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Should You Hire a Professional or Train a Gun Dog Yourself? Pros and Cons

By    |   Friday, 23 Oct 2015 06:52 PM

Training your gun dog to hunt isn’t like a DIY project on your home that can be cheaply fixed; you spend quite a bit on a pedigreed hunting dog, and once you train the dog it’s hard to break bad habits.

So, do you train it yourself or hire a pro?

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Well-known bird-hunting dog trainer Robert Wehle wrote in his book "Wing & Shot," "The actual mechanics of training are quite simple. The difficult and important part is how the mechanics are carried out and what you have left when the job is done."

If you study up on good hunting dog traits, such as obedience and stamina, you can teach the basics with step-by-step instructions from online courses and from books and videos. You may even be able to hook up with other novices and have group training sessions.

But can you instill the right traits in your dog by yourself?

Ducks Unlimited says obedience is the most important trait in a good hunting companion and points out that if a dog trains to run and fetch every bird that falls out of the sky without restraint, it later runs into problems when it doesn’t listen to a halt command — and then is punished for doing what you trained it to do.

They also point out that the dog needs to come on command, and to heel and sit without hesitation as well.

These are basics that any trainer can accomplish if they approach the lessons in the right way.

What can go wrong? In trying to teach a dog restraint you may teach it to resent your command. What if in teaching it to be tolerant of gunfire you frighten it so badly it becomes gun shy?

Perhaps hiring a professional trainer is the key to success.

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If your dog has a chronic problem, or if you want to have the pup started from a young age and tuned to perfection, you may want to look for a professional trainer, according to Field & Stream.

What is essential to all these situations is being clear about what you expect from a trainer.

Once you have a list of behaviors you want your dog to have, begin shopping for a trainer. A lot of times you will need to match the trainer to the breed of dog, as no two breeds are identical in temperament or talent.

Remember professional training isn’t cheap, either. It can run from $400 to $800 a month or more, but perhaps that is worth it if you are spending $1,000 or more on your dog and intend to be hip-deep in the field.

Also keep in mind that training never really stops, and in the end it falls upon you, the owner, to continue to bond with the dog and to keep its skills tuned.

Deciding to train your pup yourself vs. hiring a pro really depends on your time, finances, and desire for a finished hunting companion.

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Training your gun dog to hunt isn't like a DIY project on your home that can be cheaply fixed; you spend quite a bit on a pedigreed hunting dog, and once you train the dog it's hard to break bad habits. So, do you train it yourself or hire a pro?
gun, dog, training, professional, pros and cons
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2015-52-23
Friday, 23 Oct 2015 06:52 PM
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