Labrador Retrievers have been known to be fantastic hunting dogs. When it comes to choosing a breed for this purpose, you can’t go wrong with a lab. However, while many labs come by hunting qualities naturally, fine-tuning their hunting instincts, retrieval methods, and the behavior you want from them comes with a lot of training. Here are some tips to help you develop your masterful hunting canine.
Start training your hunting dog.
It is a significant step for a dog and is going to take a bit of time. Yes, dogs are built to retrieve and are good at it, but that doesn’t mean they will know what to do right away. You have to groom them to work in a particular manner, and that is going to take time.
You have to make a concerted effort to see what they are responding to.
Here are the tips that are going to give you a head start with the dog as you look to turn him/her into a proper hunting dog.
1) Socialize Early
The hunting dog needs to socialize with other dogs and humans.
If they are not being socialized, it can lead to a lot of trouble in the long-term. It is hard to get them to behave, and they might not respond to directions as well. This is key when you are out in the open because the wrong move can be dangerous depending on where you are as a hunter.
The goal is to make sure this socialization is in place, so they’re trained and ready to go.
Delays in this are only going to make things harder for you.
2) Prepare For The Water
Are they able to hang out in the water without losing a step?
The water is something that is common out in the open depending on where you are. If they are not willing to cross a small creek because they’re afraid of the water, you might not have much of a hunting dog at all! This is why it is essential to get him/her in the water as soon as possible.
This is a good thing to start as early on in their lives as possible.
If you do this, it becomes easier to get them to adapt to all conditions.
3) Take Dog Out Into Hunting Areas To Roam
Those who are not ready to take out their dog for a trip will be the ones in a boatload of trouble. The dog needs to associate going out into these areas as something that is a part of his/her life. If the association isn’t made, things are not going to work out at all.
It is hard for a dog to get used to open spaces or forests where the hunting may take place.
You want him/her to get used to this immediately, so they can retrieve as desired. If the connection isn’t made with space, he/she will get confused.
A hunting dog needs to learn that gunfire means it’s time to retrieve. If that connection isn’t made early or they become “gun-shy” you are going to find it difficult to make things work. Too many people end up in a situation where their dog never makes that connection.
A hunting dog needs to act immediately with the sound as that is his/her cue to go.
If the dog doesn’t go, the hunting relationship won’t work.
These are tips you have to incorporate as soon as you can. If the hunting dog doesn’t go through these steps as quickly as possible, it is only going to get harder for you. It is hard to train a dog that has inappropriate habits built in overtime because you were lazy in the beginning.
Get on top of this as soon as possible and make sure you are examining what is going on in his/her life. Addressing these issues is how you’re going to stay on top of their hunting development.