As the hunting season comes to a close and we sit around reminiscing about our hunts, many hunters have one thing in common and that is we think about how we can make next year’s hunt more enjoyable. We think about how tired we are of picking up those birds, of losing those deer, or about how nice it would be to have a dog to share these memories with. So……. you and your family decide to embark on an adventure of purchasing, raising and training your Ultimate Sporting dog.

When training your ultimate sporting dog, keep in mind that every well trained companion starts with a solid foundation, just like a well-built home. Over the next couple of articles Whistling Wings wants to help you develop those key elements in producing the K9 of a lifetime. From 6 weeks to 6 months is the crucial period in developing the Ultimate Foundation.

Here are a few things that you will want to consider as you start your training from the very beginning. From the first day, after picking your pup up, you will want to start your proper health plan, proper nutrition, and proper socialization skills. 

  1. 1.       Health Plans
    1. Pick a reputable vet that stays current with all new procedures. Ask your hunting buddies, training partners or breeder who they might recommend.
    2. Make sure you keep your pup up to date on all shots and yearly boosters. Use a vet that will send you friendly reminders of such visits.
    3. Choose a good flea and tick product to use as well as a good preventive product for heart worms to assure your new companion stays healthy throughout the year. Most vets will be happy to recommend these products to you.
    4. 2.       Nutrition
      1. Choose a puppy food product with adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins to help assure that they are getting the proper recommended daily allowance to be healthy.  Pick a food that is not only easy to find locally but that you will also be able to find as you travel. 
  1. Key component to proper nutrition is not to over feed. One way you can achieve this by comparing the vet’s weight count on your pup with its general appearance. This will help keep the pup slim but healthy and aid in less stress on the pup’s joints. Always try to feed your pup the recommended cup per weight listed on the label. 
  1. All pups want to chew. It’s very natural but can be a problem if you do not choose the right things for your pup to chew on. So, you want to make sure you pick a good nutritional item.  Stay away from items that are not consumable for the dog, i.e. plastic toys, rawhides or leg bones. We always recommend using pig ears, dental chews, and basted cow knuckles found in most all the local pet stores. 
  1. 3.       Socialization
    1. Expose your pup to different environments like a walk in the field, woods and small streams. Just remember that until your pup is finished with all his vaccinations he is vulnerable to disease, so be careful when exposing your pup to these other environments.
    2. Other environments to consider include: Carrying them to parks, malls, etc. places where there are a lot of people or for rides in the car. If the pup acts timid in a crowd of people have a stranger feed them a treat to encourage them.  If the pup acts rambunctious keep them on a lead and discourage direct contact with any people. Don’t let people pet them or give treats till they have calmed down. Easily excitable pups may need lots of exposure to crowds before they learn to be calm in these new environments.
    3.  Expose them to new textured surfaces and sounds. Help them navigate the new world, with positive reinforcements from you as their leader. For Smells, have them retrieve feathers or smell of small birds to start them early in recognizing  scents.
    4. The first two weeks the pup is home is a crucial period for them to bond with you and develop a relationship with their new master. Keep it positive and fun! 

In our next article, we will be covering crate training and house breaking along with the beginning foundation for retrieves. So over the next couple of weeks use the above techniques to get your pup headed in the right direction. I always tell new puppy owners that the first two weeks the puppy is home it’s ok to love, cuddle and spoil them because when the retrieving begins and the relationship is established; it’s time to set the rules and begin the journey. If you run into any questions or problems feel free to email us and we will cover it in the upcoming articles. Check out our Facebook page to ask questions or check out our Puppy Basics video section on YouTube. Enjoy the pups and get ready to train your companion into what will become   “The Ultimate Sporting Dog”.  Check out our website: www.theultimatesportingdog.com