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Gun Dog Breeders' Fitness Tips for Keeping a Brittany in Shape for Hunting Season

By    |   Tuesday, 27 October 2015 07:20 PM

As hunting season ends and off-season has the couch beckoning, it may be a good idea to look for fitness opportunities for your Brittany gun dog.

Brittanys are high-action dogs who love to run, chase, and play, which is perfect during hunting season. But owners can't forget about exercise once hunting season ends. Your dog needs to stay in shape and keep his skills sharp.

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Here are a few tips that will keep your Brittany in hunt-ready shape during the offseason:

1. Hiking is good for your dog and for you. It burns calories and builds muscle. Biking, with him running alongside you, and running also are activities that build endurance and lung capacity, while giving the dog and its handler a cardiovascular workout.

2. Playing games with your Brittany will stimulate him mentally and keep his mind in top shape for the hunt. Traditional dog games such as fetch not only entertain the dog and continue to encourage bonding with you, but they also can reinforce the retrieving skills a bird dog must maintain. Playing fetch in water is also good for your dog: As it retreives the toy, it's getting a cardio workout that's low-impact on the joints.

3. Consider cutting back on your dog's food. He may not need as much if he's not getting as much exercise as he would during hunting season. Check the serving information on your Brittany's food and talk to your vet before doing anything drastic.

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4. Ramp it up before the season begins. Gun Dog magazine suggests a 30-day conditioning regimen starting the month prior to hunting season. What you want is a low-impact cardio workout during which the dog does not have to run on pavement. Once you begin conditioning, start with short sessions and work up into longer exercises. When designing a workout schedule, match your dog’s skills with the workout. Do you do mostly water-related hunting? Then swim him. Do you do upland birding? Then run him. Also keep in mind your dog’s age. Younger ones condition faster than older dogs. Adjust the workout intensity accordingly.

It is important to remember that hunting dogs need conditioning much like human athletes require. If you allow your dog to get out of shape, you increase the risk that he injures himself when he goes from cold to hot at the opening bell.

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As hunting season ends and off-season has the couch beckoning, it may be a good idea to look for fitness opportunities for your Brittany gun dog.
gun dog, breeder, brittany, fitness, tips
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 07:20 PM
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