Training A Hunting Dog

training a hunting dogWhen it comes to waterfowl hunting, owning a hunting dog can be one of the most rewarding parts. However, training a hunting dog is easier said than done. There are so many components and it starts with obedience at a young age and honestly never ends when it comes to hunting dogs. There are always drills and training tactics that can be taught to hunting dogs to create a better retriever. Therefore, we put together a few tips and things to remember for training a hunting dog for this upcoming waterfowl season.

At the end of this article, you’ll have a finished duck dog…okay that’s not true. It takes way more than reading one article when training a hunting dog. For many dog owners, it takes years to train a dog. Therefore, instead of going “A-Z” on training we have compiled a list of the top tips to ensure that you have the essentials tools and a tuned up hunting dog before the season starts.

Equipment For Training a Hunting Dog –

Considering the amount of gear required for waterfowl hunt every season, it’s no surprise there is a lot of dog training equipment as well. Therefore, we have put together the top training tools to make sure you have when training a hunting dog for waterfowl season.

Bumpers –

When it comes to training bumpers there are a few different kinds and brands. However, what you want to focus on is getting a mixture of sizes and textures for your dog. When considering training a hunting dog you want to expose them to as many unforeseen elements during the offseason, so when it’s an actual hunting scenario. Which is why I try to purchase bumpers of various sizes to help imitate everything from teal to Canada geese. One should also consider getting bumpers of various weights and material. For example, some gun dog bumpers are made of hard plastic, soft foam, and canvas materials. Therefore, make sure you have a wide selection of training your dog with.  If you’re unsure which ones to buy, check out Gun Dog Bumper Buyers Guide.

Dog Blinds –

training a hunting dogConcealment is one of the most important aspects of waterfowl hunting, and when it comes to hunting corn, beans, wheat, or rice. Cover is limited, which is why dog blinds are one of the must-haves when hunting with your dog in this situation. Dog blinds offer concealment and cover for your hunting dog. However, dogs don’t always take to them right away. Especially if you don’t start training a hunting dog from a puppy in a dog blind. I, for example, hunted from a boat for most of my dog’s early life. However, I moved into field hunting as my dog got older and we’ve been working on teaching him the dog blind. It’s a time-consuming process, however, he’s taken to it very well.

Marsh Stands –

Marsh stands have become much more common over the past few years, thanks to some great companies making more durable stands. Additionally, with the innovation of breathable waders, more waterfowl hunters are standing in the marsh rather than being confined to hunting from a boat. Which is why the marsh stand for your dog has become a necessity and more widely used. Similar to a dog blind, a marsh stand is something that you’ll have to expose your dog to at an early age.

However, if you have an older dog and are planning on getting a marsh stand. Spending 15-30 minutes a day every day before the season will help train your dog to become comfortable with a marsh stand this season. It takes time and repetition, however, giving a command your dog can associate with the stand is important. My dog was taught “place” as his command to go in a dog blind or jump onto a marsh stand.

Leashes –

One of the last and finally dog training equipment essentials that many people overlook are leashes. Most waterfowl hunters forget that a leash is a great tool for training a hunting dog. As a dog gets older I noticed myself less and less working on heel and having my dog walk next to me. Which is the reason I choose to carry a leash with me and do a few simple leash training drills before we get into tossing bumpers. It lets my dog remember the basics and it also creates much faster responses for sitting and heel commands.

A leash is also one of the tools that many hunters forget to pack with them when hunting. I’ve found that having a leash to tie your dog up to a tree or inside the boat is essential for those first few exciting hunts. I like knowing if my dog decides to break he’s on a leash and can’t get out in front of any shooters. If you’re wondering what leash is the best for securing your dog during waterfowl season, the Gun Dog Outdoors adjustable leash is like no other.

I’ve used pet store leashes in the past however, every single one wasn’t designed for duck dogs and the rugged places I hunt. They either fell apart of rusted out. Which is why having gun dog-specific products was so important. The Gun Dog Outdoors leash can secure to nearly any object with its snap hooks fixed into either end of the leash and it’s sewn in D-rings. Learn more about the Gun Dog Outdoors Leash and the benefits it has for waterfowl hunting here.

