Getting the most out of your gundog - Part 2: Bring home your pup home and how to start training
So, you’ve found someone with a suitable litter of pups, watched them grow to 8 weeks of age, and now they’re ready for you to bring your one home.
The breeder should advise you about what and how often to feed your pup and when it next needs to be vaccinated.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions of the breeder about anything you’re unsure of.
Get ready to bring your pup home well in advance.
You’ll need a pen or some other means of enclosing it, suitable bedding, a toy or two, the correct food and containers for food and water.
Remember that this will be the first time your pup has been separated from its mother and siblings so it will need comforting and reassuring for the first few nights.
Expect some broken sleep for a night or two. Don’t let barking or whining become a habit.
Get up and comfort your pup as often as you need to.
It will be time well spent in the long run.
You should decide what behavior you expect and start training for it immediately.
It is far easier to avoid a problem occurring than it is to correct it after it does.
No barking, where to relieve itself, no digging holes, keeping off the gardens, inside or not, the list goes on.
Be aware, however, that you should let your pup be a pup.
You may need to be prepared to make some lifestyle changes.
There are a couple of things you can start training for as soon as your pup has settled in.
These are, coming when called and simple retrieving.
Use his name and say ‘come’ when calling him.
Give him a treat and lots of praise when he responds well.
Later you should introduce a whistle.
If you’ve made the correct choice of breeder your pup should be exhibiting hunting and retrieving attributes at 8 weeks of age, so you can immediately start retrieving training.
To start retrieving training you’ll need a suitable object (a dummy).
Don’t use one of his toys. Get him used to wearing a small collar to which you can attach a cord.
Kneel on the ground and hold him sitting beside you.
Get him interested by shaking the dummy and drop it a short distance in front of him.
Say ‘fetch’ and let him go. He should rush to pick it up.
Say ‘come’ and gently pull him back to you, then say ‘give’ and take the dummy from him.
Don’t allow him time to drop it. As with all training, make it fun with lots of praise and treats when he does well.
Congratulations, you’ve just achieved your first retrieve. You can now start gradually increasing the distance you throw the dummy.
Once your pup is over 3 months of age and has had all his vaccinations, consider taking him to obedience classes.
There may be someone near you who runs these.
Ask your Vet, or local Councils Animal Control Officer, or contact the NZ Gundog Association at https://www.nzgta.co.nz/contact.html
They may be able to help, or know someone who can.
The person running the course should show you how to teach your dog to come when called, walk at heel, sit, down and stay.
Even if you’re confident you can do this yourself the socializing with people and other dogs will be invaluable. I strongly recommend it.
You may also find it helpful to check out the Gundog Associations Facebook Page, NZ Gundog Trialing, where you could make contact with others with an interest in training gundogs.
Next issue I’ll write about how to approach your first hunting season.
John Stevens, President, Waimate Gundog Club.
Subscribe via RSS
- May 2020
- April 2020
- March 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- December 2013
- March 2013
- September 2012
- July 2012