There is nothing like the joy of bringing a new puppy home. You are filled with high hopes for the future, dreams of many hunts with your new partner. It is tempting to spoil the new bundle of fur, but training must start as soon as you bring your new puppy home.
The most important step to take when you bring a new puppy home is to set boundaries. Introduce your puppy to the areas of the house where it is allowed. Easy to clean rooms are the best place to start in case there are accidents. Tethering your puppy to a chair or table with their dog bed nearby allows them to be a part of the family while teaching them their limits. This helps them become secure and confident on their place in the home.
Another must do is crate-training. Your puppy needs to recognize their crate as a home base, a place to relax and sleep. Bird dogs are always on the move for their many adventures, the crate will be their home base so it must never be thought of as a place of punishment. Starting these two habits when the pup is young will have a tremendous payoff for the rest of your dog’s life.
Next, when you start teaching your puppy commands, avoid the sit command. This command can create bad habits in the field when the formal “whoa” breaking is started. Another thing to avoid is squeaky toys. These can create hard mouths and bad retrieving habits. The air escaping from the lings of a dead bird is similar enough dogs can equate dead birds with toys.
Now it is time to introduce your puppy to live birds. Most well socialized and bold puppies can be introduced to live birds as young as four months. The first couple times it is good to put a couple flight feathers on a pigeon to let the puppy chase. Make sure the puppy is confident in the environment where the training is to occur and that the bird is not in a position to scare or hurt the puppy. As with any training, the sessions need to be short and always end on a positive note.
Thank you to Stephanie McLennan and the wonderful staff and owners of Valhalla Dog Kennels and Bird Dog Training for providing the information for this article. For more information on dog training and their facility visit their website: www.valhallakennels.com or visit their Facebook page Valhall Kennels and Gun Dogs.