During the 2009-2010 hunting season, most of us endured our most interesting upland season in quite some time. The entire country experienced unique weather conditions this fall and winter. Hard winters often turn most of our thoughts and concerns towards, "how are the birds going to make it"? A question I feel we should be more concerned with is lying next to us on the couch or sleeping out in the kennel. How did our dogs fare in these unusual conditions?
If you've hunted quite a harsh winter, it has taken its toll on your dog. Most upland dogs are putting in 3-6 times the mileage that we are per season. This wears down dogs throughout the year and it takes time to re-coop from these efforts.
With that in mind, I want you to rewind 9 months and ask yourself if you put a plan together to help your animal get through this season. Training your dogs goes so far beyond developing your new puppy. That is the fun part! Whether you are a one dog owner or have 10 in the kennel, you must work these animals.
They are athletes just like we see on T.V. When people think of SportDOG Brand®, they usually think of E-training. SportDOG carries a wide variety of training tools to help dogs young and old.
Give your dog(s) a two month break, but early this spring, I want you to consider getting the ol' man off the couch and go out and do some bird work or endurance training. It’s good for the both of you.
Some things that I consider a must are:
1. Conditioning- Roading a dog is crucial to muscle development, cardio and just all around endurance. You can run a dog off a bike, ATV, horse or just by going on walks. Not only will it help your dog get through a tough season, but they will have more style and class the better the shape they are in.
2. Yard Work- Even the old dogs tend to need a little touch up on this from time to time. Yard work brings so much more to the table then just being good at home. It will give you confidence that no matter the hunting situation, you know your dog will listen to you.
3. Bird Work- Not as much as a necessity with the more mature dogs, it is still good to fine tune some flaws we see in the field. Nothing replaces hunting on wild birds, but this can be as close as we can get.
4. Bench Work- If you have a pointing breed, nothing takes your breath away like style. Bench work re-enforces style and class with confidence. It's always good to put the dog up on the bench and make him feel like a million dollars.
Keep working those dogs in the off season, and I’ll promise you that you have a more enjoyable hunting season with more birds in the bag, good looking dogs and the good feeling that the dogs can handle what you put them through.
Always check your local and state regulations related to dog training and the use of game birds on private and public property.