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Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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As you walk, take your time and stop for several minutes to let the pup take his focus off of you and possibly find a good smelling scent on the ground behind you. It will be just a matter of time before you will stumble upon the right spot that will have such a tantalizing scent that you pup’s curiosity and genetic make-up causes him to smell and follow the scent, leading him further and further away from your feet.

The final stage of "field introduction" should take place in heavy and dense cover.
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As this begins to unfold just stand quietly and let junior investigate his new found scent. When he does finally realize that he is a little further away from you then he likes to be, give him lots of praise when he comes charging back to you for security. As time unfolds you will find that junior will start to enjoy using his nose to smell all of those great scents and he will begin to wander a little farther away from you each time afield.

During this time keep quiet and let him develop his nose for tracking scent. This is also a good time to discipline yourself on stopping and watching your spaniel when he puts his nose to the ground in search of game. Never disturb your pup with any sort of command when he has his head down and is interested in hunting or scenting game. Always wait until he has lifted his head and no longer interested in the track to prevent distracting him by intervening with a command.

However, this is also a good time to teach the pup his proper place in the field, as he wonders off looking for scent or chasing a flying butterfly. Always turn yourself, facing in the direction of the pup. Every time your pup looks up he will see the front of you. The pup will subconsciously learn that his place in the field is out in the front of you rather than behind you. Eventually, you will be able to walk forward in your desired direction and your spaniel will address you properly in the field.

Once developed, you can begin to teach your pup to change direction. At this point, I will start to introduce the whistle into the scheme of things. Timing is very important here. Wait until your pup has lifted his head and is not interested in investigating scent. Once your are certain, turn and walk in the opposite direction away from your pup. As you do this, hit the recall whistle to get your pup’s attention. You will be surprised on how quickly he will pick up on this and run charging past you to get out in front of you again.

The final stage of this type of field introduction should take place in some heavy and dense cover. This is the time to teach the youngster to take his proper place in the field in heavy cover. You will find that the pup will be very setback by this type of intimidating cover. I would not be surprised if junior will resort back to being a “heal hound” for the first few times he is in such cover, letting you lead the way through the underbrush.
Not to worry, be very patient. Keep quiet and by all means do more stopping and waiting than walking. Allow your pup time to find out that there are some very interesting scents in this overwhelming cover and give him time to investigate them. In no time at all you will have positively introduced your young spaniel to the field. Additionally, you will have not starved them from developing their natural ability to their full potential.

Simple concepts used during the early stages of a spaniel’s life can assist in making that wonderful productive field dog and family companion.
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