Training Airedales Article-Tips out of "Recreation Magazine" 1916
By Felix J. Kerr
THE complaint that the Airedale is over-rated as a big-game dog will usually be found attributable to two things, the dogs were not bred from hunting stock, and no training. I have not had experience training or hunting dogs on such game as cougars or bears, but I have found the Airedale, when properly bred and handled, as good a 'coon dog as I ever have had.
On the other hand, perhaps one out of every two kennel-bred Eastern Airedales isn't worth his keep as a hunting animal, and can't be improved. Get a good, upstanding, alert, aggressive puppy from hunting stock—dogs that have not been kept on chain all their lives or carried around in automobiles, but that have been let run and have been hunted in season—and you have something to start with.
Give this puppy plenty of freedom, give him practice in trailing by making him hunt his meals, which you hide from him, let him chase cats, don't be backward about letting him mix in with other dogs, take him afield all you can, let him run his head off after crows and rabbits, and take him out in the fields at night. When you start hunting him in earnest, take him out with an older dog that is a hunter, and see to it that he has had a meat diet and is not overfed or coddled.
What Mr Kerr wrote 100 years ago still rings true today especially about acquiring properly bred Airedales if one is serious about hunting them. His quote "kennel-bred eastern Airedales isn't worth his keep as a hunting animal, and can't be improved" is even more important today.
I keep harping on these facts that one can not produce high performing hunting dogs of any breed if they are breeding for show or pets but are yet not constantly testing their breeding stock in the field on game. Then and only then using only their top performers who actually put game in the bag for breeding and continuing doing this testing every generation after generation after generation. The end result goal is to gain constant improvement no matter how small it is to your dogs, this aspect of breeding hunting dogs can never be stopped because it takes only one bad mating to bring down and possibly ruin a line.