Ways & How

how to train hunting dogs

how to train hunting dogs

Training any kind of pet at home is very challenging. The same is true for any breed of dog. In case hunting is your kind of sport, there are a few things you need to realize about how to train hunting dogs in a not-so-hard way. When your hunting dog is moving in accordance to your commands, then you are certain that your hunting experience will be more fun and full of exciting actions. Know that there are at least 24 dog breeds identified as trainable to become great hunting dogs when they grow up. Remember, you cannot find a single newborn dog that is already good at hunting. Thus, you have to exert effort, time, patience, persistence, and dedication in training your dog to become a great hunter. To do so, follow these steps.

  1. Thoroughly research various breeds of dogs. Both Labrador Retrievers and Springer Spaniels breeds are often times chosen to hunt waterfowl. There are some who prefer the Golden Retriever breed. Because your aim is to train your dog to hunt and track, a dog with an excellent sense of smell is a great choice.



    When you have finally chosen a dog, know the necessary degree of care. While there are dogs that are simply sedentary, there are also those that require much wider space to run around all day.

  2. Start with your chosen puppy. Generally, puppies are much easier to train and develop compared to adult dogs. At best, you can start training her during her formative days when she is 50 to 70 days old. During this time, your dog is very receptive; hence, you can condition her to be very loyal, and you two will be specially bonded as the best of friends. You can teach her different hunting styles, which she’ll surely retain in her mind.

  3. The physical condition and proper nutrition of your puppy are equally important. Apart from providing healthy dog food without necessarily overfeeding her, you should give her fresh water to drink. Working dogs need a lot more liquids than inactive ones. Also, engaging her to do basic physical exercises is highly advisable during the off season.

  4. Introduce basic commands. Instructions like sit down, stay, heel, and come here are part of the basic commands you can initially teach her. The way to train her to inherently respect you is to be kind while you apply disciplinary rules. The basic orders mentioned form the foundation for later training with complex hunting styles.

    Make praising gestures any time she executes your commands. For example, when you are teaching her the command “sit down,” you should have food over her head while you slowly press on her rear legs. As soon as she is able to do it right, give her the food. Repeat the same routine as often as possible, and you will see that she will naturally follow your command even without any treats at hand. Know also that hunting by scent is much better than hunting by eyesight, which means “dogs may not see everything but they can smell almost anything.”

  5. Practice more and use more dummies and decoys. Going into waterfowl training is really enjoyable. This will help your dog be acquainted to the kind of climate she will be dealing with by the time you start hunting.

    With decoys, it is necessary that you allow your dog to distinguish between a decoy and the real thing. Set the decoy and then throw away the dummy. Give your dog time to find the dummy. Watch to see if she is able to identify which one is the decoy and which one is the real bird.

  6. Follow a reward system. While you allow your dog to explore more with retrieving games, make sure she understands that whenever she performs well, she will get a corresponding reward. For instance, when you throw a decoy into the water and she is able to get it back for you, do some positive gestures to inform her she did great job.

  7. Try out practice hunting action with your dog. You should do a kind of pre-hunting experience so as to enhance the abilities of your dog. Go on simulated hunts so that your dog becomes used to hunting with guns. Before going into the actual field, it is much better if your dog is already equipped to deal with actually hunting.

You see, it is not really much of challenge training your dog. One thing for sure, once you go through the steps above on how to train hunting dogs, at the end of the day you will realize that indeed your dog is not just your best friend but your best hunting buddy. It is guaranteed that your outdoor adventure will be a complete experience as long as you are with your great hunting dog.  

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