Everyone has probably heard the statement “my six month old dog picked up six birds this year!” or “my eight month old dog started out great this year, but now he/ she isn’t getting into the water and seems shaky around guns.” This is quite common. Hunting young pups always turns into too much of a good thing when it is all at once. Without proper training programs completed, there are too many issues you can create by hunting your dog at such an early age.
Never jeopardize the training of your hunting partner by thinking you have to get them in the field early. Below are just a few of the components you will want to make sure your dog has seen before taking him/her into the field on a true hunt:
1. Make sure the young prospect has completed a training program that is thorough. One that has covered all aspects of the skills required for a well-rounded hunting dog. For example, gunfire, birds, elements and environment.
2. Make sure you expose them to gunfire in proper manner. Do this by exposing your dog to the sound of the gun at a proper distance, then slowly get closer to the dog. Is he ok with the sound? It is best to use smaller gauge guns and move up to the 12 bores. It is also better to introduce retrieves when you practice this to associate it with the gunfire.
3. Make sure you expose them to different types/sizes of birds. For example, dove, pigeon, small ducks and then move up to the larger birds, like mallards and geese. Including this training technique will help insure that your dog will pick them up when you carry him/her on a hunt in the fields.
There are a ton of things that can discourage a young dog from ever hunting again. You will want to make sure you are not exposing them to these incorrect techniques. Here are a few situations that you will want to make sure you’re not exposing your dog to, because it will create problems for you on down the road:
1. Cold water is bad for young pups. However; as the dog gets older, their coat will become more resistant with more oils and a thicker undercoat which will help them battle this element. So remember too much cold without the proper introduction is a bad thing.
2. Boats/boat motors can spook young dogs that have never been for a ride. Before hitting the water for your first hunt try loading your dog in and out of the boat several times without the motor running. You can also try taking the young dog to a public boat launch and let them watch boats and hear the boat motors running. Now, you are ready to take them for a ride.
3. Different types of hunting blinds can be uncomfortable for them and cause them stress.
Before trying to hunt your dog in any type of blind you should at least introduce him/her to these blinds. From dog huts, sled blinds, pit blinds, to tree stands for timber hunting, it is always better to train the dog first before trying to hunt the young dog from these areas. This way they become familiar with them before being put into a situation that could become very stressful for them.
The right way to prepare your dog for its first hunt is to expose them to the different elements before taking them out into the field. This way if any problems are identified they are done so in a controlled situation allowing you to work on them and correct them before they become a lifelong issue for your dog. If you are having any problems with your dog that you would like some advice or help with just drop us an email or check us out on Facebook and maybe we can help you out. www.britishgundogs.com