Love to hunt doves, ducks, turkeys and other fowl but getting tired of having to retrieve your own birds? Maybe your hunting buddies have dogs that have been trained to dove hunt and now you are planning to buy a pup to train. But, if you want your dog to become your best hunting buddy, you will need to invest in a certain amount of training. Even the best retriever had to be taught how to do what they should know how to do instinctively.
The good news is that, for the most part, training your dog to dove hunt is very similar to teaching him how to play fetch. But at the same time, like any other type of training, you need to be patient as it can take some time before your furry friend knows what he is expected to do and will bring back your kill every time unmolested.
This task is a little more complex than most as your dog will need to know how to track the quarry as it falls to the ground, how to find it on the ground, how to pick it up, and how to bring it back to you in one piece. Before you can teach your dog to "hunt" he must know the basic commands, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, ‘fetch’, and ‘heel’. As always, be sure to reward good behavior with treats and plenty of praise. Your dog will also need to be used to the sound of gunshots at close quarters.
To do this, start by having an assistant hold your dog while you go far enough away for your dog to hear your gunshots. Watch how he reacts to it and keep moving in until he gets used to the noise. You won't be able to hunt with him until he can sit or lie next to you without moving a muscle when you pull the trigger. Be patient as this can take a while, depending on your dog's breed and nature.
To start with your dog needs three things: to be comfortable being out in nature, to be comfortable going out in and swimming in water, and to be unfazed each time you pull the trigger. At the same time, you are going to need a few things of your own. These include a quiet place to start the training, an area with doves, your shotgun and shells, training decoys, and plenty of treats and patience.
If you are going to train your dog to hunt doves, you must work with him to ensure he knows how hard to bite down on his prey so that he does not damage your birds. You may also find it helps to use more than one training method to ensure your pup knows exactly what to do in most situations. One last thing to keep in mind is that it could easily take several hunting seasons before your pup masters the fine art of hunting with you. Finally, always make sure you bring plenty of water and find a shady place to wait.
I am about too buy a black lab that I want too make my hunting dog
What age should it be when I start training it ?
Hello Grant, I would recommend starting as early as eight or nine weeks on basic obedience, like come and sit, socialization, to get him comfortable around different people, animals, sights, sounds, surfaces, and environments. Before he has his shots you can carry him places to get him used to things and let him explore in areas where other dogs haven't been. Contact with the ground where other disease carrying animals have been is how he can catch things like parvo, so avoiding contact with the ground should protect him from most things while allowing him to go places with you. You can also introduce him to water and frozen dead birds or bird wings at a very young age also, to prevent fear of them. Keep the training positive and fun for the first six months. At six months of age can you start on more drill-like serious training, but continue to make it as fun as you can. If you start right away with foundation work like socializing and obedience, then by six months of age your puppy could know things like come, sit, down, out, confidence around obstacles, birds, and water, and even early scent work. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?