How to Train a Puppy to Hunt

By Albert Howard

A reliable rifle, quality ammunition and a good hunting dog are the wish of every hunter. Hunting dogs have always been important assistants of the hunters. There are numerous breeds of dogs developed for different types of hunt. Hunters choose a particular breed depending on their needs and their preferences.

There are people who prefer to buy an already trained hunting dog. However most hunters believe that it is best to buy a puppy and make it grow into a loyal companion not only in hunting, but in family as well.

Knowing that hunting dogs have a mild character, and a natural tendency to support their owner, they are rather easy to train.

Choosing the Puppy

Amongst various hunting dog breeds one should get to know their features before deciding which breed to choose. Depending on the temperament, character, size, type of coat and the kind of hunt, a hunter will know which is the most suitable breed for him.

It is mostly recommended to seek the reputable breeders in order to make sure that the puppy will be healthy and with hunting quality. When choosing the puppy it may help very much to have a piece of advice by someone who is familiar with the breed. There are breeders who are confirmed to produce good quality dogs. It is warmly advised to buy a puppy from them.

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When is the Right Time to Start Training the Puppy?

Almost all dog trainers will agree that the training should begin immediately from the moment when the puppy is taken from the litter. In other words, everything the owner does with the puppy is a part of the learning process. The socialization  starts from the first bonding between a young dog and his owner.

Getting to Know the World – the Primary Socialization

While being in the litter the young dog depends on its mother and is familiar with rather limited space and company. Once the puppy is taken from the known environment, the first thing the owner should do is create a relationship of trust with his new dog. 

A new puppy should be free to play and to explore. The owner is teaching the puppy new habits through playing and with a lot of patience. The commands should be introduced one at the time. 

The next step is getting to know other dogs, people, public places and open space.

Learning the Skills for Hunting

As soon as the bond of trust is created, the owner can start taking the puppy to the hunting ground and introduce it to water. The younger the puppy, the better. 

At first the training sessions should be shorter, allowing the puppy to explore the terrain at its own pace. The locator collar may be very useful to keep up with the puppy. A wide variety of collars and other accessories for the training may be found at  Natchez rifle ammo . As the training goes forward the sessions become longer.

Special Set of Skills for the Waterfowl Hunt

The next level of training is mastering the set of skills that the dog is using while assisting the hunter. The waterfowl hunt requires the dog to know to sit, to stay, to retrieve from water and to be used to being on board in the boat. The puppy will learn one skill at the time, beginning from simple ones. Every favorable behavior should be rewarded, while the unwanted behavior should be followed by denying the approval. Any kind of physical punishment is strongly not recommended.

The Contact with the Game

The puppy should get familiar with the scent of the game it is supposed to search for and retrieve. 

The most recommended way to make the first contact with the game is to introduce the cold dead pigeon to the puppy. It is better to use the dead bird, because a live pigeon is moving and it can scare the puppy. 

As a kind of a play puppy should react positively when it feels the scent of the pigeon. It is very important not to allow the puppy to shake or chew the pigeon. The most favorable reaction of the puppy is smelling the bird and then carrying it in the mouth. This game of finding the cold pigeon should be repeated as often as possible.

When the young dog has mastered the basic obedience, knowing to stay and sit, and coming when called, it can be introduced to the real hunt. 

Getting Used to the Real Hunt

The first step is to get the dog used to the sound of gunshot. Well-bred hunting dogs have a natural predisposition not to be afraid of the gunshot. However, the first experience of hearing it must be conducted with care. 

The owner should bring the young dog to the terrain while people are hunting and make the dog hear the shots from a distance. The natural reaction is raising the ears and turning in the direction of the gunshot with curiosity. Once the owner is sure that the dog has no fear , both can come closer to the hunting ground and proceed with observing. Every positive reaction should be rewarded with cuddles and praises.

Then it is the time for the dog to start hunting.

The most important is to relax, to observe the puppy and to take one step at the time.

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