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Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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"Here", "Sit"..."Give" in the field where it counts.
Photo by: Author
The seasoned dog can also have a calming influence when introducing the puppy to the sight and sound of the gun. If your dogs are like ours, a visit to the gun cabinet is enough to draw them out of lethargy and get them off their beds in anticipation. Puppy notices this and wonders what’s the big deal. He hops and jumps around the others and seems to make the association that something fun just could be in the offing. “So, what’s up, guys? What’s up?” When he is gradually exposed to gunfire and notes the behavior of the older dogs, he knows there is nothing to fear.

Those owners who want a dog to retrieve can let their young student sit by and watch the experienced animal doing dummy work. By the time pup gets his turn the procedure is all figured out and he is anxious to do what the big one has demonstrated.

When training in the field, the young dog will follow along, using his nose where he sees others using theirs. A spaniel will follow a spaniel and learn to quarter from the master. The pointers and retrievers will pattern themselves after their own. Even if you have one type of dog in your household and plan to add something different when you get a puppy, they are compatible under the same roof and many lessons are there to be experienced as long as they are not hunted together. In this author’s household we have an English Setter, a German Shorthaired Pointer, and two field bred English Cockers. It’s working just fine and there’s a whole lot of education going on - a little hilarious bedlam, too.

Patience and trying very hard not to do everything at once seems to pay off. Aren’t we often too anxious to have our pups properly trained YESTERDAY? Maybe leaving some of it to the other canines under our direction can save time and effort in the future, plus we haven’t squelched any of that natural exuberance and enthusiasm that automatically comes with being a puppy. It doesn’t seem to hurt the other dogs either. They have fun, reinforce their own training, and bond with their new family member - nothing wrong with that.

And since we’ve reached the end, let’s speak of it. We’ve indoctrinated three puppies in our home in the last four years and housebreaking them has been of no consequence. Our puppies go outside the house with their housemates - they go AWAY from the house with their housemates - and they DO IT. Junior watches Senior and gets the idea. No cleanups in our house. What more can I say!

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