Gun Dog Training
Gun Dog Training
Gun dog training goes beyond your normal puppy training and preparation for this begins as early as possible. Patience, understanding and plenty of time is an essential part when you begin to train your gundog.
What is a Gundog?
Gundogs is the term used for a hunting dog that is trained to assist hunters with their ability to find and retrieve game. The word ‘gun’ dog typically means any breed of dog that has worked alongside a gun, however, the more common breed of gundog used are Retrievers, Spaniels and Labradors, this is due to their loyal, working personalities and the ability to adapt to training conditions. A gundog is an essential working companion for the individual that wishes to hunt, giving the benefit of having plenty of stamina, patience, and fast responses to find and retrieve game for its hunter.
There are 5 main factors you need to consider before intensive training commences.
Bond - Establishing a bond between you and your gundog is essential, this mustn’t be rushed as trust needs to be earned on both sides for any gundog to want to work for its owner. Don’t embark on a strict routine to begin with as the bond is the very first step, focus on guiding the puppy rather than dictating and this will set the groundwork needed for early lessons
Understanding a Lead - Slip leads are better responded to with any gundog, allow the pup to walk with the lead attached but dragging behind along the floor. Gradually pick up the lead to retrieve the pup back and do this over several weeks to enable the gundog to become used to the use of a lead.
Retrieving - Teaching a gundog to retrieve can be used with any object however as time passes you may want to add a scent to the retrieval item to get them used to the scents they will be hunting for in the future. Praise is a must with all retrieval games and each time an item is returned. The next step is to encourage gundogs to drop the retrieved item, to encourage gundogs to do this sit at floor level and ask the pup to climb on your lap for you to remove the item from the mouth.
Memory Games - Memory games are an important part of gun dog training, drop an item as you walk, encourage the dog to walk past the item with you but then command them to return and collect the item to be retrieved. Do this once or twice at a time if the gundog doesn’t respond at first don’t over-push memory games, this will be picked up with time and patience.
Don’t overwork - Youngsters' joints can be damaged if they are overworked from a young age. All gun dogs under the age of 1 are encouraged to complete gentle exercise only, and all training is to be completed through play followed by plenty of rest. Over the age of 1 is when the next step can be taken.
Gun dog training can be adapted at a much faster pace with a variety of tools and equipment on the market today. Previously there has been a real lack of products available in the UK but more recently this is now becoming a more popular sport with products available from multiple suppliers are now available. These can be anything from gun dog manuals to dummies, leads, scents, vests, and much more, all to help with the gun dog training process.