Tips For Training A Hunting Dog –

Every dog no matter the age from puppy to adulthood, obedience has to be one of the most important steps in training a hunting dog. It would seem that obedience training is common sense. However, many dog owners neglect obedience as the foundation for training a hunting dog. Obedience training will help make sure your behaviors in the field, at home, and in the yard, however, what it really teaches them is how to listen to you as their handler. A disobedient dog is going to limit your capabilities when it comes to training a hunting dog retriever. Therefore, you never want to stop with obedience training as your dog grows. To help we have broken down a dog’s life into three phases and offer some tips to keep them obedient.

Puppy Obedience –

 

Puppies need the most obedience training and that’s no surprise they need to learn what is correct behavior in the house, truck, yard, field, and water. Your dog will be drinking from a firehouse their first 4 – 6 months of their life, and probably hear the word “NO” about ten thousand times. However, this is the time when your dog can be molded into the obedient dog you desire. Here is a list of the top socialization and obedient drills to help expose your dog to settings they will encounter at home and hunting.

  • Housebreaking –

    • Housebreaking a dog can be a frustrating process and there can be many accidents. Therefore, to help prevent some frustration and anger start by limiting your dog to an area of your house. When my dog was a puppy he had the kitchen area and the rest was gated off. This way if he accidentally went on the floor it was easy to clean up. The next thing you want to do is create a pattern for them. Dogs learn with repetition and frequency, therefore, use the same door to let them out and ensure that you let them out every 45 minutes to an hour when you first take them home. With these few tips, you will create the best opportunity for housebreaking your puppy.
  • Basic Commands –

    • “Sit, Stay, Heel, Down, No” are integral commands that your dog will need to learn to become obedient. The sooner you begin and the more fun you make it your dog will pick them up very quickly. Many dog owners, my self-included use rewards such as treats to help train these basic commands. This also begins the phase in training where your dog begins to listen to you and trust you as a handler. Therefore, developing a relationship that will help when training a hunting dog for retrieving ducks and geese.
  • Crate Training –

    • Whether your dog is going to sleep in your house or ride in your truck. Crate training them is an important part of having a puppy. The main thing is that you want to have your dog in a locked up safe location when they’re sleeping your riding in your vehicle. Therefore, they need to learn to not use it as a restroom location or bark when they are in it. Learn more about complete crate training a puppy here.
  • Socializing with Kids, Adults, and other Dogs –

    • The best part for me about having a hunting dog, a Labrador Retriever to be specific is that they are a great family dog. My kids love climbing all over their dog and playing fetch with him. However, it’s best to socialize your puppy when their young to kids and help teach them how to behave around them. Same goes for socializing with adults, especially for people without dogs, and lastly other dogs. There are plenty of dog parks and family and friends that have dogs that you can expose your puppy to.
  • Introduction to Gun Shots –

    • Many hunters tend to put a lot of weight on introducing their dogs to gunfire and worrying about them being gun shy. Thankfully, I’ve never had a dog that was gun shy. However, it’s best to introduce them to guns slowly and smart. Don’t expect your dog to like a 12 gauge blasted 3 feet from them at 12 weeks old. Instead, I would encourage you to get them running a single field mark where they are retrieving and excited about a bumper. This way when you introduce them to gunshots they really will be more interested in the bumper and retrieve.

Young Adult Dog Obedience –

As your dog grows out of their puppy phase and approaches a year or two. You won’t have to worry so much about basic obedience, however, you will encounter other types of obedience your dog needs. As your dog gets larger and more full grown they can easily jump up more easily than a puppy can. Therefore, many dogs of this age tend to jump on people and/or counters when food is a temptation. As a result, you have to correct this as quickly as possible to prevent any issues or accidents. E collars are a great way to help train dogs and used correctly they can help prevent unwanted jumping.

The second most common obedience tip to teach when training a hunting dog is in field obedience. Whether you are hunting from field blinds or boats, your dog will need to learn where their place is while hunting. Therefore, run simulator hunts before the season to help teach your dog basic placement and hunting obedience.  Additionally, it’s best to keep working on puppy obedience to ensure nothing is forgotten.

Adult Dog Obedience –

Lastly, as your hunting dog gets older they are quite obedient according to how you’ve trained them as a puppy and young adult. However, one thing to keep a close eye on is older dogs tend to get more bold and strong-willed. Meaning they can pretend like they know everything and forget to listen as attentive as when they were a puppy. My dog, for example, is five years old and he will push the limits of listening at times to show his dominance. Therefore, every so often I have to address this and ensure he knows that he has to listen to me.

