Basic Gun Dog Training Strategies
Gun dogs are specialized dog breeds that are designed to be adept hunter accomplices. But, getting an untrained puppy to become a skilled and trained hunting dog is a long journey that requires patience and consistent hard work. Training begins from the moment that a gun dog puppy is picked up for the first time, and continues all the way up to the first hunt and well afterward.
Gun dog training involves a number of different types of training. These include socialization, obedience training, gunfire conditioning, and the more advanced hunting training. Hunting training involves using training dummies, training the dog to head in a straight line toward a target, retrieving training, and more.
Be Positive In Habit and With Reinforcement
Gun dogs are specialized and intelligent breeds. But, during the process of training there will be a lot of moments of difficulty and impatience. The worst thing an owner can do is react to a dog’s mistakes with anger. Learn to be patient and calm when mistakes are made. Teach the puppy through positive reinforcement; this is scientifically proven to be a highly effective type of training. Reward good behaviors and if you punish bad behaviors do not use physical pain methods.
Socializing a Gun-dog Puppy
In order to socialize a gun dog puppy, a lot of handling is required. From a young age a gun dog puppy should be handled by humans. The more comfortable that a gun dog is around people, the easier it will be for it to be trained to respect its owner and others. Also socializing a gun dog puppy or dog with other dog breeds and animals is highly recommended, as the dog will have to learn how to react and respond to animals in the field as you hunt.
Basic Obedience Training is Crucial
It doesn’t do an owner much good to have a dog that can run a straight line in the field and retrieve game, but can’t follow basic obedience commands. Obedience training is the first type of training that will help the dog prepare for advanced hunting training. “Heel”, “Come”, “Down”, “Sit” and “Stay” should be well known by a gun dog by the time it is ready for advanced hunting training. This is the foundation of gun dog training and it should never be overlooked or underestimated in its importance.
Nutrition and Health
Gun dogs are working dogs and they are going to need a particular type of nutrition. Basically, gun dog diets are going to be higher in both fat and protein. Food sources may include store bought dog food, but the food should be labeled as being for working dogs or high performance dogs. It is common to supplement store bought food with homemade dog food as well for hunting dogs. Also, be sure that a gun dog gets plenty of breaks throughout its training exercises. Breaks should include water as gun dogs often are dehydrated so monitoring water intake is very important.
Expose Your Dog to the Real Deal
Early on in the dog’s life, it is important that it has exposure to the types of environments that it is expected to work in later on. With experience outdoors, a hunting dog will be more acclimated and prepared to deal with environmental obstacles and other animals. It is a good idea to also purchase scented decoys of the type of game that the dog will be working with so that it learns the smell, texture, and size of the game.
Have Fun with the Process and Be Consistent
Be consistent with training. There is nothing more detrimental to training processes than sending mixed messages to a dog by responding differently to the same behavior. Also, gradually increasing the level and amount of training over time is widely considered to be the best method. A puppy or dog can be overwhelmed if too many types of training are going on at one time. Be sure to keep the dog well hydrated and fed with a high protein and high fat diet. Patience and positivity is the foundation of a successful training effort. Have fun with the process. A gun dog will appreciate its owner’s positive attitude and respond even better to his or her training efforts.