Training A Bird Dog (Part One)

By uvengwa, Feb 6, 2014 | |
  1. uvengwa
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    Having a hunting dog at your side can make your fowler experience more convenient for your hunting campaigns in Ohio. Sometimes you\'ll get a bird that was shot out of the air, and you may not where it landed, which is why having a dog at your side can come in handy. If you\'re thinking about getting a bird dog, consider the Pointer and Setter breeds. These dogs will not only help you retrieve any birds, but they will also help in \"pointing\" you in the right direction. If getting from a local breeder, make sure you have all knowledge of previous health problems, any genetic testing, or to see if the animal has behavioral problems. And even though Pointers and Setters have been predisposed to hunting bird, not all individual pups display these tendencies.

    Commands

    The first thing you need to do is have your dog obey commands. Commands will be crucial if you need the dog to stop while fetching a bird, and to have them come back to you. Obeying is the most important part of training them, and you need to establish yourself as the alpha male. Your dog needs to respect and look up to you, so it will be inspired you gain your approval and trust. You\'ll need the basic things like whistles and dummies, but also be sure to have plenty of toys. You want to associate training with fun and playtime, not a mundane daily exercise.

    When it comes to commands, you\'ll want to teach them the basics, such as drop and stay. There are variety of ways to do this, and there is no right or wrong method. You can use treats to aid you in your training. Take your untrained dog with you on hunts, so it can get used to the process, and it will also familiarize them to the sound of gunfire. Also, this will be a good idea if you are trying to get your dog accustomed to the cold, but always ensure that your pup has the proper protection, such as a doggie vest to keep them extra snug.

    Water Training

    Once you have your dog picked out, it is important to train them on the spot when they are young. For bird hunting, you want to get them acclimated to the water. Associate the water with a positive experience, and you can do this by playing around the lake and rewarding them. Training them to hunt is actually a fairly simple process. All you need to do is foster their natural hunting instincts and reward them for their behavior. Give them plenty of compliments, and don\'t use harsh discipline.

    Training them to Retrieve

    The best way to have them retrieve prey is to use a decoy dummy with the scent of real birds. Having the scent of birds around will get them further used to going after birds. Having training dummies around for your young pup is ideal, but slowly graduate them to going after the real thing. After a while, you\'ll want your dog to tell the difference between training dummies and real birds. There are a variety of dummy birds you can use like the one shown below.

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    Image from Ebay

    One thing you can do is to have a bumper with a bird scent on it. This bumper will be attached to a long rope (lead). When the pup retrieves the bumper after you throw it, the dog may be tempted to run off and play with it. If it does that, you\'re going to use the lead to pull the dog in your direction. This will aid you in keeping the dog disciplined and narrowly focused on you once it retrieves that toy. Make sure the lead rope is long, so you\'ll have plenty of room to throw it.

    There\'s so much when it comes to training a dog, so stay tuned for part two on issuing proper commands.

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