Christian Waterfowlers Article

A recent article I wrote for Christian Waterfowler’s Magazine.

​Socializing your sporting dog. Your faithful hunting companion needs proper socializing, people places and things. As soon as you get your new pup start introducing to everything and everyone. At the beginning just things around your home and kennel. Remember your pup has not had all his or her immunizations. After all shots are complete take your puppy everywhere. Your puppy needs to meet as many people as possible. Always make your puppy behave and have good manners. Do not let your puppy jump all over people teach them to be patient and get rewarded with pets on head for being good. Remember it’s maybe cute when a puppy jumps up on someone but not a 60-100 pound dog.

Introduce them to all kinds of sounds, sites and smells. Let them explore when possible. Any and all sounds that you can expose them to. Take them to as many places as possible. Take them in stores that allow pets such as Pet stores, Lowe’s and Tractor Supply. I know some of you are asking what does all this have to do with my hunting companion? Everything. All the socializing will make a confident pet. Confident pet makes a much better and well rounded hunting companion. All this before the real training begins. I believe socializing set the bar for your training and how good your hunting companion will be.

Start building drive into your puppy. Start by playing retrieves. Short fun to start with, just play. ONLY do a few at first, keep the puppy wanting to do more BUT stop after 3-5 retrieves. Start off in a hallway or confined area where puppy has to come to you with bumper or whatever you are using for retrieving. Lots of praise when puppy brings bumper or toy to you. Again only a few at a time. As puppy gets older the distance and training time can increase. I like to start formal training at 5-6 months. Prior to beginning formal training the puppy should be very well socialized and basic commands completed. At 5-6 months the puppies brain has developed enough to begin formal training. By this time your puppy has been introduced to all kinds of things and has informal training. The solid foundation is there so now build your mansion.

Begin formal obedience, now it becomes a job not always fun. Now instead of asking to do something it becomes a demand. Start steadying the commands slowly but surely. Work with your hunting companion daily 5-15 minutes a day. 5 minutes a day is better than 10 hours one day a week. Try to keep training fun and keep changing up to keep puppy on their toes and prevent boredom. Try to set up training in realistic settings as training continues and it gets closer to hunting season. Make sure you have introduced gun fire and live birds before season begins. Don’t set expectations too high. Remember your puppy is like a toddler so have lots of patience and a lot of repetitions. Good luck and GOD BLESS.

Kevin Erdmier owner of Southern Pine Kennels. I have owned and trained my own dogs for many years. I have trained many breeds of dogs for a variety of task. Three years ago I opened Southern Pine Kennels, I had wanted to train dogs for years but had been afraid to take the risk. After much prayer I felt conformation to start SPK. I started small, training hunting dogs and some obedience training pets. After about a year I built a luxurious indoor kennel and added a second full time trainer Ryan Erdmier. We are a small family business that train pets in obedience, behavior modification, socialization and hunting retrievers.

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