Can you imagine finding 6 sheds in 15 minutes? This lab can, and does it in national competitions, earning her the title of world champion.
Meet DeeDee, the 10-year-old black lab and world champion shed hunting dog from New Hampshire. DeeDee has been hunting sheds since she was two, when owner Parker Ulhman sent her to North Carolina for training. Boy, has she has found some monster horns in her time. Just recently, the pair found three sheds, one of which is huge (pictured above). Ulhman thinks it could even be a record-setter.
With 30 years of shed hunting experience under his belt, it’s no surprise that Ulhman competes nationally in the sport. Let’s be honest – it is a sport! It takes skill, patience, and at least some degree of physical stamina. I once walked six miles (according to my handy fitness tracker) through the woods looking for sheds and came up empty handed. That might not sound like a lot, but factor in the hills and thick brush you have to push your way through, making sure you don’t face plant, these are painstakingly slow miles. Well, training a dog to help you hunt for sheds will make it a bit easier.
“It used to take eight hours for me to find a shed,” Ulhman said. Now he can find one with DeeDee’s help in an average of two hours in New Hampshire’s woods.
Shed dogs are trained just like any other type of tracking dog – the hunt is based on scent. And it isn’t limited to labs, of course. You can train just about any breed to hunt, save maybe a chihuahua or dachshund. (Little dog + big shed = you might just want to do the work yourself.)
All types of dogs compete in these championships, which are hosted by the North American Shed Hunting Dog Association. Sheds are hidden in a designated area, and the dogs have 15 minutes to find six of them. They receive 50 points for each shed they find, and 50 points for delivering it to their handler. Whatever time is left in the 15 minutes is also added to the score.
If the horn is too heavy for DeeDee to pick up, she will alert Ulhman with “yips and has other signals.”
That’s right, DeeDee finds sheds so large that she cannot carry them back to her owner. That’s a nice problem to have, huh?
I can’t wait to see what DeeDee finds next!