But a young dog is plenty of fun too; why else are we willing to go through this ardous process? Free runs in light cover, training drills in the backyard and summer water work at your favorite fishing hole all lead to that glorious first retrieve or point. And there's no better satisfaction for a true bird hunter than seeing a young dog lock up on a rooster or chase down a crippled greenhead.
Those days will arrive, but for now let the kids enjoy that round ball of fur (when you're not training him or her). Because some day pup will turn into a hunting and fetching machine, busting through brush, mud flats and all sorts of foul stuff the lady of the house won't want pup tracking across the kitchen floor — unless of course SHE's the hunter in the family.
And if the cute faces shown here aren't enough, you can see even more puppy pics from readers.
Too many attributes to mention! Angus, this six-month-old German wirehaired pointer, is owned by Krista Burleson of North Bend, Washington. According to Krista, Angus is quite a hunter, quite sweet, quite adorable, and...the list goes on.
Bella Luna! Lunar Eclipse (call name Luna) is a 9-week-old chocolate Lab. Luna hunts with Chris Holbeck and his family in Omaha, Nebraska.
Fields of opportunities! Eight-week-old littermates Coco and Nessie are field-bred English springer spaniels. The photo was submitted by Jim and Cindy O'Shea from Glendive, Montana.
Retrieving a coturnix quail is 9-week-old Robingun's Colt Viper das Cooper, owned by John Raifsnider of Casco, Maine. Photo by Pam Robinson.
Dog or machine? French Brittany Finn is a phenomenal bird finder and a retrieving machine!
Bruce Schwartz says, 'I wonder what the chances are that you could go to the mailbox for the latest issue of GUN DOG and find their new puppy's breed on the cover (Pudelpointer) and an article about their parents (Charles and Elizabeth Schwartz) inside? You guys rock! ' Pictured here is Gypsy Tea.
A sister is a friend for life. Submitted by long-time reader Joe Eldred, this photograph features Harper and Lee, puppies who love their big sister, Scout.
The trip was worth it. Pictured here at four months of age is Jena, a Bohemian wirehaired pointing griffon imported from the Czech Republic. Jena lives with her 12-year-old owner, Emily, and her family in Ashley, Ohio.
PERFECTION...from any angle! Owned by Buddy Newberry of Marysville, Ohio, 10-week-old German shorthair Jill seems to be asking, 'What now? '
No fear! Six-month-old Josie, a Brittany, is pictured hunting greater sage grouse in Wyoming last September. 'Josie is now working on retrieving quail, ' says her owner, Kenneth Rischer of Bishop, California.
He's a keeper! 'Keeper, ' photographed here during a late August scouting trip, is a 4-month pointer from Elhew bloodlines. 'We will enjoy a lifetime of pursuing grouse and woodcock in Ontario and the UP along with trips west for pheasant, sharptail and huns, ' says his owner, Frank Matejka of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Welcome to the last frontier! Leila (Shaggy Tollers Eight Below) is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever. Three-and-a-half-month-old Leila flew from Denmark to Alaska in September. She enjoys hiding and exploring through high brush at her new home.
With loads of Michigan birds in her future, three-month-old Mazie loved pheasant hunting from the start. This vizsla pup is owed by Debbie and Bill Krauss of Grosse Ile, Michigan.
Home is where the heart is. Photographed on his first day home in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, is 7-week-old Montego, a viszla. 'Monte ' is owned by Eric Anderson.
A happy half-birthday, indeed! During his first trip afield at six months, Mozzie pointed five wild pheasants in less than 30 minutes. Mozzie, a Small Munsterlander, is pictured here at 10 weeks of age. Photo submitted by Jim and Ruth Rice of Brookings, South Dakota.
They don't call me a pointer for nothin'! This photo, submitted by Judy Zeigler of Crystal Kennels, features Oakley, a 9-week-old German shorthaired pointer, on a very stylish point.
Brent and Cassie Allen of Mythodical Irish Setters submitted this photo of 6-week-old Mythodical's Orin of Dualuc (Orin) pointing a wing in the back yard.
Oli Ladyman of Tailes Farm, Durnfield, Tintinhull near Yeovil, submitted this photo of nine-week-old Pippa, an English springer spaniel.
Couch jumping! Toy squeaking! Face licking! Six-month-old Primrose, a field-bred English cocker, does everything with an exclamation point, according to owner Kristen Neal of Union Grove, Wisconsin.
Let's play! Fifteen-year-old Jake, a German shorthaired pointer, is pictured here trying to nap while 3-month-old Rip wants to play. Jake last hunted at 15 and passed away at 16. He was a true gentleman and a great bird dog. 'Rip seems to be following in his footsteps, ' says his owner, Don Minge of Minnetrista, Minnesota.
Autumn blessings! Rocky, retrieving his first rooster. This bold and confident vizsla puppy is owned by Dean Stainberg of Redding, California, and was bred by Lee Dozier of Rockwood's Kennel.
Ruger (referred to by some as the Red Hot Mess) has only two speeds: 100 mph and sleep! Ruger is a 6-week-old German shorthaired pointer owned by Timothy W. Goodrich.
Making a wood duck his first retrieve is Slammer, an 8-week-old golden retriever. Slammer is co-owned by Mary Dean of Welcome, North Carolina, and Chris Browning of Oilville, Virginia. Photo by Jim Lasley.
Owned by Amy and George Lutz, Tazz is an English setter who loves to hunt. Pictured here at 15 months, Tazz is the son of National Field Champion Shadow Oak Bo. Tazz has competed successfully in AKC field trials and has won several derbies.
Easy on the eye, tough on the birds. Trigger is an 8-week-old pointing Lab owned by Bob Jirik of Prior Lake, Minnesota.
King of the mountain! Four-month-old Wyatt appears to be wearing some impressive headgear in this photograph submitted by Scott Cantara of Otisville, New York.
Scout (Waterdog's Seeking the Spirit) is a 10-month-old yellow Lab owned by Matt and Allie Johnson of Harshaw, Wisconsin. The Johnsons look forward to many days afield with Scout.