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While equipped yourself with essential hunting gears like a spotlight and a knife can help you during your entire hunt, hunting dogs can be incredibly beneficial. Dogs are a man’s best friend, but when trained properly, a dog can help you with the various things that you would like to partake in. Well trained dogs are usually equipped to be able to detect wild animals through their heightened sense of smell, and can usually tell when an animal has been around a particular area. Moreover, dogs are brilliant for picking up your prize after it has been shot down.
Hunting dogs are a great addition to any trip, but training your dog well to perform these actions is important. The training for a hunting dog is something that should start within the first few months of you getting a dog, and go on through the course of the dog’s life. Training a dog to hunt is no easy task, but can be made easier by knowing a few tips and tricks. Below is a breakdown of the kind of training you can give your dog within the first few years of its life.
Baby Steps (2 to 4 months old)
One of the biggest misconceptions with regards to training a dog to hunt is that they should be of a certain age. There is no minimum age for when you should start training your hunting dog. In these instances, the younger, the better. One of the first things that you need to do is acquaint your dog with its surroundings and other people. Make sure that your puppy is able to respond to its own name, and knows how to identify different people around it.
Getting There (5 to 7 months old)
The next stage in training your dog is all about obedience. Your dog should be able to respond to commands given by you and should be able to stay put even in adverse situations. This is also the phase in which you need to start training your dog to be able to catch prey. Dead birds are perfect for this kind of training and should be used to help your dog detect what kind of prey they need to be on the lookout for.
Going Pro (8 to 11 months old)
After your dog is familiar with some of the basic commands and has a good inclination towards catching prey, the next step is to equip your dog with an electric collar. This is something that should only be done after your dog is familiar with basic commands, and when they are well trained enough to be out on the field. This is also the time when you introduce your puppy to guns and the loud sounds that they make. Because dogs can get easily startled by gun sounds, it becomes important to train them during this time to ensure that they don’t have anything to fear.
Ready For The Hunt (12 to 15 months old)
At twelve months, your dog is now a teenager. This is the time when they are usually in the best state to be taken out on their first hunt. It is also important to teach your dog to be still and quiet during this time, which is often something that is needed while out hunting. It is important to note that even though your dog may be well trained at this point, it is not the end stop. Dogs need continuous training to get better at what they do, and here on out is when you try to brush up on all that you taught it, every once in a while.
Training your dog well during the first year of its life can help you better equip your dog for any kind of hunting activity. However, simply training your dog and teaching it the very basics is not always enough to make it a good hunting dog. Here are some additional tips that can help you through this process and equip you better to take it out with you while you hunt.
Pay Attention To Obedience
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about hunting dogs is that they are only meant to be ferocious and not obedient in any way. When a dog is out hunting they need to be able to understand the different commands that you are giving it, and also need to know how to act in the wild when you are out hunting. Obedience training is incredibly important, and something that should be done on a regular basis.
While you may have trained your dog well during its early years, continuous practice is essential. Dogs don’t always remember every bit of training that you might have given them, which is why it then becomes important to constantly train them over and over again. Practice everything that you have taught your dog on a regular basis so that they don’t forget, and so they can perform their very best when out for the hunt. If you plan to hunt only during hunting season, make sure that your dog is up to date with all the commands and training during the rest of the year as well.
Reinforce Good Behavior
Dogs should always be on their best behavior when out hunting, and reinforcing the times when they are good is a great way of keeping them on track. For example, if they have done something that they should, give them a small treat so they know that this is something they should do. This kind of conditioning is considered to be one of the best ways to train a hunting dog and is something that can help you, even while you are out trying to catch your prey.
Having a companion by your side while you hunt is always a brilliant experience, and taking a well-trained hunting dog with you is even better. Remember that your dog can always perform well if you train it right, so make sure that you are following the guide and implementing the right steps to ensure that nothing goes wrong.