Have you ever gone hunting with a friend and his well trained dog? You watch in admiration as the dog races toward the lake and makes his way right to the bird floating in the water. He retrieves duck after duck with a look of sheer joy on his face, all while you remain dry in your duck blind, happily watching the dog perform his job with great enthusiasm. A hunting dog is a partner in a hunt, right by your side, helping you, and keeping you company.
Wouldn't you like to have your own partner when you go hunting? A hunting dog can be a furry companion who can assist you and enjoy the long hours of those early morning hunts with you. Training a hunting dog requires a lot of time and effort, but for those who love to hunt, the sport is well worth the effort. Many hunters also discover that they are trainers at heart and that they enjoy working with their dogs almost as much as they do hunting.
Before your dog can be a safe asset on your hunts, he needs to learn obedience skills, confidence around water, birds, and gunfire, and he needs to have a natural instinct to retrieve and to want to work. The amount of time that it takes will largely depend on your dog's temperament, your own skills and investment of time as a trainer, and the level of excellence that you are desiring in your pup. On average, you can expect it to take between six and twenty-four months to generally prepare your dog to be a safe and helpful hunting companion.
Which method is best for your pup will depend on his temperament and instincts as well as your own preferences. If your dog is more timid and needs encouragement around birds, then the 'Birds' method might be best for him. If your pup is very enthusiastic but tends to lack self-control, then the 'Obedience' method can help you lay a solid foundation and boundaries for him. The 'Bumper' method is a middle ground between the other two methods, emphasizing both obedience and natural drive fairly equally.