What about our bird dog best friend? Yes, we will give him/her some well-deserved rest. However, the off season is also a great time to work on problem issues that “reared their head” during the past season.
Following is a list of a few common faults experienced by hunters/handlers during a hunting season:
Incomplete Retrieve - Dog drops bird part way through the retrieve or outright refusal to retrieve. Now is a great time to work on the conditioned retrieve or what is commonly called “force fetch training”.
Staunchness on Point – Dog creeps into bird after establishing point. This will lead to pre-mature flushes by the dog rather than the hunter/handler. Most often bird flushes out of gun range.
Quartering in the Field – Dog runs aimlessly hunting for itself, often going behind hunter/handler or way out of gun range. Common with flushing dogs.
Obedience – Inconsistent response to commands; either verbal or whistle. Now is the time to train your dog to respond consistently to your commands.
These are just a few of the issues we all deal with during the season. The “off season” a great time to work on these issues.
In addition, maintaining proper conditioning is important. Not only for your dog but for you as well! A daily exercise regimen of walking or maybe some retrieving drills is a great way of keeping you both in shape. Ramp things up about 6 weeks before the hunting season. “Roading” your dog with on a bicycle works well. Water work with training dummies is great exercise. Both you and your dog should be in shape once the “opening bell” sounds for the hunting season.
Check in next month and we’ll discuss how you can solve the problem issues mentioned above. See you then.
CJ & Shawnee