You’re an avid hunter. You love nothing more than being out in God’s backyard with a rifle slung over your shoulder and your canine pal at your side. In fact, you’re a team. Your Labrador Retriever isn’t just there to keep you company. They help you locate and bring down prey. But to do that, your dog needs to be highly trained. In fact, for you to both be able to hunt successfully and safely, they need to be able to point. It is perhaps the most important command a gun dog must learn.
If you can teach them to point, firstly, you will have a good idea of where the prey is. But more than that, they will know to stay still until released. This means you can shoot over your Labrador Retriever’s head without having to worry they may somehow get caught in the crossfire.
Training your Labrador Retriever to point isn’t going to be without its challenges. In fact, this command requires a high level of control, which only comes from rigorous training. Ideally, you will start at a young age. You will then get them used to the hunting environment and gradually introduce obedience commands. You will use positive reinforcements in the form of treats and toys throughout.
If your Lab is just a puppy, they should be a fast learner. This means you could see results in a matter of weeks. However, if your Labrador Retriever is older and stubborn, then you may need several months before training yields consistent results. If you stick to training, you will have a formidable hunting companion and your chances of returning emptyhanded will be much slimmer. Finally, this type of training is simply a fantastic way to spend time with your canine pal.
Before you can start training them to point, you will need to gather a few items. You will need some prey decoy toys, which can be bought from online and local stores. You will also need a generous stockpile of treats. Alternatively, you can break their favorite food into small chunks.
You will need space to train too. A large yard will be a good place to start. However, you will later need local fields and their future hunting arena to train in. A whistle and a launcher will also be required.
Once you have all that, just bring enthusiasm and patience, then work can begin!