 

training a hunting dogWhen it comes to waterfowl hunting, owning a hunting dog can be one of the most rewarding parts. However, training a hunting dog is easier said than done. There are so many components and it starts with obedience at a young age and honestly never ends when it comes to hunting dogs. There are always drills and training tactics that can be taught to hunting dogs to create a better retriever. Therefore, we put together a few tips and things to remember for training a hunting dog for this upcoming waterfowl season.

At the end of this article, you’ll have a finished duck dog…okay that’s not true. It takes way more than reading one article when training a hunting dog. For many dog owners, it takes years to train a dog. Therefore, instead of going “A-Z” on training we have compiled a list of the top tips to ensure that you have the essentials tools and a tuned up hunting dog before the season starts.

Equipment For Training a Hunting Dog –

Considering the amount of gear required for waterfowl hunt every season, it’s no surprise there is a lot of dog training equipment as well. Therefore, we have put together the top training tools to make sure you have when training a hunting dog for waterfowl season.

Bumpers –

dog bumpersWhen it comes to training bumpers there are a few different kinds and brands. However, what you want to focus on is getting a mixture of sizes and textures for your dog. When considering training a hunting dog you want to expose them to as many unforeseen elements during the offseason, so when it’s an actual hunting scenario. Which is why I try to purchase bumpers of various sizes to help imitate everything from teal to Canada geese. One should also consider getting bumpers of various weights and material. For example, some gun dog bumpers are made of hard plastic, soft foam, and canvas materials. Therefore, make sure you have a wide selection of training your dog with.  If you’re unsure which ones to buy, check out Gun Dog Bumper Buyers Guide.

Dog Blinds –

training a hunting dogConcealment is one of the most important aspects of waterfowl hunting, and when it comes to hunting corn, beans, wheat, or rice. Cover is limited, which is why dog blinds are one of the must-haves when hunting with your dog in this situation. Dog blinds offer concealment and cover for your hunting dog. However, dogs don’t always take to them right away. Especially if you don’t start training a hunting dog from a puppy in a dog blind. I, for example, hunted from a boat for most of my dog’s early life. However, I moved into field hunting as my dog got older and we’ve been working on teaching him the dog blind. It’s a time-consuming process, however, he’s taken to it very well.

Marsh Stands –

training a hunting dogMarsh stands have become much more common over the past few years, thanks to some great companies making more durable stands. Additionally, with the innovation of breathable waders, more waterfowl hunters are standing in the marsh rather than being confined to hunting from a boat. Which is why the marsh stand for your dog has become a necessity and more widely used. Similar to a dog blind, a marsh stand is something that you’ll have to expose your dog to at an early age.

However, if you have an older dog and are planning on getting a marsh stand. Spending 15-30 minutes a day every day before the season will help train your dog to become comfortable with a marsh stand this season. It takes time and repetition, however, giving a command your dog can associate with the stand is important. My dog was taught “place” as his command to go in a dog blind or jump onto a marsh stand.

Leashes –

One of the last and finally dog training equipment essentials that many people overlook are leashes. Most waterfowl hunters forget that a leash is a great tool for training a hunting dog. As a dog gets older I noticed myself less and less working on heel and having my dog walk next to me. Which is the reason I choose to carry a leash with me and do a few simple leash training drills before we get into tossing bumpers. It lets my dog remember the basics and it also creates much faster responses for sitting and heel commands.

A leash is also one of the tools that many hunters forget to pack with them when hunting. I’ve found that having a leash to tie your dog up to a tree or inside the boat is essential for those first few exciting hunts. I like knowing if my dog decides to break he’s on a leash and can’t get out in front of any shooters. If you’re wondering what leash is the best for securing your dog during waterfowl season, the Gun Dog Outdoors adjustable leash is like no other.

I’ve used pet store leashes in the past however, every single one wasn’t designed for duck dogs and the rugged places I hunt. They either fell apart of rusted out. Which is why having gun dog-specific products was so important. The Gun Dog Outdoors leash can secure to nearly any object with its snap hooks fixed into either end of the leash and it’s sewn in D-rings. Learn more about the Gun Dog Outdoors Leash and the benefits it has for waterfowl hunting here.

