A well-trained dog makes a better family companion, is easier to take out and introduce to new people, and can be an effective tool on the hunting field. If you put in the time and effort, there are a lot of things you can train a dog to do. When it comes to training a hunting dog, your focus should be on commands that will keep them safe and make them a valuable hunting partner.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few of the most important commands to master before taking your pup out for a hunt:
1) Here or Come
A dog that doesn’t obey your recall will disrupt your focus, scare off game, fail to retrieve, and could quickly get injured. Start teaching the “here” command with the use of a long leash or check cord. Firmly pull when you give the command and repeat until they come on their own. Don’t forget to reward obedience with treats!
2) Stay or Heel
The “stay” command is a necessary one for getting your dog to be steady on point and to ensure their safety in other situations, such as if another animal or hunter comes by. There are many distractions on the hunting field and your dog needs to be able to obey despite them. A good way to work into “stay” is to start with “sit” and gradually walk away while signaling for them to hold position.
If you want your dog to retrieve game, “fetch” is a basic skill they’ll need to successfully fulfill their duties. This is typically an easy one to learn with everyday play. The trick is getting them to fetch only on your say, not instinctively when a ball flies by or they see game fall.
The “kennel” command is a versatile and useful one for directing your dog to a safe place or spot that’s out of the way when you’re preparing to take a shot. Start by saying the command when you place them in their normal crate. Once they learn how to respond to the word on its own without further direction, work on applying “kennel” in other places, like your truck or a blind.
At Lankas Labs, our Labrador Retriever puppies are bred to be ideal hunting partners. Our pups begin their training as Pointing Labs at 8 weeks old. After they’ve gone home, we offer additional preseason training to further prepare them for the field if you’re looking to really specialize their skills.
Get in touch with us today to reserve your newest family member or hunting buddy from our next available litter!