Another hunting season has come and gone. Oh, there are a few southern and southwestern states where the season lasts into February. Also, snow goose seasons are still underway. For most of us who live in the mid-west and high plains, another season is in the books.
However, our dogs are bred and born with hunting instincts that are ever present. They just do not turn them on and off. So what do we need to do for our “best friends”?
First of all, we can give them some rest and a trip to the vet for a checkup is good practice. However, a “cold turkey” stop in an exercise and conditioning program is not ideal. Let your dog get out and run every day if possible. Take them for a good long walk, which will benefit you as well. Now is the time to start working on those problem areas that came up during the season.
Take them on preserve hunts. Most upland preserves are open until the end of March. Frequent bird contact keeps your dog’s senses sharp. Yes, we all understand that preserve hunting is not like the real thing. However, it is much better than nothing at all!
Get involved in a sporting dog club. Many offer spring field trials that are an excellent way to keep your dog in shape. Most clubs have sources for training birds. They are great to use during the spring and summer months to keep your dog tuned up.
Keep up with some of those yard training drills you taught your dog. They not only provide a good form of exercise but are fun for your dog and you as well. This way you and your dog will have a good head start when serious conditioning begins in late summer.
Have a great off season and we’ll see you again next month for another training tip!
CJ & Shawnee