Man’s best friend can also be his hunting companion.
“These guys here are trained to hunt goose as well as woodcock and pheasant,” says dog owner and trainer Daniel Albert. “They are a very versatile dog.”
A demonstration at this year’s Sportsmen’s Show proved what bird dogs are capable of – proper training is essential.
“What we try to do is be insistent, consistent with their training,” says Peter Wade, President of the Sebasticook NAVHDA, which is the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association. I always make it like training your kids . You set limits, you set rules and you do the same thing with your dog.”
Although some dogs are genetically inclined to hunt, not every owner knows the best way to send a dog to fetch game.
“We train people how to train their bird dogs. Most people they don’t know how to do it and they get a dog and they want to train it for upland hunting and they make mistakes. They usually get frustrated and we don’t want to see dogs going to the pound.”
There are several things to consider when training.
“It all depends on their temperament and their personality. A lot of dogs can take pressure some can’t take too much pressure so you should to be looking for that.”
“If all of a sudden you started getting frustrated and the dog’s not doing it that day, say ‘its okay, well work on it tomorrow.'”
These dogs might seem intimidating, but demonstrations like these help show what hunting dogs are all about.
“People have a deception that hunting dogs are not very friendly, they’re not a household dog. We want people to understand that these guys grew up with my kids, they grew up with everybody’s family; the dogs get acclimated with all the other dogs.”
“Everybody loves the shows. They come and people come and say ‘I can’t believe how you did that, how’d you get the dog to stay so still?'”