Training a dog to hunt can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility that ends with an exasperated trainer and a sadly confused dog. While there are many techniques to train a dog to hunt, much of what is taught depends on the game being hunted. Even the particular breed of dog is critical in the process. Use the following tips to properly train a dog to hunt.
- Skill level:
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Determine the game being hunted. Dogs trained for duck hunting might not be well suited for chasing rabbits, although many breeds can be taught to do several kinds of hunting methods.
Find a local trainer that can provide good assistance and guidance as the dog's education grows. Although it is possible to train a dog to hunt one on one, it is always best to have an experienced tutor to help smooth out the rough spots.
Teach a retriever to fetch at an early age. If the dog's job is to bring back game that has been brought down, begin teaching the dog at about 7 to 8 weeks old.
Keep a close eye on the dog at all times. Don't allow it to roam outside or even in the home without supervision. This will instill a sense of loyalty and respect for the trainer and allow the dog to understand that the trainer is master.
Train the dog to be crated. Although it may seem cruel, crate training a hunting dog provides a sense of security to the animal. Having a sanctuary to return to gives the dog a base of operations.
Praise the dog when training is going well and the animal is showing signs of true progress. Praise is the proper motivation when training a dog to hunt. Discipline only weakens the bond between trainer and trainee.
Tips and warnings
- Always be consistent in training. Hunting dogs need a clear and definable goal to feel secure. Any deviation from the norm will confuse the animal and result in frustration.
- Keep the dog healthy and well fed. A healthy, satisfied animal reacts more quickly and completes its job faster and with more determination.
- Train the proper animal for the specific kind of hunting or task. Consult books and local hunters for best results.
- Never strike or physically discipline a hunting dog. Failing this warning can result in serious injury.
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