Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a 2014, fully equipped, shiny new gun puppy. Power windows, factory air, white walls, the full schmear.
How did you arrive at this purchase? Well, you did some serious research before you picked this model. You want a pup that’s built to last. By that we mean, a best friend that’s going to give you 10-to-13 years of top performance.
But, Hold On a Minute
This great addition to the family won’t be totally up-to-speed for about 3-years. Have patience. Unlike that new Ford Ranger, the pup’s not coming with any guarantees that it will not only save Timmy from the well but has the potential of being the greatest gun dog in the Universe.
This all boils down to finding a breeder that has a fresh litter coming from a history of taking to the wild. Competitive canines, whether dam and sired, have a heritage. We’re not talking award-winning dogs for you, here. However, a strong sense of wanting to play in the contest are definitely a best bet.
So, catching the right dog from a high-yield breeder means you’re purchasing one that’s not necessarily focused on getting the gold in field trials. Nonetheless, don’t banish this criteria from your search. Those who sell successful field-trial dogs are more than willing to sell to hunters. But the original owners is going to give you the once-over. They don’t want to unload a money-maker to someone that only goes hunting once-or-twice a year. They’re seeking serious huntsmen, not occasional “gentleman” shooters.
Forget It Unless You Are Serious
You’re going to have to spend a lot of time with the pup — like a half-hour, four times a week. This is known as the yard training part, the most basic. Simply be aware of what we said earlier on: Miracles don’t happen in the quest to make that pup into a fully functional, working gun dog.
Probably not a bad idea to check-out a couple of AKC-sanctioned field trials and a AKC hunt test. It’s part of your research. Sure, you will spill some time, just don’t cop-out and watch it on teevee. Physically attend a few of these events. Don’t run scared screaming from the exhibition because these dogs and their masters are top of breed. Stick around to see what the animals involved can pull-off. Incidentally, invest in an orange vest and hat to wear when attending. Don’t want to seem like a geek to the pros.
While there, strike-up a conversation with some of the members or club officers. Ask if you can secure an invitation to a training session. Get into it. Join the club. Once you pick your pup, this will definitely put you on the road to success.
So, it’s all in the genes. The best field-bred gun dogs come from over-the-top, supersized, superior lineage. The baselines should come with documentation. The mom and pop should have:
- A good retrieving instinct
- A good nose
- A strong desire to please
- A good attitude
- A good drive
Check those off on the list, and your brand-spanking new four-legged gun puppy will give you the best. Off season, it will ooze love toward you, your family and your friends. Who knows, when their not hunting, maybe you can teach them to fetch a beer.