You’re up bright and early to creep through the fields, a shotgun on your back and your trusty canine pal at your side. Nothing bonds man and dog more than a good old-fashioned hunting trip. But when you take aim and fire at the bird on the horizon, finding it afterward can be half the battle. You know it went down, you saw it hit the ground, but there’s over a hundred feet of dense grass and bush to navigate before you find it. If you had a bird dog with you though, who could hunt and catch birds, well your hunting trips might prove a bit more fruitful.
Not only will a bird dog help you hone in and bring down your prey, but he’ll make the retrieval process smooth as well. If that means a tasty and free pheasant for lunch, what have you got to lose?
Training your dog to hunt birds won’t be like training him to sit, or lie down. It will be challenging and require patience and persistence. The challenging part comes from bringing out his natural instincts in a controlled fashion. Rigorous obedience training will be needed to keep a handle on your hunting companion. If he’s a puppy, he should be receptive and eager to learn. He could respond to training in just 3 weeks. If he’s older and not quite the energetic intellectual he was in his youth, then be prepared to spend up to a couple months training.
Succeed with this training and you’ll have a dependable hunting partner who will effectively help you catch and retrieve prey. Training of this nature will also help you assert yourself as the pack leader and make teaching him any number of other things easier too.
Before you both head out to tackle birds and game, you’ll need to gather a few things. Decoy birds and bird scent will be needed to familiarize him with birds initially. You’ll also need a generous supply of treats or his favorite food to motivate him.
Ensure you can set aside 15-20 minutes a day, each day, for the duration of training. Consistency is key, so the more regularly you train, the quicker you will see results.
Then just bring a good degree of patience and a can-do attitude and you’re ready to get to work!