Getting a puppy simply means the biggest serotonin boost in your life, but having it well-trained might turn into a full-time job, at least at the beginning.
While some dog owners think the basic dog obedience training is enough, some prefer having a partner while hunting, or simply love the hunting dog breed. So, let’s talk about how to train a hunting dog and what tips you should consider if your primary goal is raising a hunter!
(check our previous articles to learn general tips for dog training )
A hunting dog also referred to as a gun dog, is a dog species that hunts with or for humans. Various types of hunting dogs have been developed over the years for different purposes.
Raising a hunting dog is based on the proper training and schedule which the owner and the dog follow. So, sticking to the routine is the first rule you need to follow to get a hunter dog.
Especially as the owner of a hunting dog, you are responsible for ensuring that you adhere to the training procedures so that your dog has the skills and obedience required to enjoy hunting activities safely.
You can turn your puppy into a well-trained and well-educated fieldwork partner by investing a lot of time and suitable hunting dog training supplies.
So, if you’re committed to training a hunting dog, you should follow this hunting dog training timeline:
- Start training from a young age
- House prepare and teach simple commands
- Get your dog trained on leash and whistles
- Play retrieve games
- Get your dog used to gunshots
- Introduce the first bird and water
At What Age Should You Start Hunt Training?
Your dog should start training as early as possible. However, before you actually teach the hunting tricks, your dog should meet two criteria. First, the dog must have good social skills, and second, you should help your dog develop the strong prey impulse to maintain his passion during training. After that, you can start training at the primary level with confidence.
During the first few weeks of your puppy coming home, you will also learn about his personality.
It is best to introduce your puppy to another dog you know or own. Maintain control to prevent your puppy from being mistreated. Playing with other dogs and family members is vital to your puppy, and more contact will be better. Take your puppy outside, let him explore the parks, natural surroundings.
So, your first “job” simply is to socialize your dog as much as you can.
Start Training With Simple Commands
You might be planning your dog to grow up an outside dog. However, even so, before hunting dog training lessons, you should consider house training first. Even if your dog becomes an outdoor dog, I recommend teaching him a potty routine. It will simply let your dog grow up disciplined and clean.
House training a dog with a crate is also essential in preparing your dog for hunting and family life. Some people think that using crates is cruel, but I disagree. Dogs actually like small, confined spaces because they make them feel safe and protected.
Teach your new pup the words “no” and “off.” A stern “no” can often quickly deter future episodes when your puppy does something he shouldn’t. Dogs love jumping on us from excitement. After teaching them “off,” they will realize that jumping on people is not okay from a very young age.
If you wish to teach your dog to learn good manners, you should get him used to the “Sit” command from a very young age. You should make your puppy “sit” before allowing him to eat or let him outside. However, there’s no need to be harsh. Be firm, and they will learn to obey you.
Teaching your dog manners will help him adjust to further training and to obey. However, don’t forget the dog training treats. These are a crucial part of any kind of training procedure.
Leash And Whistles Training
In the first few months, you should buy a collar for your puppy. It takes some time to get used to the collar, but it’s okay. Don’t remove it just because he looks uncomfortable.
This is also a good time to get your puppy used to the leash. Use a leash without loops so that your puppy will not be entangled in anything.
At this time, just let him drag the leash. Every once in a while, pick up the leash and grab it. Don’t yank or drag your dog, but let him get used to the pressure you control.
Whistle training of a hunting dog is another essential part of your hunting dog training routine.
The whistle is the perfect audio connection between you and your dog. Especially during hunting, it might be windy or be in deep cover.
Also, make sure you use the bridging techniques in basic obedience training with your dog to ensure that they understand all your command whistles, sounds, and gestures. For older and well-trained dogs, according to the training plan, you should continuously strengthen the whistle command, such as sitting and changing direction.
Play Retrieve Games With Your Dog
Dog retriever training is already the first major step to training a hunter. A great way to introduce your gun dog to the retrieve game is to use bait to simulate hunting scenes. Repeat training on land and water. This helps the dog adapt to different types of terrain.
Blind retrieval training is also very important. It allows you to guide a dog to a falling bird that the dog may not have seen.
This training might be time-consuming and specific, so I recommend you search for hunting dog training books to learn how to guide your dog through a series of whistles or gestures.
Let Your Dog Get Used To The Gunshots
Gunshots are the key part of hunting. So, if you wish to have your dog a hunting partner, you should definitely get him used to dog training gunshots.
Gunshots are loud and can scare your dog into running off in the middle of a hunt. That’s why gun training is so essential.
Also, don’t forget the treats! Praise and reward your dog after they start getting used to the shots. You should keep the process going until the dog stays right beside the gunner while shooting.
Introduce Your Dog To Water And First Bird
If you’re wondering how to train a duck hunting dog, the first concern you should actually have is how to get your pup used to the water and swimming.
Dogs are not like cats. They naturally love water and swimming. They even find it easier to learn than us. However, you should still provide some swimming classes before taking him for duck hunting.
For the swimming training, you should choose the right weather and a shallow water area. Also, let your dog enter the water on their will. For this, you can use some rubber toys or treats. Try to encourage him to start swimming slowly. After your puppy masters swimming, you can throw some rubber toys in the water and ask him to grab and bring them. After that, your dog will get used to grabbing the real ducks.
Now let’s discuss the bird hunting dog training. If you’re willing to train the dog to hunt birds, first, you should start this exercise away from the distractions.
At first, you should use the cold dead pigeons, as a dead bird won’t move and scare a puppy. Let him hold it, but don’t let him shake or bite it. If he starts these behaviors, stop him calmly. Allowing bad behavior to continue will result in a game of nonsense and rough handling.
After a few of these lessons, getting used to gunshots, you will have a well-trained dog ready to hunt.
Can You Train Any Dog To Hunt?
Simply, yes. With the proper training classes, you can teach hunting any dog. However, it’s less likely you are getting a chihuahua to raise a hunter, right?
So, these are the most common and the easiest breed to train for hunting: hunting dog (Obviously), German Short-haired Pointer, beagle, Irish setter, bloodhound, a golden retriever.
However, owners should remember that each dog breed will take different time and Energy, as the whole training process depends on your dog’s personality. If you’re not confident enough to train your dog for hunting independently, then it is better to seek a professional hunting dog trainer. However, remember that whatever your dog learns with the trainer, you should repeat it at home to make your pup more used to it.
To sum up, raising a hunting dog is quite a lot of effort and responsibility. However, they turn into super bright and intelligent animals. If your dog is well-trained for hunting, it means he is aware of your commands, is used to obedience, is a quick thinker, and makes a perfect partner for not only hunting but your daily life!