When you think of a hunting scene, what do you imagine? Perhaps you see a man in camouflage clothes, toting a rifle. Perhaps you see a proper British man in red jacket and knee high black boots on horseback. And probably, no matter how you picture the people, there’s a hunting dog nearby.
Dogs have been great companions to hunters for hundreds of years. They provide friendship, of course, but can also help a hunter be more effective in the field by tracking, flushing, pointing, and retrieving game.
When you’re training a dog to hunt with you, it’s important to make sure your dog is trained properly and knows exactly what’s expected of him in the field.
One tip that’s repeated over and over by trainers is to start your dog in training early. It’s much easier to train a puppy than a full grown dog. And by training early, you ensure more hunting time with a well trained dog.
The first piece of advice given to all dog trainers is to be patient. It takes dogs time to learn commands, and you shouldn’t expect too much too soon. After all, it takes humans time to learn new things, so why should you expect more from your dog?
Along with patience, you should make sure you introduce your dog to commands slowly. If you try to do too much at once, your dog will get overwhelmed, and you won’t get anywhere. This is frustrating to both you and your dog.
Consistency is another point that’s stressed to trainers. Once you decide what commands to use, whether they be verbal, hand gestures, or even whistles, make sure you stick to what’s set down. If you start training a dog to sit, for example, by saying “Sit,” and then suddenly make a whistling sound to command the dog to sit instead, your dog won’t know what you want, and you’ll set your training back.
Praising your dog for obedience and good behavior is a very good way to get results quicker. Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. If they know they’ll get positive attention, they’re more likely to repeat the behavior. Even if you think the good behavior is something “minor,” give your dog a friendly pat on the head and a “Good boy!” to let him know he’s doing a good job.
The proper training of your dog for the hunt is important. And while it may be a little overwhelming at first, patience, consistency, and praise can lead to a great hunting companion for any hunter.
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