Fury is part of the anti-poaching canine unit based in the Limpopo National Park. A mixed-breed dog, he is 75% bloodhound and 25% Doberman, and is the only on-leash tracking dog in the pack. This means he is kept on the leash as he follows the trail of a poacher.
What is remarkable about Fury is that he can detect scents up to 24 hours old, so even if a poacher trail is picked up after a day, he is still able to follow the track. And he has great stamina too, able to travel up to 20km in one stretch.
Long or tracking leashes are primarily used by cynologists (people who study dogs) when training dogs. It helps to navigate the dog, to train it in recall commands and to fetch. It can also help to shift bad habits a dog may have picked up, like jumping and chasing anything that moves, or heading off to pick up a tasty morsel it has spotted.
Here, Gabriel holds the long lead loosely, so that Fury does not feel a pull on the collar. It is very important that the dog feels unrestricted, free to move. However, such a long lead, can get tangled up in bushes at night so you can see Gabriel running along behind Fury. This is demanding work for dog and trainer alike.
An experienced dog handler, Gabriel has worked with Fury since he was a pup. The dogs begin training from birth and learn how to handle all the pressures of real operations before beginning to work at 18 months old. That is when they begin to learn how to track, bay at a person in a tree and follow basic obedience rules.
If you want to see more of Fury and the rest of the canine team in action, keep watching PeaceParksTV.com.