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Tips for Training Hunting Dogs

Do you own a hunting dog that needs training for hunting? Dogs go particularly well with range practice or crossbow hunting as they can be easily trained to go pick up your crossbow bolts or arrows. Go checkout our sponser Bowauthority’s best crossbows selection for tips on hunting crossbows/arrows! Anyway, if your dog is a hunting breed like Golden Retriever or Labrador then you’re already on the right track. However, the next step is to train your pet pooch properly so they’ll be ready for the next hunting trip. Here are some helpful tips:

1. Handling methods
There are various methods you can use for improving the dog’s comprehension of handling through whistles and signals. The handler should be at “home plate” and the dog at the “pitcher’s mound.” You can then train the dog to go right (first base) or left (third base), or second (“back” command) to look for hidden bumpers. One goal is to encourage the dog to run after the bumper that it should retrieve first.

This is practical because if there are two birds you’ll want it to seek a crippled one before the dead one. That will reduce the bird’s chance to escape. Handling can help to achieve your mission. You should also provide a clean delivery of the bird or bumper. Don’t allow you’re canine to drop the object it’s retrieving or play with it. It’s important for the bumper/bird to be brought right to the handler.

2. Marking drills
They don’t have to be done in big open water or open fields. After your dog is marking well you just need 2-6 marks per day. A good idea is to use more complex marks in areas like woodlands. You could toss bumpers from cover into fields or vice versa. It’s important to train the dog to hunt the cover, grass, or edge of water. That’s because a shot/wounded duck usually goes towards cover.

You should also add marks so the dog must go over barriers. Some examples include fences, ditches, or water. These are situations the dog will have to handle while in the field so it’s an effective way to train your dog for real hunting situations.

3. Work on steadiness
There are various steps you can take to keep your dog steady. There are various methods you can use. For example, you can use clay targets and toss a bumper every 5-6 shots. However, only one dog is allowed to retrieve the bumper and there’s only 2-3 retrieves for each canine per session.

Another option is to use mechanical bird/bumper launches. This allows the dog to retrieve the bumper only when he gets the green light from the handler. In the case your dog tends to run at the sound of a gunshot or rising bumper you can add a lead to the collar of the retriever. This will help to steady the pooch during those situations. This can help to teach the retriever it shouldn’t run until after the handler releases him.

4. Straight lines
It’s important the line the dog runs towards a mark is as straight as possible to limit how much handling is required. The key is for the dog to hold lines. Dogs fad based on things like natural barriers, wind, ditches, etc. It’s important to train the dog to run through barriers. It’s important for the dog to run in a clean line.

You could add natural/man-made straight lines to the training. They can be options like buildings for fencerow. In both cases its better of line is longer. First, place the canine in a sit potion. Then throw a bumper that’s parallel to the building/fence. This will help to prevent the dog from scampering wide. The fence is effective since it will help to train the dog to run deep. It’s critical for the dog to run in straight alones along the fence/building.

5. Start with basic obedience
This should be a key part of your training during the off season. That includes the basics like:

• Heel
• Stay
• Sit
• Whistle


These are some of the keys that you should work on. Just about any dog should be taught these commands anyway but it’s important to make sure your dog knows them so he’s ready for hunting season.

There’s more! Since duck hunters often have to walk through water of different depths it’s a good idea to also train your dog in order to keep them in control when you’re wading through the water. This will help to make sure they’ll stay beside you when you’re walking through deep water.

It’s important to train the retriever to sit for long periods of time. That could be on water stands, stumps, and in water. The summer is an excellent time to work on the obedience drills and will prepare your pup for the hunting season.