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We have different types of hunting dogs that perform specific purposes and tasks. These dog breeds are gun, cur type, terriers, and hound dogs. They are also specified according to their dogs’ competence and skillset. Dogs being natural hunters, it is believed that they already have inherent skills needed for hunting. You can increase the dog’s hunting skills by giving it the correct training and exercise. You can do this by using; toys, praise, and food. Your dog, just like you, needs stimulation and practice to keep their mental and memory fitness. Your hunting dog also needs to be both physically and mentally equipped if its going to be able to stay safe while hunting. Many dogs are injured by hogs while hunting just because they didnt have sufficient training. Here is an article we wrote recently about the dangers facing hunting dogs targeting hogs.
From Cute Puppy to a Full-Grown Hunting Dog
To have a fit hunting dog, keep it fit throughout its growing age. It is not a hard thing to achieve if you give the puppy your priority. You can give your puppy some exercise to help it grow into a well fit hunting dog. The best exercise you can ever give your dog is running. Take your puppy out daily for a run. You are preparing it to be a hunting dog. So the runways should be steep and wooden. While on the field, throw object ahead of it to retrieve. This will increase not only its speed, but also its eye focus. Other exercises include;
This is teaching your puppy how to fetch things for you. You can start by teaching it how to bring things like a toy or a ball. The starting distance of throwing the ball should be short and keep prolonging the interval as the dog gets used to retrieving. When it returns with the ball, give it enough praises and delightful treats. Later on, teach it to retrieve scents. You do this by having it extract a decoy having animal urine on it. This is to make it get used to retrieving items using fragrance. Do this away from large crowds until the puppy is strong enough and can’t get distracted as it retrieves objects. You can have water sections for retrieval, and dogs love to train using water as it gives them different kinds of training. Start by making the puppy retrieve the bird-like object from a small distance. Keep on increasing its length and check its retrieval speed. Its speed won’t be the same always, but keep it interested by patting it on the head after its training.
Look for a word that you will be using while in the field. Use this word to make the puppy come to you. Have a lot of praises and treats once the dog comes to you. This way, the puppy will learn that coming to you is worthwhile. Having learned the recall word, combine the three exercises of throwing an object, let the puppy retrieve the ball, ask it to wait before bringing back the object to you. Later on, let the dog come towards you by using the recall word.
Teach the puppy to stay before releasing it. Tell the dog to “stay” and show it using the palm of your hand. Take a step back and release it to come towards you. If it follows the instructions, swap it a treat. When it learns the tricks, now increase the distance you move away from it and the stay time before releasing it. Later on, you can combine the two exercises of retrieving and staying. Emphasize on the dog to retrieve the decoy when you release it by saying, “get it.”
This is an exercise where the puppy will have to search for things using their smell. Start this exercise with the puppy at a tender age. Hide its treats all over the garden and inside the house and let the dog search for them. Point out the search areas as it will not know what search means if you use the word in the beginning. As soon as it has sniffed the treat, make a big fuss. Go with the puppy to all the places you have hidden the gift and ask it to search for them. Soon enough, it will be used to the word search. From here, you will be confident enough to give your puppy a more complex search. Have the puppy search for a decoy by combining with the other two exercises; use the recall command to make the dog search for the bait. After fetching the decoy, use the stay command to let the dog stay with the decoy first before releasing it to bring it to you.
Teach your dog these concepts before going hunting with it. It will use the ideas to know when to search for the animal for you, when to stay still as you shoot the animal and when to fetch the animal and bring it to you. You can go with the puppy to the field to test if it has become familiar with the exercises. This will be easier for you as it will know when to stay, retrieve, and search for the prey you are hunting.
You can train your hunting dog at an early age to get used to loud sounds. Let the puppy get used to loud sounds before it is four months old. Like anything, it comes across before that age becomes a norm to it. Take your puppy early in the morning to the field, not for hunting or retrieving objects, use this time to make it used to the surrounding and gunshot noises. Don’t frighten the puppy during the first sessions, and you can stay with it while someone else is firing the shots. Give the puppy praises once it doesnt react to the shots, and it will learn to take the gunshot sounds positively.
