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Dogs and Waterfowl Tips

  • Does Nutrition Matter For Your Hunting Dog?

    Hunting Dog Health- FoodCorn, wheat, soy, chicken beaks, intestines, feathers, feces… do these sound like ingredients that your hunting partner can thrive on?  Not at all!  We will start with saying that dogs are carnivores, therefore; they should be eating meat, not loads of grains!  The three main grains that you want to keep out of your dog’s food are corn, wheat, and soy.  Dogs cannot process these ingredients.  They oftentimes produce shedding, itching, dry skin, hot spots, ear infections, eye drainage, throwing up, diarrhea, and allergies.  Consuming grains can also make your dog become overweight.  These things don’t just happen overnight.  When you feed a low quality food without all of the nutrients you dog needs to prosper, it slowly wears them down and their body systems start to deteriorate.

    How do you know what to feed?  The main thing you want to look at in a food is the ingredient list.  The ingredients are always listed in descending order by weight.  You always want your first few ingredients to be specific meat or meat meals such as chicken meal, duck meal, or salmon meal.  If it is listed as meat meal with no specific protein source, you want to stay far away from it because you have no idea what they are using.  The other fact that you need to be cautious about when picking a food is it containing animal by-products.  These are simply the parts of an animal that are of such low quality they are rejected for human uses.  They can be beaks, feathers, hooves, skin, feet, undeveloped eggs etc.  Other things to check for in your food are chemicals preservatives (BHA, Ethyoxoquin etc.). These are known carcinogens.

    Healthy Golden RetrieversThe surprising fact in the pet food world is that a lot of the very well-known name brands are absolute garbage.  Just because a company can put on an awesome commercial, does not mean that they produce a quality food (Despite what their commercial may say).  If you can, stick to an all-natural food made in the USA or Canada.  Big box stores and grocery stores are not the place to get your pet food.  Seek out somewhere that carries all- natural and grain-free options.

    The actual purchasing of a higher quality food may be a little more expensive, but dollar for dollar it actually ends up being the same price or cheaper per serving then a low quality food.  You will not have to feed as much of foods that are loaded with the protein, fat, and nutrients that dogs need.  Your hunting pal will be utilizing the majority of the food, so he won’t have to eat as much.  For the same reason, he will also have a lower stool volume.  You will ultimately have lower vet bills because your dog is getting all of the correct nutrition that he needs to be a healthy member of your family.

    We have just touched on a few things that are important in choosing a quality pet food for your working dog.  Go take a look at the ingredients in your dog’s food and see if any changes need to be made.  A simple switch in dog food can help your dog live a healthier, more energetic life.  It may also make problems that seem impossible to fix like reoccurring ear infections just disappear.  Nutrition is very important and plays a large role in the well-being of your working dog.

    By Bre Krueger

    Professional Dog Trainer

  • Why Won't My Hunting Dog Stop Jumping On Me?

    What do you do when every time you come home you’re greeted by paws flying at your face?  Or whenever you get a visitor at your house they get absolutely mauled by that 80lb retriever that’s so excited to see them?   It is a frustrating, embarrassing problem that many dog owners have to go through.  What do you do?

    dog jumping on person

    It comes straight down to basic obedience, and lots of consistent repetition.  If your dog is sitting, how is he going to be jumping up?  All this means is that the first step to fixing the problem is making sure that your “SIT” command is taught and reinforced well.

    Start by making sure that your dog knows what “SIT” means.  This is common knowledge for most dogs.  But if not, all you have to do to show them what it means is break out the treats!  Make sure that you have highly desirable treats- maybe even pieces of hot dog or chicken.  Put the treat right in front of their nose, and lift the treat up slowly while giving the “SIT” command.  Treat and praise when the dog sits.  It’s natural tendency for a dog’s rear end to go down as their nose goes up, but if they need a little guiding- push down right above the tail while luring with the treat.  Repeat this process until your dog understands what the command means and starts doing it on his own.

    Once your jumper has mastered the “SIT” command for treats, it’s time to reinforce it.  There are many ways to reinforce a behavior; whether it is a choke chain, e-collar, or a firm vocal correction.  You are teaching your dog that if they sit they get rewarded (treat or praise), but if they choose not to obey your command they get some sort of correction.  Practice, Practice, Practice!  Your dog has mastered “SIT”, now what?

    Now you apply it to your jumping problem.  Every time your dog jumps up, give him a stern “NO, SIT!” command.  When he sits and calms down, then you praise and give him attention.  You never want to give a jumping dog any attention or praise while jumping.  If just a vocal command (“NO, SIT!”) is not proving to be sufficient, add a knee in the chest, or turn your back to him while giving your command.

    He finally stopped jumping on you, now you need to make sure that he’s consistent with everyone.  The way you make sure of that is by making sure everyone is consistent with him!  Everyone that your dog meets needs to abide by the same training standard as you.  You can even go as far as setting your dog up by having informed friends and family randomly stop over to reinforce your dog’s new behavior.  If you practice and put some work into it, you will be on the road to a dog that any visitor will be happy to see because their greeting manners are so good!

    By Bre Krueger Professional Dog Trainer

  • Hunting Dog Or House Dog- The Pendulum Has Swung!

