Best Hunting Dog Training Books in 2021
Tom Dokken's Retriever Training: The Complete Guide to Developing Your Hunting Dog
Training the Versatile Hunting Dog
Training Bird Dogs with Ronnie Smith Kennels: Proven Techniques and an Upland Tradition
Game Dog: The Hunter's Retriever for Upland Birds and Waterfowl - A Concise New Training Method
Sporting Dog and Retriever Training: The Wildrose Way: Raising a Gentleman's Gundog for Home and Field
Water Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method
How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves, Taking Advantage of Early Condtioned Learning
Absolutely Positively Gundog Training: Positive Training for Your Retriever Gundog
Gun Dog: Revolutionary Rapid Training Method
The German Shorthaired Pointer: a Hunter's Guide
How to Train Hunting Dogs
Hunting dogs can be a great asset to hunters and they're a special breed of dog. They should be purchased as puppies so they can be trained for the specific type of hunting you intend to do.
Obedience training is your first step. Start with the basic commands such as sit, stay and heel. This is the time to form a bond with your dog by using kindness and discipline to teach him how he should respond to you. Give him praise when he obeys your commands and discipline him when he don't but never be mean to your dog. He needs time to learn what he is supposed to do and that a positive response merits praise. If necessary, you can purchase a dog training collar to help teach him how to follow commands but if you do, use it responsibly.
Teach Him Hand Signals
You can't always use verbal commands when you're in the field so it's important to teach your hunting dog hand signals. Many times the dog will even respond to hand signals better than verbal commands because they tend to respond better to what they see especially when they're excited. Begin teaching him hand signals while teaching him the verbal commands and it will help them to understand while reinforcing the commands. A dog trained to respond to hand signals will focus on you more so they will be less distracted making it easier to train.
Diet and Exercise
In order for your hunting dog to perform the way he should out in the field, he needs to receive proper diet and exercise. Never over-feed your dog and make sure the foods you do feed him are providing him with the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients needed for him to be health. Your hunting dog needs exercise to stay fit and healthy. Take him out even in the off-season so he can get the exercise he needs and to keep him familiar with the area.
Teach Him Retrieval Techniques
Hunting dogs need to learn how to retrieve properly. This is a very big part of their training. Begin training them with a bumper (an object designed specifically for this task) or use a ball, rope some other object. The first step of training dog retrieval techniques will be much like teaching him to play fetch. After he gets the initial idea you can advance the training by placing the object in a certain area and telling him to go get it. Not only does he need to know how to find the object and bring it back but he also needs to learn how to handle it properly so he won't destroy the game when bringing it back to you in the field.
Take Him Out in the Field
Now it's time to take your hunting dog out in the field for some firsthand experience. Be patient with your hunting dog and work with him using the commands you've taught him. It may take a few trips for him to make the connection between the training and actually hunting but this will partly depend on the type of hunting dog you have and his background. You can also pair him with older more experienced dogs and this will help him instinctively pick up on some of their skills.