In today's world of technology, I feel we are spending much more time
e-mailing and texting with one another. Actually talking to people seems like a
rarity. It's as though humans have lost some one-on-one communication
skills. The act of talking to someone in person, even over the phone, is quickly becoming a lost skill. Our socialization
skills are on a downfall!
I have personally witnessed this in my business of training dogs when
people will e-mail numerous times with questions, and each time I e-mail back, to please call me so we can discuss options. However, I still get one or two e-mails prior
to an actual conversation.
While the lack of personal communication seems inevitable with people, we still must make an effort to communicate with our dogs, especially
puppies, to ensure a better hunting dog and pet.
Let's begin with taking a 7- or 8-week-old puppy home. The most important
thing you can first do with any young gundog is getting it outdoors a lot.
Obviously your pup will get introduced to your house and yard with you and your
family; however, I tell owners to make conscious efforts to take their puppy on
car rides, walks in parks and to any other event that includes other people and/or
Go To Obedience Class
One event that will kill two birds with one stone is a puppy obedience class.
Now these are normally conducted at a pet store by employees or trainers, but
some community programs are available. Many kennels
will conduct them as well and they can be a great training tool for any young dog.
These classes not only will teach you, the owner, basic fundamentals on
training, but just as important, introduces your puppy to a new environment
with other people and dogs. Don't feel bad if your dog may not do well with the
obedience part of things, since the socialization aspect is as important as any
commands your dog will learn. The optimum age for these
classes range between 4- and 8 months of age.
Leaving your dog with a professional is another ideal way to help your dog
mature. This too can get you both socialization results, and some sort of
training as well. I take dogs into our Bird and Gun Introduction program as
early as 20 weeks of age to get them introduced to live birds and also integrate
gunfire. I always tell people that the getting away from your backyard is as
important as the gun-breaking process that takes place during those two weeks.
One nice thing we do is not only work dogs individually, but as a group as
well. The "competition factor" that is created by working dogs in a group not
only generates desire, but acts as a great atmosphere for getting along with
Following these types of programs the socializing should continue by getting
your dog to a game farm or preserve setting. Again, this should be an
area that the dog is not familiar with and you can continue the bird work by
flushing and shooting birds. I recommend making this first trip a short, successful one by only going out for about an hour. Putting out a half-dozen birds
and possibly "flagging" them will ensure success. Don't go with any other dogs
at this point and maybe only take one buddy with to help shoot the birds. This
should make sure not only your dog is successful, but you are too.
All these ideas are something that should be accomplished the first 6- to 8
months you have your puppy. You have just a small window of opportunity to get this done. Make sure you make the best of it by getting your dog in
a variety of environments to help it get socialized. This will help make your
future hunting partner a more mature gundog and will build confidence needed to
be a great one!
Shop The Sportsman's Guide for a great selection of Dog Supplies/Training Aids!
Jason Dommeyer has a lifetime
of hunting experience and more than 15 years experience as a dog trainer. He has turned
many pets into expert hunting dogs at Cannon River Kennels (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/)
In addition to training hundreds of hunting companions, he has trained dogs for
premier pheasant hunting lodges in South Dakota along with duck hunting lodges
in Mississippi and Mexico. His experience also includes both hunting and
guiding for upland and waterfowl game from Canada to South America. If you have any questions, Jason can be reached at 507-663-6143 or visit (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/). He provides dog training tips twice a month.