Proper Conditioning For Hunting - Pointing Breeds

The latest training techniques for pointing breeds.

Craig Burns.

"Most regular training sessions," Craig said, "don't stretch a dog's endurance enough to keep him in shape for the rigors of hunting. A bird dog is like a rechargeable battery, in that he can develop a memory of frequent short 'rechargings.' He needs to expend himself entirely quite often to clear that memory."

Craig pointed out that a young dog on a maintenance diet with regular exercise, especially with another young dog to keep him active, will stay in good condition year around. By that Craig means the dog should be well muscled-up, without excess weight. However, an older dog, especially in a kennel, needs frequent and regular exercise periods.


Craig feels that one common mistake is keeping a dog on a performance diet during the off-season. This will put excess weight on the animal unless he is worked very hard year around.


Craig gives his dogs plenty of exercise on a 30-foot length of 3/8" aircraft cable stretched taut about three feet above the ground between two trees (or posts). On this cable, he has a three-foot free-running chain drop-lead with a snap on the end for attaching to the dog's collar.

He snaps a dog onto the drop-lead and lets him exercise himself running back and forth. He uses that cable not only as an exercise device but also for "here," "whoa" and retrieve training. Craig also roads his dogs.


"In roading," he said, "The most common mistake is thinking the dog has to run. Not so. He needs to pull. When roading a dog, I have him pulling about one-third of his weight, which really develops his muscles."


Proper Conditioning For Hunting


Spaniels

Retrievers

 

For weight, Craig uses an appropriate length of very heavy chain hooked onto a bungee cord. He puts a harness upside down on the dog, so the ring is on the dog' chest. To that ring he attaches the bungee cord so that it runs back between the dog's hind legs, with the chain to the rear. He roads the dog from his four-wheeler, on a short lead attached to a pipe extending out from the front of the vehicle.

"If you don't have a four-wheeler," he said, "you can road your bird dog on foot, which will get you as well as your dog in good shape for hunting. But however you road him, you don't want him to run, but just to pull that weight."

Craig estimates that it takes 30 to 45 days of this pulling to get an out-of-shape dog into hunting condition. In each session it will take a little longer to "run down his battery."

"However," he cautioned, "don't road your dog when it's hot, that is, 85 or more degrees. A heat-stroked dog isn't a pretty sight, and it's often fatal. In hot weather, your dog can get in real bad shape before you realize what's happening."

Craig listed the following signs of overheating: When your dog's eyes begin to water and have a lost look, he's in bad shape; when he starts to stagger around, he's in critical shape.

"To save an overheated dog," he said, "stop the heat. If near a pond or lake, carry him out into it until only his nose is above water. If no pond is near, water from a hose might help."

As a final thought, Craig added this: "Any full-service training kennel offers pre-season conditioning for dogs, along with a little brush-up on bird work."

This tip is from Craig Burns of Muddy Creek Kennels, 620 SW 90th Road, Jasper, MO 64755; (800) 777-8254; e-mail muddycreekgsp@aol.com. Craig has been training professionally for fourteen years, specializing in training pointing breeds for hunting. He does not participate in field trials or hunting tests. He breeds German shorthaired pointers, and also sells trained GSPs.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 14

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 3

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 3

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 3

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 10

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Kyle Wintersteen does a dog breed comparison on Chessies and Labs. See how these two breeds stack up. Profiles

Dog Breed Comparison: Chessies vs. Labs

Kyle Wintersteen

Kyle Wintersteen does a dog breed comparison on Chessies and Labs. See how these two breeds...

Some shotguns not only look good, they're also built for shattering those orange disks that can give us so much grief. Shotguns & Ammo

10 Great Shotguns for Sporting Clays

David Hart

Some shotguns not only look good, they're also built for shattering those orange disks that...

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog Puppies

Your Pup's First Year

Bob West - September 23, 2010

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog

A gun-shy dog is created, not born, and once the damage is done, gun-shyness can prove impossible to cure. Puppies

Introduce Your Pup To Gunfire The Right Way

Gun Dog Online Staff

A gun-shy dog is created, not born, and once the damage is done, gun-shyness can prove...

See More Trending Articles

More Health & Nutrition

Canine nutrition, supplements, and health-care products designed to keep your gun dog at the top of its game. Health & Nutrition

Performance-Boosting Products for Gun Dogs

Tony J. Peterson - October 04, 2019

Canine nutrition, supplements, and health-care products designed to keep your gun dog at the...

Do you really understand what your hunting dog needs from his food? Health & Nutrition

Nutritional Requirements for Gun Dogs

Mark Chestnut

Do you really understand what your hunting dog needs from his food?

Four different formulas can feed your pup throughout every life stage. Health & Nutrition

Kinetic: A New Super Food for Gun Dogs

Jerry Thoms - August 22, 2019

Four different formulas can feed your pup throughout every life stage.

Keep your gun dog running with healthy feet! Health & Nutrition

Protect Your Pointer from Foot Problems

Dave Carty

Keep your gun dog running with healthy feet!

See More Health & Nutrition

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Gun Dog subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now