Warm Weather Training: Pointing Breeds

"When the temperature gets above about 65 degrees," Roger said, "you should start watching for signs of overheating in your dog, even if you're quite comfortable. In training, your dog works harder than you do. He runs while you walk, and he covers a lot more ground than you do. Then, too, being a bird dog, he just doesn't know when to quit. So it's up to you to keep him from overheating. Be especially careful if he's out of shape."


This tip is from Roger Buddin of Big Country Kennel, 3450 East Highway 180, Albany, TX 76430; (325) 762-2359; websites www.bigcountrykennel.com, www.texascoveyhouse.com; e-mail bigcountrykennel@scynet.net. Roger has been training professionally for 26 years, specializing in all pointing breeds. He has competed in Shoot-to-Retrieve trials, but now trains mostly hunting dogs. He breeds English pointers.

Roger stressed that an overheated dog can die very quickly if not cooled down. Thus you should watch for the early symptoms and take immediate action if they appear. Initially, your dog will start panting more and more profusely. If not cooled down, he will next start wobbling around in circles. Then he'll have a seizure and collapse, after which he will die within minutes.


If your dog starts panting noticeably, you should get him into a shady area right away and give him water to drink. You shouldn't put him in a crate until he has stopped panting. If your dog should ever suffer the later stages (staggering and so forth), you should get him into water, a pond or stock tank, immediately. Lacking a pond or stock tank, you should pour water over his head and chest.

"I've found that rubbing a little alcohol in his ears," Roger said, "also helps cool him down."


When traveling to and from the training grounds in warm weather, you should keep your dog in a well-ventilated crate in a well-ventilated place in your vehicle, preferably with drinking water available for him. You shouldn't put more than one dog in a crate. Ideally, you should travel only in the early morning and late evening.

Warm Weather Training


Don't miss tips for your retriever, here., and your spaniel, here..

 

While on the training grounds but not running your dog, you should keep him staked out in a shady area with drinking water available. When he's staked out and you are helping someone else run his dog, you should check on your dog frequently.

Before running your dog, you should wet down his head and chest. You should always carry a squirt bottle full of water so you can give him occasional drinks while he's running.

"In warm weather," Roger said, "don't run your dog very long. Watch him closely for signs of tiring. Try to pick him up just before he starts to tire. For that, you have to know your dog."

Roger pointed out that, in warm weather, scenting conditions are usually rather poor. Wind and humidity help, but finding birds on hot, dry, windless days can be impossible, so don't expect too much of your dog. Mornings and evenings are the best times to train under such conditions.

As a final thought, Roger added this: "If the weather's too warm for you, it's way too warm for your dog, so don't take any chances on harming him. He loves to run and hunt, and he depends on you to keep him from overheating. It's also your responsibility to keep him in proper condition for the work you expect of him."

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