Gun dog training programs are key components when it comes to training a puppy or older dog in the fine art of quail hunting or the perfect handling of other game birds that you harvest. Yet where can you find the right type of help? While plenty of kennels might hang out shingles that claim to assist with gun dog training programs, there are some features that are found only with high-quality facilities and expert trainers. Do you know what they are?
- An introductory phase. Contrary to popular believe, your pointer puppy will not take to retrieving pheasants like butter to a biscuit. Instead, the noise of the hunt, the shots of the guns and the dogs that accompany other hunters are major distractions – even for a puppy that comes from a long bloodline of established gun dogs. A quality training program understands that it takes your puppy a little time to get used to the commotion as well as to the training collars and other hardware. We allow it to sniff things out and investigate to increase prey drive.
- Owner perspective. Particularly if you are a newcomer to the sport yourself, you need a bit of a reality check. The romanticized images of the lone hunter with the dog carrying a perfectly presented duck during a dusk still shot are not really the reality. Instead, become familiar with the training levels other hunters have reached, see what dogs in your puppy’s age group are accomplishing and find out how other owners train their dogs to enhance their natural instincts. This is why group setting classes are a great way to start the training process.
- Experienced trainers. This is where the kennel with the haphazard shingle is the most different from the well-established gun dog training program. Experts in the discipline are thin on the ground. It is not enough for the training director to be a hobbyist who has partially trained a gun dog and has “seen it done” plenty of times. No, what you want is the professional who has been part of the training scene for years – preferably decades – and is training gun dogs for your type of hunting and not just focusing on passing tests.
Since you are wondering how to train a gun dog, talk to the friendly folks at Valhalla Bijou Hunt Club & Kennels. Contact us today for in-depth information on kennel rates, policies, reservations or just to tour the kennels for a closer look at what makes us different from the rest.