    There used to be a misconception that you either had a hunting dog or a family dog, and in some circles that is still the predominate way of thinking but we 100% disagree and I believe most of the folks with hunting dogs do as well.  The thinking went something like this, if my dog is spoiled and not concentrating on hunting and birds then it won’t stay focused on the training or focused on the birds, and a good hunting dog has to always be focused and have a one track mind to be good and successful at its craft.  This is where we believe the thinking is off track. I think it can prove that a dog that is loved and cared for is going to be more successful in the field than a dog that is made to be “focused”, which was often a term for slightly harsher training techniques.

    We have seen many dog trainers perform their craft over the years and the best I have seen are the ones that don’t even raise their voices.  Dog training is as much about trust and mutual respect as it is about training of technics.  A dog that knows technics can perform the task of hunting, a dog that respects his handler (owner) can and will want to hunting for them.  The difference in the level of competency is in the desire level.  The desire to please and be rewarded is where the great dogs are created.

    That being said we believe a dogs trust and respect often times is created out of the love and care it is shown in the home.  That is many times in the house that this is established by many people and often not even the primary handler, it could be the wife/husband or kids of the trainer or handler.  Especially during the puppy stage with the hunting dog is developing their world reality and the pecking order and respect of their home.  This is an important time in the development of desire and training of the fundamental of becoming a great hunting dog with that DESIRE to please and be rewarded.  The entire family can play a part in the training and in fact should be educated on the do’s and don’ts puppy training to make sure everyone in the house is on the same page.

    To sum it up we fully believe that your hunting dog can be in and around the home during the primary training period and even after, and this will have a positive effect on their hunting skills, and possibility even created more desire to please, hence producing a better hunting dog.   Let it be known though, that this house and family socialization process is never ever a replacement to solid foundational hunting dog training, that is as important as ever.  Happy hunting and training with your dog!

    EverythingGunDog Team!

  • Dog Training Tip: Force Fetching

    Force fetching, is not something I would recommend for the novice trainer to do alone without a professional around. You can ruin a good dog by doing it the wrong way.  Force fetching is extremely difficult, especially when you lack experience. Are you going to know what to do if a dog does not respond, more pressure, less pressure, do you lighten up on your expectations, do you shorten the session, do you change location. I know experienced trainers can find it hard to read a dog when it is not doing what you expect.

    During force fetching you are teaching a condition response to pressure, the condition response in this drill is to hold a bumper in their mouth until the release command is given.  Force fetching will be used in all your future retriever training.  Take a step back and figure out what you are trying to accomplish with force fetching, knowing this in advance will produce a less stressful training experience for you and your dog... You are going to want to start this on some sort of table with a good tie off so the dog can only sit and nothing else. Once your dog is proficient on the bench it is time to move your dog to the ground.  With your dog on a leash you are going to continue your Force fetch training by walking your dog up to a bumper, tennis ball, bird or whatever you want them to pick up and then give them command to FETCH. You want the dog to "fetch" from the ground on command, hold and carry the bumper around at heel without dropping or mishandling them, and deliver properly to hand at heel. The majority of people that try to do this one their own don’t understand that your dog doesn’t understand what the pressure is for.  You need to teach your dog that they can make the pressure stop by doing what you want him to do.. While some dogs can be force fetched in a few days, others might take a few weeks, to instill the notion that they can, through their responses to the pressure.

    By Rick Schmitz

    Behind the Blinds Kennel and Training

  • Hunting Dog First Aid - The Essentials of Caring For Your Dog In The Field

    Hey guys this week’s Kennel Korner is going to be about how to care for your hunting dog and what to look for in a First Aid kit to be prepared if the worst happens. All you out there that have been hunting for a while know that at some point your dog will get hurt in the field and you must be prepared to handle these situations to be a responsible hunting dog owner.

    hunting dog first aid kit

    Sporting dog first aid kits are the one thing that most people forget when they go to train their dog, when it should be one of the first things that gets loaded in the truck. Be honest, are you one of these guys? If the answer is “yes”, here is an easy and inexpensive way to get a small med bag started.

    I recommend you have a small one in your vehicle during any training or hunting you are doing:

    • 1. Sharp Pair of Scissors
    • 2. EMT Jell
    • 3. Gauze all sizes and rolls
    • 4. Forceps
    • 5. Medical Tape
    • 6. Elastic bandages
    • 7. Benadryl
    • 8. Saline solution (the same stuff you use for contacts is fine)
    • 9. Q-tips
    • 10. Tweezers

    These are ten important things that I recommend you have. There are other things that you should have that might fit your situation better and that’s fine. For people that feel comfortable I recommend sutures or a stapler for those bigger accidents. But I don’t recommend it unless you feel comfortable using these tools.

    I also recommend talking to your vet to get an understanding for what other things they might recommend, also ask them to show you how to properly give your dog stitches or staple a dog closed.

    I know what you’re thinking I have been training my dog for years and never needed one... That’s awesome!! But wouldn’t you want to be prepared if something does happen??

    If you have any questions about First aid feel free to contact Everything Gun Dog or Everything Shed Dog or you can contact me direct and behindtheblindslabs@hotmail.com or give me a call (920)809-6770 I will answer any questions you might have!!

    By Rick Schmitz - Professional Dog Trainer

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