If you've ever seen a hunter with his dog, you know that the bond between them is very strong. The hunting dog listens and responds to every command quickly and precisely. This takes time to accomplish but is well worth it.
Retrievers: Dogs such as the Labrador retriever and the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever have been bred over hundreds of years to be good gun dogs. This doesn't mean, however, that it is any easier today to get them to work than it was back then. The Basic Commands: Instructions on a basic level, such as Whoa, No, Kennel, Sit and Come, are necessary for the dog to be completely familiar with. It is vital that your dog know and obey each of these commands before field training can commence. If your dog doesn't follow your commands when he is on a leash, he definitely would not obey when he is off his leash and running free. Do not try to train your dog at home; he needs a realistic situation out in the field.
Transition To The Field: When your dog becomes skilled with those particular orders, and you have taught him not to be afraid of the noise that a gun makes, then you can begin training in the field. Begin with dummy training. Your dog must learn that he is meant to retrieve, and dummy training is the best method for teaching this. Dummy Training Methods: Be sure to choose a dummy that is suitable to your dog. Dummies may be made of plastic or fabric and some are made to look like game birds. You'll know he's ready when your dog has learned to gently retrieve the dummy without shaking or damaging it.
Sometimes the dog won't touch the real bird at first, and you will have to go back to the dummy adding feathers and streamers onto it to resemble the game bird you will be hunting.The streamers mimic movement of a bird when it isn't quite dead so that the real thing won't scare your dog off. Use Decoys: If your dog seems afraid when you ask him to retrieve a bird, transition to real birds slowly. You can use either a stuffed duck or a pheasant as a dummy decoy, so ask your local taxidermist for one.
Author Rebecca Foxton wants to help you bring your pet better direction with Gun Dog Training. For an excellent source of nutrition tips for pet owners, visit her FortiFlora article series on Dog Buffs.