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Gun Dogs: 8 Training Tips to a Successful Canine Companion in the Field

By    |   Friday, 23 Oct 2015 05:49 PM

Before heading to the water with your waterfowl hunting dog, or a field for the upland birds, there are several skills a successful canine companion must have in the field. When it comes to gun dog training, here are eight tips on how to make your dog a successful hunting companion:

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1. Obedience
A hunting dog must be obedient. Ducks.org said the biggest deficiency in a hunting dog’s training program is emphasis on the dog’s obedience and steadiness under pressure. When dogs are encouraged to retrieve every bird as it falls, they are harder to control when you later want them to hold back, and they end up being punished for doing what they’ve been trained to do. So, train them to retrieve on command, and to hold steady on command, and not to dash willy-nilly for the fallen bird.

2. "Come!" Command
Returning to the hunter on command is extremely important. The dog should come when called without hesitation, then to heel and sit, even when there is a lot of distraction.

3. "Heel!" Command
Teach the dog to heel on a leash close to your leg. His head should be at your thigh, then turn to the left in circles, keeping him close-in. After he learns to stay close in that direction, begin making right-turns using the command "heel" and "sit."

4. "Whoa!" Command
Teach your dog to respond to the “whoa” command, this will help him control his impulse to chase after the bird. If he is trained to heel and to stay, he will be developing his scent skills and his self-control skills at the same time. Once he figures out he isn’t supposed to catch the bird all the time, he will be of more value.

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5. No Shock Collar
Do not rely on electric shock collars. If you can’t train your dog without using pain as an incentive to do well, you probably shouldn’t be handling animals.

6. Genetics
Do not select a dog that has the genetic tendency to be hyperactive. Calm retrievers make better hunting dogs, says Ducks.org.

7. "Stay!" Command
Hunting dogs need to know the “stay” command and respect it. Field & Stream points out that a good hunting dog must be able to take stay commands from a good distance away from its handler, and should be willing to stay still in less than comfortable situations. They suggest using a backyard training tool in the form of a platform and lead the dog by leash to it and teach it to stay by saying “place” and treat the dog when it obeys. Repeat this as needed.

8. Exercise
Keep your dogs in shape. In order to be able to retrieve and stay with the hunt, they dog must have some endurance. Make exercise fun. Start with jogging or running and short swims to retrieve things you throw into the water, and then work up to longer swimming carrying a decoy or ball or something the animal enjoys. Reward good behavior with a treat.

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Before heading to the water with your waterfowl hunting dog, or a field for the upland birds, there are several skills a successful canine companion must have in the field. When it comes to gun dog training, here are eight tips on how to make your dog a successful hunting companion.
gun, dog, training, tips
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2015-49-23
Friday, 23 Oct 2015 05:49 PM
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