Whats the Best Exercise to Do With Your Hunting Dog?
These are top four exercises for your hunting dog to do at home. They aim at preparing your dog for a successful field hunt and retaining its physical health. Exercise is essential for your hunting dog no matter what season it is. Give it enough training to not get disappointments of it collapsing after several retrievals. The exercise helps in building the dog’s stamina, gives it a healthy and balanced body, which is suitable for hunting. And primarily you ar exercising in order to build a relationship between you and your best friend and partner in hunting – the dog.
Hunting and retrievals not only happen on land but also in water. Prepare your dog for this by training it on how to swim and making it be at ease whenever it comes across water. This is another excellent workout for your dog as it makes your dog’s joints and bones flexible. Swimming should take place on a hot day to prevent the dog from having heatstroke while working out. As just any other exercise, start at shorter distances and pace while increasing it over time. To ensure that your dog is active in the water, toss a decoy and let it retrieve it. This will not only break its boredom but will increase the dog’s swimming speed. There should be a lot of treats and praises to give your dog assurance that it is doing things right.
Take a walk with the dog on grassy areas some miles. Rather than on asphalt or pavements as they are rough on the dog’s joints and paw pads, do the walking twice or thrice a week. Walk with the dog at a park, unfamiliar scenes, and through public places. This is to develop its interaction with people, and I am sure you won’t like situations where it gets afraid and barks at people or their dog. Before anything else, your dog’s mental ability is essential as much as it needs fitness. In case you have a bicycle, use it to make the dog run alongside you as you ride. Don’t ride too fast, not to make it lose the interest of the ride. Try to make it enjoy your company by tossing dummies ahead of you and let it run ahead and fetch it.
The trick here is always to start slowly as you increase the jogging pace. Pay attention to your dog’s signals, as it will tell you when it is burning out. Give it a break and pick up later on when both of you are ready to go. Run alongside your dog freely, as this will build both your stamina. This exercise is also useful for you. As both the hunter and the dog should be fit physically for the field.
Field Play and Faux Hunting
Get the dog to the field once or twice a week for some faux hunting. Take covers and let the dog off ahead of you to the bushy area as you trail behind as if you are hunting. Use your hand or whistle to direct the dog on where to go. Remember to praise the dog in every step it takes and how quick they are. This will boost the dog’s confidence that it is doing the right thing. Increase its quarters each time and use a whistle to let it know when it should turn back in your direction. There breeds of dogs that need intensified training daily. They should be given high training to make them sharp and not lazy for the actual hunting season.
Exercising Your Dog Without Leaving the House?
I found this great youtube-video that shows how you can exercise your dog without leaving the house, so check it out if you’re feeling lazy today!
Is the Exercise Any Different Depending on What Type of Hunting Dog?
Dogs are different, and also the kind of exercise you give them. No matter what type of dog you have, its activity should take around thirty minutes to two hours. You should start every training session slowly as pushing your dog to hard and fast will cause injuries. You may not notice it as dogs try to be persevere even when in pain. The last thing that you want to do is injure your dog. When creating an exercise schedule, consider the breed of hunt dog you have.
If your hunting dog breed is hound or retrievers. These breeds are sprint runners, and on a fateful day, if it is in good health, it should get another vigorous exercise like for thirty minutes apart from its daily activities. If it is the short-nose breed, bulldog, it won’t need extensive training as it becomes all grown. Just a minor walk around the field will be enough for it.
You should know your dog’s signals as to when it needs exercise. If its restless or pacing around, that means it needs some training. Just like we wear out after a busy day of work that requires our concentration and mental thinking, it is the same way dogs tire more quickly from mental stimulation than physical exercise. To have the best out of your hunting dog. try to balance both the physical and mental activity to bring the best out of it.
And remember that you also get a ton of training and exercise from preparing your hunting dog for the hunting season!
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.