It’s pretty overwhelming when a baby is born. They’re greeted into this world with a slap on the bum and the first of many crying jags. Everything was just ducky a few minutes before. All of a sudden, someone flips on the lights, hammers you for simply showing up and – BANGO! – screams and tears and people in sky blue pajamas and you’re getting fondled and wrapped and wondering, “What in god’s name have I gotten myself into?”
Dogs have it even rougher. The poor pups don’t even get to see what’s going on for a few weeks; until their eyes open. Baby four-legs can only guess where that smell is coming from. No point of reference. Strange dog in a strange, pitch-black land.
Let Me Get Used to Things First, OK?
Training a gun dog takes a lot of patience. Even more, it takes twice as much love. You might as well delete “hissy-fit” from your on-board, organic computer. You’re dealing with a sweet little creature that can’t talk. Has trouble just figuring-out that when it’s got to go outside, why does it need to tell you about it? Where’s my food? Can you tell that bratty little kid if it pulls my tail once more, I’m going to teach the monster a lesson?
Gun Dogging 101
It’s always good to know about the future hunter’s lineage. What did it inherit from mom and pop (Occasionally, the little bundle o’ joy asks themselves, “By the way, where the heck are my parents?”)?
Running it down, you got to do these things. Again, remember – patience, praise and if you’re not in a good mood, stop. Wait until you’ve returned to your loveable self.
- The pup needs to be socialized. A good way to do that is find an exemplary, credible dog obedience trainer and enroll the gun-puppy into a class with other dogs, other owners.
- That schnozzle on them is gold. Between that and their keen sense of hearing, those two articles are portals to the canine’s essence.
- We humans aren’t the only ones who need to have a good work ethic. So does our gun dog. You’ll get great results if you respect and reward a learning experience.
- If you’re married, your significant other will have to understand that you’re going to need to do some serious bonding with your best buddy.
- Training a gun dog in the first year isn’t a one-night stand. You are going to need to dedicate a lot of time imparting knowledge to your future hunting companion. Not just on weekends. You must be crawling all over that puppy like a cheap suit – daily.
- We get our feelings blistered all-the-time. So do dogs. If you’ve done something stupid to that fine animal, you better apologize in the form of a treat, a rub on the head and some friendly talk. They won’t hold a grudge, but they will become unbalanced if you’re constantly slipping off the rocker. If you’re schizophrenic, surprise – the dog’s going it inherit that trait.
The Final Months of the First Year
Don’t be cocky, kid. You’ve done a terrific job turning that handful of fuzz into an animal with a cause. But, you’ve also learned a lot about yourself. As the mutt becomes more like you, don’t freak if you feel a little dog’s blood flowing through your own veins.
Going to leave you with some exercises you’ll need to incorporate into the training of your gun dog’s first year:
- Bang! You’re the one that holds the key to whether your dog is gun shy. We’ve written some other articles that can help you with this all-important task. Take a look at this one: http://www.articlesbase.com/pets-articles/the-dog-doesnt-need-to-be-gun-shy-6421386.html
- Water is fun! At least you better make it a blast with your gun dog.
- Speaking of water: Join the Navy and see the world. Your dog needs to get out into unfamiliar territory. Fields, forests, off-the-chain places where they can explore, smell new things and run around like a nut. It also gives them great exercise.
- Crate training should start at a very young age. Like the first day your dog sets it paws in your home. Sometimes put it in the car and take your mutt for a drive. Get ‘em comfortable with the crate. The big advantage is if you ever have to go to the vet, the crate will not be a reminder that they’re about to get stabbed in the butt for a vaccination shot.
As we said off-the-top, the first year is one of discovery, learning and, above all, fun. That last one is especially important!