Tips For Training A Hunting Dog –

Every dog no matter the age from puppy to adulthood, obedience has to be one of the most important steps in training a hunting dog. It would seem that obedience training is common sense. However, many dog owners neglect obedience as the foundation for training a hunting dog. Obedience training will help make sure your behaviors in the field, at home, and in the yard, however, what it really teaches them is how to listen to you as their handler. A disobedient dog is going to limit your capabilities when it comes to training a hunting dog retriever. Therefore, you never want to stop with obedience training as your dog grows. To help we have broken down a dog’s life into three phases and offer some tips to keep them obedient.

Puppy Obedience –

Puppies need the most obedience training and that’s no surprise they need to learn what is correct behavior in the house, truck, yard, field, and water. Your dog will be drinking from a firehouse their first 4 – 6 months of their life, and probably hear the word “NO” about ten thousand times. However, this is the time when your dog can be molded into the obedient dog you desire. Here is a list of the top socialization and obedient drills to help expose your dog to settings they will encounter at home and hunting.

  • Housebreaking –

    • Housebreaking a dog can be a frustrating process and there can be many accidents. Therefore, to help prevent some frustration and anger start by limiting your dog to an area of your house. When my dog was a puppy he had the kitchen area and the rest was gated off. This way if he accidentally went on the floor it was easy to clean up. The next thing you want to do is create a pattern for them. Dogs learn with repetition and frequency, therefore, use the same door to let them out and ensure that you let them out every 45 minutes to an hour when you first take them home. With these few tips, you will create the best opportunity for housebreaking your puppy.
  • Basic Commands –

    • “Sit, Stay, Heel, Down, No” are integral commands that your dog will need to learn to become obedient. The sooner you begin and the more fun you make it your dog will pick them up very quickly. Many dog owners, my self-included use rewards such as treats to help train these basic commands. This also begins the phase in training where your dog begins to listen to you and trust you as a handler. Therefore, developing a relationship that will help when training a hunting dog for retrieving ducks and geese.
  • Crate Training –

    • Whether your dog is going to sleep in your house or ride in your truck. Crate training them is an important part of having a puppy. The main thing is that you want to have your dog in a locked up safe location when they’re sleeping your riding in your vehicle. Therefore, they need to learn to not use it as a restroom location or bark when they are in it. Learn more about complete crate training a puppy here.
  • Socializing with Kids, Adults, and other Dogs –

    • The best part for me about having a hunting dog, a Labrador Retriever to be specific is that they are a great family dog. My kids love climbing all over their dog and playing fetch with him. However, it’s best to socialize your puppy when their young to kids and help teach them how to behave around them. Same goes for socializing with adults, especially for people without dogs, and lastly other dogs. There are plenty of dog parks and family and friends that have dogs that you can expose your puppy to.
  • Introduction to Gun Shots –

    • Many hunters tend to put a lot of weight on introducing their dogs to gunfire and worrying about them being gun shy. Thankfully, I’ve never had a dog that was gun shy. However, it’s best to introduce them to guns slowly and smart. Don’t expect your dog to like a 12 gauge blasted 3 feet from them at 12 weeks old. Instead, I would encourage you to get them running a single field mark where they are retrieving and excited about a bumper. This way when you introduce them to gunshots they really will be more interested in the bumper and retrieve.

Young Adult Dog Obedience –training a hunting dog

As your dog grows out of their puppy phase and approaches a year or two. You won’t have to worry so much about basic obedience, however, you will encounter other types of obedience your dog needs. As your dog gets larger and more full grown they can easily jump up more easily than a puppy can. Therefore, many dogs of this age tend to jump on people and/or counters when food is a temptation. As a result, you have to correct this as quickly as possible to prevent any issues or accidents. E collars are a great way to help train dogs and used correctly they can help prevent unwanted jumping.

The second most common obedience tip to teach when training a hunting dog is in field obedience. Whether you are hunting from field blinds or boats, your dog will need to learn where their place is while hunting. Therefore, run simulator hunts before the season to help teach your dog basic placement and hunting obedience.  Additionally, it’s best to keep working on puppy obedience to ensure nothing is forgotten.

Adult Dog Obedience –

Lastly, as your hunting dog gets older they are quite obedient according to how you’ve trained them as a puppy and young adult. However, one thing to keep a close eye on is older dogs tend to get more bold and strong-willed. Meaning they can pretend like they know everything and forget to listen as attentive as when they were a puppy. My dog, for example, is five years old and he will push the limits of listening at times to show his dominance. Therefore, every so often I have to address this and ensure he knows that he has to listen to me.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: