If you have all the objects that I talked about in the first part of this article (if you missed it, it’s on this page above this article), and you feel you have your dog retrieving well, it may be time to introduce your dog to gunfire.
I normally recommend using a blank .22 pistol that can be purchased at most sporting good stores. For an investment of around $25, you can acclimate your dog properly to firearms.
With Blank .22 Pistol
Most people believe that banging a 12-gauge shotgun over their young dog at the trap range is the best way to get their dog used to gunfire. However, this is a great way to create GUN-SHYNESS! Begin by using the blank pistol when throwing those fun objects for your dog. Start by holding the gun behind your back the first night and slowly bring it out over the dog’s head when throwing. This should take you a few nights of retrieving work. Do not try and go too fast!
By the end of the first week, you should be able to shoot multiple rounds off during the retrieving, and you can then move to a low caliber shotgun. After a couple of weeks, your dog will be looking for a retrieve when it hear a gunshot!
Your dog is now at the point where you can probably start to get more demanding with your control. Normally, dogs are gun broke around 5- to 6 months of age, or after they have lost their puppy teeth, and will be entering what I call their “teen-age” years. During this time dogs start to get more independent and more defiant. This is when you have to establish that you are the boss. The leash, check cord, and choke chain will play an important role during this phase of training.
Make sure you start to increase some of the corrections as you see fit, when doing your drill work. Begin to demand commands such as “heel,” “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This also is the time when you should decide whether or not you will use a remote collar to train your dog.
Remote Collars Are Improved
I would like to say something about remote collars. They cannot teach a dog anything; they can only reinforce something the dog already knows. That is a common mistake people make with remote collars. They think that these devices are “cure-alls” when in reality, the dog still has to be manually taught each command before one can expect a remote collar to be effective.
Also, remote collars, which are commonly referred to as, “shock collars,” got a bad name when they initially were introduced 25 years ago. The reason for that is when they first came out, they had one intensity level, and it was hot! Dogs were often heard yelping with each correction. Like I mentioned before, remote collars, as I refer to them as, have made huge advancements since they were first introduced.
Today’s collars are safer, more durable, and so advanced that we can control intensity levels of each correction, right from the transmitter. Some collars have either tones or vibrations that allow the handler to communicate with the dog without using the electrical stimulus. There are even collars that will help locate your dog in thick cover along with running releaser systems used to hold birds! Keep in mind though, that even with all this technology, the dog still has to be taught hands-on each command before trying to use the remote collar.
There is a lot more equipment I could mention, but I think if you can concentrate on the basic equipment first, you can get a good foundation to training your dog. These items will not cost you an arm and a leg either. For under $100 you can purchase the choke chain, leash, check cord, blank pistol, and fun dummy. These supplies are “essentials” for training any hunting dog.
For a fine selection of Dog Supplies, click here.
Jason Dommeyer has a lifetime of hunting experience and 15 years experience as a dog trainer. He has turned many pets into expert hunting dogs at Cannon River Kennels (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/) In addition to training hundreds of hunting companions, he has trained dogs for premier pheasant hunting lodges in South Dakota along with duck hunting lodges in Mississippi and Mexico. His experience also includes both hunting and guiding for upland and waterfowl game from Canada to South America. If you have any questions, Jason can be reached at 507-663-6143 or visit (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/) He provides dog training tips weekly.