A hunter’s best friend is his trusty dog that helps him on the hunt. You can have your dog help track game, fetch the kill and swim the pond to go collect the duck. You need to match the breed with the type of hunting that you are doing. Certain breeds are better matched for certain tasks. Don’t expect a dog that typically doesn’t like water to eagerly go swimming to fetch the duck. Pick a dog that was bred for squirrel hunting to help you hunt squirrel.
To a certain point, training is training. There are different dog training theories and you might try a few dog training classes to figure out which dog training style works best for you. You need to know how to effectively train a dog in order to get into specific tasks that will work for hunting. If you cannot get your dog to do anything at all, then you are going to need hands on support from a dog trainer to get things going. After the dog trainer gets you trained then you can start working with your dog by yourself. Many times it isn’t the dog that has the problem with learning, it is the owner who has a problem making themselves understood by the dog.
Best Dog Breeds for Hunting
First you need to decide which kind of hunting you are going to set your focus on. For best results, you need to match the breed to the type of hunt. If you are going to go duck hunting then you want a dog that is great in water. If you are hunting fox then get one that is an excellent tracker. For squirrel hunting find one that was bred to corner things and chase them up into the trees.
Best Dog Breed for Waterfowl Hunting
If you are hunting ducks or geese, you want a dog that loves being in the water. If you shoot the duck and it lands in the middle of the lake, are you going to want to swim out there and get it? If you need to crawl through the reeds and mud to flush out the bird, are you eager to do that? No, that’s your dog’s job, so get a retriever or a spaniel. They love to hunt and they have no problem jumping right into the water to do their job. In fact, they’d prefer to swim and chase things in swamps and ponds.
Best Dog Breed for Squirrel Hunting
When squirrel hunting is your thing, you need a dog that was bred for it. The Feist is bred to hunt small game and squirrels. Depending on which type of Feist you get, it’ll favor one breed over another in how it looks. Generally, the Feist is a mix of Rat Terrier, Dachshund and Jack Russell Terrier.
Best Dog Breed for Deer Hunting
It is the dog’s job to track the deer and chase it out where the hunter can get a shot at it. Another job of the dog is to find the deer that was shoot but took off running. The best breeds for deer hunting are the hounds. The American foxhound has become a favorite over the centuries. Hunters have used dogs in deer hunting since Europeans settled in the Americas.
How to Start Training Your Hunting Dog
No matter what type of hunting you are training for, it is best that you start with a puppy. The puppy is eager to learn and bond with you whereas older dogs might not be so energetic to get the job done the way you want it done. So, find a reputable breeder to get the breed of hunting dog that matches the kind of hunting you will be doing. Be sure to ask around about the reputation of the dog breeder to make sure you avoid puppy mill breeders.
If you are training for water fowl then introduce your puppy to the water right away and make it a fun activity. Show how much fun it can be to play in the water. Coax the dog into the shallow water in a safe and secure environment where nothing is likely to scare him.
Train Your Dog for the Basics
Sit, stay and come are your standard dog commands. So much in hunting will depend on those very things. Your hunting dog needs to be eager to do exactly what you tell it to do. He or she will absolutely have to sit and stay when told to do so and to come back with the kill if it is fetching small game for you. A hunting dog that stays out in the middle of the field and eats the pheasant isn’t much good to the hunter.
The complete Dunbar Collection of Dog Training can be very helpful for training your new puppy to get all the basics down pat. The collection includes books, videos and other supplies that you need to get your puppy well trained. If you want to just ease into training and start with one trick, this dog training class will help you teach your dog to bring you a tissue .
Training for Waterfowl Hunting
Once your dog has the basics down then it is time to start introducing duck decoys and real birds to your dog. Your dog needs to understand the difference between the decoy and the real bird so he knows which to go after. You can buy bird dummies and bird scent to teach what a real bird is. Have decoys set out in the yard then throw the dummy. Teach him to come back with the lifelike dummy, not the decoy.
If you will be using a boat during hunting, train the dog proper boating behavior. Take him out in the boat numerous times so he knows where he is supposed to sit and he gets used to being in the boat. Eventually start throwing the dummies from the boat and have him jump in to swim to fetch them and bring them back to you.
Reinforcement of Training
You always need to be consistent in your commands and actions so the dog has a clear understanding of what you want him to do. Always give treats or other positive reinforcement for a job well done and after training. A pat on the head and verbal praise can go a long way in reinforcing the behavior. Never ever beat a dog, throw things at him or do other negative actions if the dog gets the training wrong. Only reward him when he gets it right and be encouraging. Keep training clear, simple and a fun experience for the dog and he will learn fast.
Training the Dog to Track a Wounded Deer
It is a lot easier for a dog to find the deer you wounded than you. So, you need to train your dog to track the wounded deer and ignore all other deer. To do this you are going to need deer blood and a special harness.
Have a harness that is used only for tracking wounded deer. When the dog sees that harness, he will know what it is he is supposed to do. Every time you train the dog to track a wounded deer, put this harness on him.
You can save up deer blood and freeze it in little 2 ounce containers for use in training your dog. Wear gloves when you handle the blood so you are not adding your own scent to it. On training day, empty the 2 ounce container of deer blood into a gallon of water. Dress in hunter’s orange and pour a trail of that blood water in the field for at least 25 feet. At the end of the trail put a favorite treat. Take the dog out to the field, put on his special harness and have his own orange vest on him and tell him to track that deer. Do this once a day until he has that down.
Next, do the same but start adding twists and turns in the trail. Always keep a favorite treat at the end of the trail. You can also go in one direction then stop and go back so the dog will have to learn to backtrack and take another direction.
Eventually, once the dog has shown that he has all this training down, you can put a deer carcass at the end of the trail. After that he will know exactly why he is doing this training.
Training the Dog to Squirrel Hunt
Once your dog’s basic training is complete then you can start taking him out into the woods. You go to the woods to play but the real reason is to let him get used to what the woods are like. He should be checking out all the sights, smells and sounds of wildlife naturally. Play for about 30 minutes each time and then leave.
By six months old you can start hanging squirrel hides or squirrel tails in a tree. Encourage your dog to look up into trees so he will see them. He should learn that it is his job to look up into trees and not just track scents on the ground. Teach your dog that when he sees that squirrel he should bark to let you know it is there.
Anytime the dog chases a squirrel up a tree and barks at it to keep it there, reward him with his favorite treat. Once that squirrel is in the tree then you can get a good shot at the squirrel. Your dog gets the reward for getting that done.
Other Dog Training Information
If you want to learn more about different methods of dog training and getting the dog training basics down, you can take an online dog training class. Online classes are a very inexpensive and easy way to learn how to train your dogs.