Gundog training is not an easy task, but when done properly, hunting with a dog is amazing. Teaching a gundog to properly point, flush, and fetch birds seems easy, but there is a lot that goes into it.
A large part of the training has to do with the type of breed the hunting dog is, but generally, all are very trainable. However, each gundog needs a specific type of training.
There are a lot of important factors when getting and training a gundog for you. Most important is the dog’s personality. This is the difference-maker for a lot of hunters out there. Some hunters can indeed use any dog and make it work, but most people can’t do that.
However, there are countless books on what gundog is best for you, where, and what you’re hunting for. The books delve into exactly what dog hunts best at close and far range, in water and out of water. Additionally, the following books will help discern which gundogs will be best in certain regions of the country.
So, without further ado, here are some of the best books out there for training your hunting dog.
The Best Books for Training Your Gundog
To start are two classic gundog books. “Best Way to Train Your Gun Dog: The Delmar Smith Method” by Bill Tarrant. The second is “Tarrant Trains Gun Dogs: Humane Way to Get Top Results” by Bill Tarrant as well. These two books stand as some of the best in the dog hunting world. Both are solid options to train your gundog.
Next up is, “How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves, Taking Advantage of Early Conditioned Learning” by Joan Bailey. This book is written for dogs up to a year old. It works through how to socialize your dog to people and other dogs. It also helps with gun exposure and deals with classic conditioning.
A third book to consider is “The Ultimate Guide to Bird Dog Training: A Realistic Approach to Training Close-Working Gun Dogs for Tight Cover Conditions” by Jerome B. Robinson. Robinson is a former editor of Sports Afield and wrote many articles in Field & Stream. Putting your trust in his words while training your dog is an easy thing to do and he won’t lead you astray.
A fourth book to read for training your gundog is an important one. “Absolutely Positively Gundog Training: Positive Training for Your Retriever Gundog” by Robert Milner. Training a retriever to hunt is a somewhat difficult task, but this book does excellent with it. While the book focuses mostly on flushing birds, rather than retrieving, it is still a great start at training a retriever. The book focuses on positive reinforcement rather than negative.
A bonus book that focuses more on retrievers getting downed birds is important. So, check out “Game Dog: The Hunter’s Retriever for Upland Birds and Waterfowl” by Richard A. Wolters. This book delves into gundogs learning to fetch dead birds, especially in water.
Last, but certainly not least is “Training Your Pointing Dog for Hunting & Home” by Richard Weaver. This book is an all-around great one. It touches on pointing dogs and on flushing retrievers. The book looks at almost everything that gundogs need to do during a hunt. It is incredibly instructive as well.
No matter what book, or books, you choose, reading as much as you can about the gundog you choose is important. Make sure you stick with one philosophy of training and stick to it. Show the dog love, and it will show you love right back.
[H/T Gear Junkie]