In bird dog training, one of the most important things to consider before you start is to make sure that the one you want to train considers you as its Alpha dog. A lot of tasks are going to be performed not only during training but also in the actual act. It only follows that you have to train a dog that listens to you; otherwise, your time and effort will amount to nothing.
Show Your Dog Who’s the Boss
In demonstrating leadership, there are many things to consider. You should simply be the one to go first. You should not allow your dog to go first; let it follow you instead. Your pet should be able to conceive that you’re the one in charge. When you see your pet rushing out the door ahead of you when it sees you going out for a hunt or something, it is just displaying that it thinks it’s the one in charge; you should correct this behavior. The same is true when you are on your way home, you must lead with your pet behind you. This is just the way bird dog training works. It is establishing that you are in charge in the first place.
Never feed your dog before you take your own meal. It is a natural law that the leader of the pack should eat first before the lesser members do. You have to show to your dog that you have eaten your meal before you give it its share. This is to demonstrate that you don’t give your dog any of the food that is rightfully yours by the law of nature. This is part of letting your dog understand that it is not the one in charge. Don’t give your dog a chance to consider itself on top of the pecking order by allowing it to eat first.
You should not allow your dog to block your way, and if it is in your way, make it move to make way for you. In the same manner, you shouldn’t move when your dog wants to get past you; it should be the one to walk around you. This will help your dog understand its rank in the pack; this is a factor in training your pet to become an effective hunting partner.
Do not give in to your dog when it seeks your attention by barking or when it tries to persuade you to engage in a game with it. Remember that you are the one in control of the whole relationship and you have to set the rules and the decision to play should come from you. While it helps to play with your bird dog regularly in order to incorporate its task with play, but it is better if you put these matters into your hands just to be consistent that you are the one in charge.
Do not allow your dog to sleep on your bed with you. This will only make it think that it’s the one in charge. As an initial step for this, have your pet crate trained as a puppy. This will teach your pet that there is a definite place for it to sleep which is also indicative of its rank in the pack.
Even when playing with your dog, you should maintain your status as its leader. You should not allow a situation wherein it will think that it is your equal. One of the things that you should not allow is to let your dog get on top of you. This will only make your dog claim dominance, and when this happens, your bird dog training will become next to impossible.
Call the Dog by Its Name
Making sure that a dog knows its name is one of the most important aspects of hunting dog training. This is to ensure that it listens to you, as this is important in the actual hunting routine. To test if your dog knows its name, try calling it; it should look at you each time it hears you call its name. If your dog doesn’t recognize its name, teach it by holding a treat in an outstretched arm while calling it by its name. If your dog focuses on the treat and not on you, keep calling until it looks at you and when it does, give it the treat as reward. Constantly repeating the process helps your dog recognize its name. Overtime, your pet will learn to respond when you call its name without luring it with treats.
The Sound of Gunfire
When training a dog to become a hunter, you have to make sure that it is comfortable with the sound of gunfire. Since dogs are not used to these kinds of sounds, you have to train them while they are young to make them get used to the sound. You will get good results when you associate the sound with something that your dog enjoys, like eating or playing. You can begin with creating low sounds like a loud clap. You can increase the sound as your dog becomes more comfortable with lower sounds, like banging two pans together until you reach the point of firing a gun when your dog has become comfortable with other loud sounds. Start by firing the gun at a distance, gradually getting nearer and nearer as it no longer feels frightened by the blast. As a rule, never use loud noise as a punishment on a dog training to become a hunter; otherwise, it will not be able to adapt to the sound of gunfire.
The Element of Trust
A dog that you want to be trained for hunting must also be taught to trust you. Do not subject your dog to a frightening experience while it is undergoing training. Also give your pet a chance to interact with other dogs and other people, as this is necessary in the actual hunting. One of the ways to do this is to bring your pet to a dog park, where you can let it go off-leash.
Bird dog training is process that needs to be done gradually. Punishing your dog for not being able to pick up its lessons won’t work. A dog that doesn’t learn at once just needs more of your guidance and patience. The most important thing to remember when training your dog is to treat it with positive reinforcement; this motivates it to learn faster. Punishing your dog for its failures will only make it frightened and lethargic.