A good hunting dog is worth his weight in gold. Puppies also face a world of excitement, fun, growth, and intimidation in the first few months of their lives.
So teaching a pup to avoid bad habits while at the same time instilling obedience basics will make sure that your new hunting partner realizes his full potential.
While sending your dog to a professional dog trainer is always an option, it’s quite a costly one at that. The good news is that by forming a good relationship with your pup and setting down reasonable’s requirements, you will soon have a hunting partner of note.
In the following article, we’re going to discuss some of the best ways to train your dog to become a worthy hunting partner.
Doing the training yourself or hire a dedicated dog trainer
Bringing a new pup to your home is not just an exciting time for you, but fr your new pup as well. After all, this little dog is your new best friend. So lots of new puppy owners can’t wait to snuggle together on the couch, go for sunny walks, and also play fetch.
However, there comes a time when reality sets in, and you are frantically trying to prevent your overly eager pup from chewing everything in sight, peeing all over your home, and jumping on every human they come into contact with.
If you’re like most owners, you realize that dog training is an absolute must.
So should you do the training yourself, or should you hire a professional dog trainer? Well, as with everything in life, there are pros and cons to each decision. So let’s take a closer look at those.
One of the benefits of training a dog on your own is that it’s a great way to establish a relationship between you and your puppy. It’s also more cost-effective than hiring a dog trainer.
On the downside, though, dog training is costly. You need lots of time, patience and of course the required knowledge. While some individuals are up for this commitment, some people prefer to opt for professional training, especially if they have tried to train their dogs in the past and have failed.
Opting for professional dog training means that you can often find programs that guarantee that your dog will be able to master a particular set of skills.
In addition to this, you can also make sure that the professional has the most up-to-date training, knowledge, and skills to make sure your dog’s experience is a happy and effective one.
On the downside, the biggest drawback of hiring professional training is the exorbitant cost. It definitely will be more expensive than it would be to train your dog on your own; however, some dog owners are of the opinion that it is well worth the investment.
Best hunting dog breeds for beginners
In general, the most common hunting dogs are usually gun dogs or scent hounds. But ultimately, what you plan to hunt should determine the type of dog you get. In order for the dog to be good at hunting, they need to have strong prey drive, endurance, and receptiveness to training.
So the closer your bond with your dog, the better hunting partner that he will become. Here are a few dog breeds that make excellent hunting dogs.
One of the most popular dogs around is Labrador retrievers. They are energetic, enthusiastic, and loyal breeds that can withstand cold temperatures and swim well in cold water.
They’re considered best for duck hunting, though, and when not on the hunt, they also make excellent family dogs and companions.
Beagles are scent hounds that have amazing noses and loud voices. They are primarily used for hunting small game-like rabbits. They also make excellent companions for various households.
If you are interested in a similar breed that also has good characteristics for a hunting dog, consider the Harrier as well.
Golden Retrievers are a similar breed to labradors, and these golden retrievers are gun dogs and excellent at hunting birds and other small prey.
They are enthusiastic, very trainable, and loyal as well. This is why they make wonderful family companions and have a reputation for getting along well with children.
This is a scent hound full of determination. They thrive on the chase and are also referred to as English Foxhounds.
The bleed was first used for hunting foxes. Over time, they were used for hunting deer. They are still known as excellent deer and fox hunters.
It is also sometimes referred to as English pointers, and they are bird dogs with a high prey drive. These determined and spirited dogs will pursue prey like pheasants and quail relentlessly. They are also resistant to heat and suited for hot and humid conditions.
Irrespective of whether they are on the hunt or couch, they make excellent companions. Similar breeds include German Wirehaired Pointers and German shorthair pointers.
When to start with hunting training?
If you are planning to start hunting training, but you’re not sure exactly when to begin, then as a guideline, you should begin when your puppy is approximately two months.
Age 2 to 4 months
At this stage, you should acquaint your dog with people, places, doctoring, grooming, and of course, vaccinations, as well as other friendly dogs.
So this is the time to start training, housebreaking, and teaching your dog to respond to his name and the meaning off of “no.” You should also introduce them to mild exercise only as his joints’ growth plates are still not ready for sustained running or jumping.
So feel free to acquaint your dog with a leash and collar, but no yanking, and get more co-operation with praise than punishment.
Age 5 to 7 months
From the age of 5 to 7 months, obedience is the priority. So get your dog to come when called and yield to a leash as these are the first orders of business.
If your pup is bold, then feel free to let them explore the field on a check cord, learning the windshield–wiper movements you want them to know in the field.
Introducing dead birds during this stage will also kindle your dog’s prey drive. Triumph, and if you can keep up, you might check-cord your dog into the scent cone of hard flushing live birds.
Age 8 to 11 months
This is where you introduce the electronic training cord and use it only when you are certain that your dog fully understands the commands.
Pointing instincts are becoming prominent now, and retrievers and versatile dogs should bring back achieving bumpers at least most of the day. If they are properly introduced to guns, take your pup hunting for short stints.
Age 12 to 16 months
At this stage, a dog is an adolescent and should have most of the obedience commands down. Pointers should stand a bird until it flies, and ultimately dog training is a lifetime devotion.
It’s also fun, involves lots of effort, headaches, and heartaches. It is a series of baby steps, quantum leaps, regression, and plateaus. But when he points his first ringneck, you’ll know it is worth it.
Is it too late to train my dog to hunt?
Dog training ideally starts from the day you bring your new puppy home. This is when it’s easiest to show him great behavior and skills right at the beginning.
The less a dog rehearses unwanted behaviors such as jumping up on people, running away on walks, and leash pulling, the less time you have to spend on training and retraining that behavior.
However, what do you do when the time has passed, and you have an adult dog? Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
There are many reasons why you may not have trained your dog. However, irrespective of the reason, it is never too late to start.
Lots of dogs actually older than one year can begin hunting training. In fact, dogs as old as 8 to 10 years have undergone training. In some cases, dogs are trained as puppies and, years later, experience issues such as the reactivity that sets in later on in life.
They may also have difficulties in getting along with other dogs or have potty accidents. So the answer to this question is that it is never too late to train your dog.
How long does it take to train a hunting dog?
Basic hunting dog training is approximately four months.
In those four months, the dog should be obedience trained, taught to quarter in the field, work to the whistle, be force broken, and also lay sturdy at a duck blind. This is a basic gun dog training course.
Can a hunting dog be a family pet?
Dogs have been faithful and loyal hunters as well as trusted partners and companions to people for thousands of years. Irrespective of the kind of game you are hunting, you can find a breed of dog that is perfectly suited to the task.
As a bonus, traditional hunting breeds also tend to make great family dogs due to their intelligence, sociability as well as loyalty. However, they were not bred to be couch potatoes, so ensure that they get their daily dose of exercise.
Training your pooch to be a hunting dog will indeed cost a lot of time, energy, and persistence. However, at the end of the day, when you have your loyal and competent hunting partner at your side, it will all be worth your while.
So just remember that training starts the first day you bring your puppy into your home, and ultimately, it’s never too late to train your dog irrespective of how he is.
There’s also no rule stating that you can’t have fun with your pooch while training him. This will also help take the edge off and make the experience something to look forward to.