Hunting dogs, whether hound dogs or gun dogs, even sporting dogs, have different ways of hunting and capturing prey. They are great companions for people who like taking some time out in the woods to hunt for game and small animals. However, dogs aren’t automatically great at hunting prey, which is why they should still be trained by their owners, especially if they have the potential to be great hunting partners.
Important Points to Remember in Training Hunting Dogs
Give your puppy a social life
Hunting dogs are not the shy types. As a puppy, take your future hunting dog out where there are a lot of other people and other dogs. While this may not seem like a priority, hunting dogs are explorers, so the more comfortable your pup is in the presence of “new” things, the more curious and adventurous he will be in the wild, making him a better hunting companion than mostly isolated pets. If you’re afraid of your dog wandering a bit too far off, don’t worry. These days, you can easily buy dog trackers like TrackiDog online, so you can track him no matter where he is, anytime.
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Help dogs focus with obedience training
Young pups need to be enrolled in obedience classes. This is important because knowing how to get your dog’s attention and have him follow your instructions is important in hunting. Training hunting dogs starts with group classes where they can socialize with other pets, but ideally, you should be able to give them one-on-one attention with a professional trainer. This helps in training hunting dogs faster and at a more consistent pace. Professional dog training goes a long way in your dog’s skill set.
Basic Commands for Training Hunting Dogs
Training hunting dogs is similar to training any other breed. It takes a lot of time and practice—and even more patience until your dog finally gets things right. However, if you’re not ready to leave your dog with a complete stranger, dogs start their training with three basic commands:
While these may be as basic as it gets, there are some reasons for these commands.
- Your dog could retrieve a bird but not bring it back. I may sound unlikely, but if you’re in the woods hunting a bird, you may lose track of your dog who goes out to retrieve the animal you shot. The dog may then get distracted by something completely different. Dogs, especially hunting dogs, need to have refresher courses in object retrieval from time to time.
- Your hunting dog may ignore calls. In the middle of a hunting trip, dogs tend to run off ahead when they find something of interest. Training hunting dogs to come when called is an important trick that owners should not miss, because most birds and animals get scared of loud noises and the constant need to repeatedly call your dog could lead your prey away.
- Your hunting dog could get scared with the sound of gunfire. Due to their heightened senses, dogs may run away when they hear the sound of gunfire. This is not ideal because it could scare the dogs away, but even more so because your dog could risk getting shot himself. To avoid such situations, be sure that your dog understands what it means to stay especially in the middle of a hunting spree.
It’s Never Too Late to Start Training Hunting Dogs
Dogs, if not exposed to several commands for long periods, may get a little rusty in following directions. When this happens, restart training from ground zero. If you’re not sure how to restart his training, there are several YouTube videos available, or have your pet back with a professional trainer.
Whatever the case, remember that dogs are pure souls who love you, so be a tough but gentle pet trainer when it comes to training hunting dogs. Teach them to hunt—but remember to give them the love they deserve.