When hunting you may need a partner who is faster and more sensitive to the surroundings than you. Hence if you have a Labrador retriever you may as well have one of the best-hunting partners out there, then again, you first have to train your dog which is what we will be looking at today.
Labrador retrievers were originally bred to hunt and retrieve dead or injured birds in the water. You will find that nowadays most dogs do these activities for fun. Running and swimming to fetch which are some amazing hunting skills that can be useful in hunting schemes.
How to train a labrador for hunting
While some hunting skills and behaviors are instinctive for these dogs. You have to know that most come from months or years of training and practice. Proper training will ensure that your Labrador grows into a successful hunter and a loyal friend. It will also reduce your dog’s risk of injury during hunts. Which will likely result in a painful loss? The following are some tips to follow when training your labrador for hunting.
The most common deficiency in the average hunter’s gundog training program is a lack of emphasis on obedience and steadiness. The non-retrieve method works best. As at this stage, it is when the pup sees a bird or dummy fall but doesn’t get to retrieve it. The trainer or another dog retrieves it while the pup watches.
From an early age, take your puppy places, and teach and reinforce basic commands such as “Sit,” “Stay,” and “Come.” These commands will provide the necessary foundation for later hunt training. Once general obedience training is complete, encourage your dog to become comfortable in and around water by providing plenty of opportunities for water play. Use previously taught obedience commands to keep your dog under control during practice.
Training Your Dog to Hunt
At this stage, it is best to use scented dummies during training hunts to assist your dog in finding and retrieving the dummy fowls. Teach your dog to retrieve upon hearing a specific word, such as a name or other command. Be consistent in this training. Emphasize that retrieval is only allowed when the send command is given.
Scents are available for external application or for injection into the dummies. Place decoys far from your dog, and reward your dog for ignoring the decoys and homing in on the dummies. This trains your Labrador retriever to ignore other animals and birds in the environment and to focus on the prize during an actual hunt.
Once your dog is now good at retrieving dummy birds on land, move on to water training which is very important that it manages to get right. Scent a new dummy or training device, throw it into the water and command your dog to seek it out and retrieve it.
As with everything that requires training, practice is very important. Practice as often as needed, and reinforce good behavior and successes. Consider taking your dog on a simulated hunt to uncover any weak areas before an actual hunt.
Though training is not as easy for the human as it is for the dog, it is very important that your Labrador is disciplined for all these steps to work. Make sure that as a puppy, you are already lightly training your dog for some commands and so that it is ready to take on the challenges that come with being a hunting dog.