Training Tips For Hunting Season
By: Marty Roberts of Sporting Life Kennels
After lounging around all summer, many hunters are starting to get the itch for the upcoming season. For those hunters with retrievers, getting your dog ready should start as soon as possible. And here are some great tips to get those juices flowing for both you and your best buddy.
Here are some rules to follow early on when you get back to training.
1. Remember to start slow, as many of these pups have had an easy summer and must get back into shape, still, be aware of the heat as you get back out training. Fall isn’t here yet. You must remember for early geese and doves that the heat is still a factor. So be careful in hot conditions. I would train as early in the morning and late in the day as possible until the temperatures drop.
2. I like to begin with lots of water work as it can get them back in shape quickly and it’s easy on the body.
3. One of my favorite things to do is working on steadiness with a single dog or pup and then slowly incorporate other dogs into the mix to work on honoring. I love to work delayed retrieves as well as denials (meaning you walk out and pick up the bumper or bird instead of sending the dog) this can work wonders especially if you train alone. This is good to do just in your back yard. However, you need to get out and train in as many places as you can before the season because dogs can be place-specific – meaning, they may be perfect in the backyard but may lose it when worked in other places, especially when gunfire is introduced.
4. If possible, try to simulate actual hunts – use decoys, dog stands, duck calls, spinning wing decoys, etc. The more of this the better.
5. Finally – “Slow Is Fast” when training your pup, especially when you are just getting started. I’d start back with obedience and move forward as they progress. Just like humans, they get out of shape and also have to be reminded of learned skills that may have been lacking in the last few months.