with the ginseng on it, praise him to heaven. At this point, it’s okay if you’re wrong. You are simply teaching the dog the importance of the correct smell. If you sniff the wrong hand, keep quiet and wait until you sniff the right hand. It is important that you maintain a poker face and do not give visual clues as to where the ginseng is. And keep it friendly.
5. Later, when he has mastered the guessing game, command him to sit down when he chooses the correct hand and praise him. We want it to feel like an indication that you have found ginseng. We want this answer to ginseng in all future exercises.
6. At this point, we hide the ginseng in one of three identical containers. Put them in a row in front of her and play the guessing game. When this is mastered, separate the containers further by moving the ginseng to a different container each time you play. Do this until the containers can be hidden anywhere in the room and the dog can find them. Don’t rush this process. It’s exciting, but you don’t want to jeopardize your progress right now. If the dog makes mistakes, slow down the pace or shorten the training periods until it succeeds. You may have to backtrack your training a bit.
7. Another game involves the hollow ball.
Cut a tennis ball or any hollow ball and put some ginseng in it. Throw the ball in full view of the dog and let it into a bush, under or behind any obstacle within reason and let it find it.
8. For this exercise, hide the ginseng piece in the open air but out of sight. Tall grass works well. With the dog on a leash, go with her while she searches for the ginseng.
9. Over time, hide the ginseng by covering it with soil and let her find it.
10. Lastly, dig a shallow hole and let it find the ginseng. Be patient. Every once in a while, take it to places where you know ginseng is and see if you can find it. At first take it literally straight to the ginseng. At least five or ten feet from her. Then take her where she is farther away until she’s ready to go out with you and find that money.
It may be best for the dog to bark when it sits down, in case it gets out of sight when it finds the ginseng. I personally have trouble teaching a dog to “talk”. Some races are more vocal than others. This is where many bird dogs fail and other breeds excel.
Use only the smallest amount to train your dog. These things are expensive. You can get by with commercial ginseng, but I’ve never tried it. This program can be modified to meet your needs and those of the puppies. A different approach may work better for your dog. Always make it fun. If you or your puppy are frustrated or tired, take a break or leave the session. Never scold the dog for training or hunting mistakes. Try to isolate the cause and eliminate the problem.
Remember to spay or neuter your pet. It is good for its purpose here. I have found that the more pets you have, the less appreciated pets become. Ginseng buyers can be found on the Internet. We used to sell to Hamilton Bros. in Canada. I’m not sure if they are already in business. Usually there are local brokers who take care of it, but you won’t get as much for it. In West Virginia, at least, ginseng has a legal hunting season. You’d better check the laws in your state before you go hunting. Ginseng must be air dried before being sold.
Some dishonest people put lead in ginseng root to make it heavier. Do not try. They will catch you if you do.