Prepping Gun Dogs for Hunting Season
When do you know that your dogs are ready for hunting season?
“In a nutshell, dogs have to be in strong mental and physical shape. By mental shape I mean focused on hunting game and proficient in skills and manners. The physical conditioning simply gives them the ability to perform in the field.
I commonly hear of people traveling long distances to hunt for a weekend and, because their dog has been sleeping on the couch all year, they “run out of dog” early on the first day. This not only ruins the hunt, but puts the dog in a situation where they are more susceptible to injuries. You wouldn’t ask an athlete to lay on the couch in preparation for the Olympics. It is not fair to a dog to not prepare them for their Olympics…hunting season.”
Hunting season preparation list:
- Make sure your dog is eating a good quality feed, such as Purina ProPlan. Don’t fall prey to the old wives tale of feeding a low quality feed during the off season and then switching to a better feed just before your hunting begins. A dog needs to be on a high quality feed for months before their body can reap the full benefit.
- Get your couch potato dog to the gym! Whether it is workouts in the field, roading, or swimming exercises, get your dog physically fit!
- Tune up your dog’s training & bird work. Most of us allow our dogs performance to slip toward the end of the year. It is our tendency as hunters to watch the bird and not the dog…and it’s natural for our dogs to in turn, forget some of their training. So prior to season get your dog back out on birds and make sure he is back to that high level of performance that you want to see. Getting your dog’s nose into birds will not only get him focused on game but also hone his bird finding skills therefore making him a more prolific bird finder. Make sure that your dog hits the field on all 10 cylinders, prepped and ready on opening weekend!
Why are you such an avid believer in fine tuning dogs’ training on wild birds?
“There is no substitute for wild birds. In my opinion one of the greatest services we offer people is exposing dogs to different types of birds. Each dog on our Wild Bird Training Excursion can add multiple species of birds to their portfolio. The trip’s total focus is on the pursuit of game for the dog’s benefit. No household distractions and no formal training distractions. By being able to hunt big country and leave the dogs on the ground for lengthy runs, the dogs learn how to pace themselves and they have the opportunity to handle multiple types of birds.We compare the month on the road with us to a semester abroad for a person. The travel experience matures young dogs and really develops them into the bird dog they will become. Seasoned dogs brush up their hunting skills and proficiency working scent, as well as get back in shape for hunting season.”