How to train your gun dog

Training a dog or a puppy can be a laborious task, but it is even more complicated training a gun dog. Not only do you have to cover the usual commands of sit and stay, you have to perfect their ability to retrieve game on command.

Fortunately, there are several techniques you can implement to perfect your gun dog’s behaviour when on a hunt.


Break everything down

No matter how quickly your dog picks things up in training, it’s important you break everything down step by step. This will increase the chances of your dog making progress, ultimately leading to greater rewards when you’re on a hunt.


Stay relaxed

Dogs can tell when you’re stressed or aggravated, and this can have a detrimental effect on your training regime. Therefore, make sure you’re fully relaxed and remain patient during training and your dog will respond positively.


Use mornings for training

Mornings are a great time to train your gun dog. This encourages their natural habits and is also a stress-free way of perfecting their behaviour.

Start by giving your dog a training dummy whenever they greet you in the morning. Then, take it back off them before they drop it and give them plenty of attention. You can also start leaving dummies around the house for your dog to bring to you in the morning or whenever you return home.


Use treats for transitional training

Using treats can be a great way to train your gun dog. However, it’s important you use them wisely to encourage the correct actions and behaviours.

You can use treats when teaching your dog to find and collect the dummy. Use a canvas wrap that can cover the dummy, along with a pouch where you can insert a treat.

When your dog returns the dummy to you, give them another treat. Just make sure you have one in your hand ready, so the dog knows they have to let go of the dummy to get the treat.

training your gun dog


Teaching your dog to sit and wait

Teaching your dog to sit and wait is a good way of dealing with common problems. If you find your gun dog is dropping the dummy too quickly when retrieving it, teaching it to sit and wait properly is a good way of fixing that problem.

Start by getting your dog to sit and wait with the dummy in their mouth for a few seconds. Then, give them a treat so they drop the dummy. This will help your dog understand that they should keep hold of any game they have until you tell them otherwise.

Once your dog masters this, you can start making the process more complicated. Instead of getting your dog to sit and wait, start to walk away from them when they have the dummy.

Encourage them to walk by your side with the dummy for a few moments, before giving them a treat. This way, your dog will learn that they need to keep hold of the game until you have made it clear you want them to hand it over.


Seek help from a professional

While you should be able to avoid this in most cases, some problems that may occur during training should be dealt with by a trained professional. After all, you don’t want to be too forceful in your training and make your dog hate the training process altogether.


Specialist shooting insurance through Ripe Shooting

While having a well-trained gun dog is vital when on a hunt, having shooting insurance can protect you and your equipment against the worst-case scenarios. 

At Ripe Shooting, we arrange specialist cover so you can make sure that you and your equipment are fully protected when you’re on a hunt. This way you can stop worrying about any potential accidents and concentrate on praising your gun dog when it helps you bring home plenty of game.

Get an instant online quote today.

Please note the information provided on this page should not be taken as advice and has been written as a matter of opinion. For more on insurance cover and policy wording, see our homepage.

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