posted on September 25, 2013 20:39
Dogs are athletes, and like all athletes, they need training before they can jump into a competitive sport. Otherwise, they risk injuring themselves, and they might not perform at the highest level they’re capable of.
You pay good money to have a professional trainer teach your dog the most important hunting skills, so why let those skills diminish in the off-season? It’s up to you to reinforce what they have learned and to get them back into shape before the season begins.
The best thing you can do for your dog is to put it though some pre-season training. No, it’s not always as fun as the real hunt (for you or your dog), but it’ll help when the season eventually rolls around. Experts say that starting 6-8 weeks prior to the season will give them a safe amount of time get in shape.
Some hunters like to train on the fly or simply “hunt” a dog into shape. This is like you getting up one morning and deciding to run a marathon. At the very least, you won’t be able to get out of bed the next morning. At worst, you’ll hurt yourself. If your dog hasn’t had time to become properly conditioned, it increases the chances of pulled muscles, torn tendons and heat exhaustion.
The best time to train during the summer months is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Avoid those sweltering midday temperatures.
These training sessions are a good time to revisit important commands, work on conditioning and test out new equipment like electronic dog collars, tracking equipment and beepers.
Practice with the same intensity your dog will experience in the field. If you don’t, they might not know how to respond when the pressure’s on.
Give your dog and yourself the best possible chance to succeed this season by training early. If you need a trainer to help condition your dog visit our hunting dog breeders section.