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How To Properly Train Your Hunting Dog

By Charles Hopkins Published 12/9/2013 | Hunting

You have waited for hours. And when the moment comes and the buck is in sight, you carefully aim your firearm, eagerly awaiting the thrill of the kill. With your steady hands, you align your firearm to the vital portion of the deerís body, and when the moment is right, you fire. Bam! With excitement, you check the surroundings for the fallen body. But itís not there. Chances are, you hit the buck in a non-vital area. It was wounded, and is probably suffering, but it got the chance to run away. Of course, hunting etiquette requires that you search for the buck and finish off the job, to prevent any unnecessary suffering on its part. This is a rule that has been observed since the earlier days of the sport.

But all the buck would leave is a trail of blood. And under the hot summer sun, blood can dry up very quickly.

You Need A Hunting Dog

Things would be simpler, of course, if you have a good hunting dog by your side. Your hunting dog would track the scent of blood which evaporation wonít be able to get rid off, and your canine companion would lead you straight to the wounded game.

But good hunting dogs are not bought over the counter. They are trained. And simple training is often not enough. You should train them well so that they would provide the best results.

But how, exactly do you train a hunting dog?

Knowing The Right Breed

A hunting dog would be mostly used for tracking purposes. Hence, you need a dog from a breed that possesses a good sense of smell. Not only this, but you would want a dog from a breed that is highly trainable and is conditioned for outdoor activities. Labradors, basset hounds, dachshunds, curs, beagles and bloodhounds are great choices for hunting dogs.

Now, you canít just get a fully grown hunting dog. Such wonít have an affinity to his master. You need to develop a bond between you and your dog, because letís face it, you guys will be working together. As much as possible, choose a pup so that you could train the same for the roles you want him to play.

Indeed, investing on a hunting dog would require a lot of time and patience.

Conditioning Your Hunting Dog

You would have to train your dog how to be resilient against the rigors of the great outdoors. This would be easy, and it should be fun. Simply allow your dog to roam around an empty area outside of the house, with your supervision of course. This way, youíd be able to condition him for the running around and the climate that he will be exposed to come the start of the hunting game.

Do this regularly. This kind of conditioning isnít a onetime thing. It should be done as often as possible. But never forget to nourish your dog with the nutrients essential for its healthy development. And always give him a constant supply for fresh water, as he would be consuming a lot of fluids because of the extraneous activities he will have to undergo.

Send In The Scent

Naturally, you would want your hunting dog to learn how to track. If you want him to track deer, for example, try working out some activities that would help him learn how to track deer blood. Purchase a pint or two, and prepare a trail with a dog treat at the end. Allow your dog to follow the trails towards the dog treat. You might have to supervise the activity at first, but eventually, your dog would learn how to track the scent by himself.

Training your hunting dog is not as easy as it sounds. The mechanics may be simple, but the execution is often quite difficult. Just be patient. Shower your dog with love, and chances are, he will reward you with many years of faithful service.