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Professional Hunting Dog Trainer Tips and Articles

  • Dove Hunting, Dogs, and Heat Exhaustion.... It's no joke!

    As a Pro Trainer in Texas with an always hot dove season I receive numerous stories from friends and clients about the heat stroke in working dogs. A few years ago I developed a sermon I preach to any of our CCR dogs going home and this is what it entails.

    Dove hunting and dogs

    First I'd like to cover conditioning: Consider that in Texas dove season opens Septemter 1st with temps ranging in the 90's by 10 a.m. If your dog has been siting in the a/c all summer he is not accustomed to the heat. (Think of the feeling you get when you step out of the cool into the heat) even if your dog is kept outside he still needs exercise. Now, I'm not saying throw your dog outside all day in the heat or train at the hottest time of the day. Proper conditioning includes running marks and maybe a few blinds in the am or late evening (prime hunting times) you can even take him for walks or runs early and late during the week. Make no mistake gun dogs are athletes and must be kept in condition to preform properly. If your not sure what to do in a training aspect of throwing marks contact your local pro (most will allow you to come train for a morning) or join a local retriever club with like minded people that like to help.  If you are busy and short on time most pros offer pre season tune ups.

    Next, lets discuss the signs of heat exhaustion. Early signs can be but not limited to, heavy panting, deep red gums, swelling or curling of tongue, as symptoms worsen you might see swelling of gums, excessive drooling, panting with more of a rasping gasping sound. When you see any of these its time to take action immediately. If you see the dog start to stumble, lay down, or collapse the situation went from dangerous to critical! Ok, so what do you do???  If you see signs first response should be shade and water, let them drink, and rest most early cases this is plenty, if dog can't cool down start wetting them down with ice chest water, head , behind ears, pits, and paws, alcohol is always colder than water (keep that in mind, rubbing or drinkable) put them in the front seat and blow the a/c. If you see severe symptoms do the above and rush to the vet! Keep in mind this is deadly and deadly fast, most people don't realize however that even a mild heat stroke causes side affects. Major organ damage can occur a few days later, and dogs with a significant heat stroke become more prone to them in the future. Another thing to keep in mind a stock tank in Texas in September is likely  80 degrees, not much of a cool off! I hope this helps you and your hunting buddy stay safe and better enjoy your hunting adventures.

    Written By: Professional Dog Trainer JC Strange

    Cripple Creek Retrievers, North Texas

    If you are planning on dove hunting a need a few training tools to get your dog ready check out a few of our best sellers:

    Dove Training Retrieving Dummy by Dokken Dead Fowl Trainer

    Dove Training Scent by Dead Fowl Trainer

    Hunting Dog First Aid Kit

  • 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

  • New Professional Dog Trainer On Staff- Welcome Bio Bre Krueger

    reddi hunt testI was lucky enough to be brought into the wonderful world of dog training at the young age of 11.  I started working with a pro trainer at his kennel doing the grunt work.  By the time I was 13, I was doing a lot of the obedience and young dog training, and I also started running AKC Hunt Tests.  When I was 14 is when I fell in love with working with dogs.  The trainer that I had been working for gave me a very well-bred field golden with a lot of potential.  It was my job to train and get her ready for competitions.  He was there to help, but it was mainly on me.   I really started getting into training and working with my puppy (Amber).  I built a bond with this dog like no other.  She not only became my best pal, but she was my hunting buddy, and really the reason for me becoming a dog trainer.   Amber and I trained with many different people, and in many different avenues of competition including: Hunt Tests, Upland, Dock Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Field Trials, Obedience, Agility, and as of recently Shed hunting.  I really acquired a lot of training knowledge working with her.

    When I was 16, I started offering in-home obedience and hunting training.  My business took off.  I always had 6-8 dogs in training.   I started giving all sorts of training demos at schools in the area.   I also got into different competitions quite heavily.  I kept a puppy out of Amber and continued to train my own dogs also.  I also started teaching group obedience classes at different training and boarding facilities in the area.

    dock dog picAfter high school, and some business courses, I decided to open a small natural pet supply and grooming shop in Winneconne, WI.  I made the decision to put training on the back burner while I got my new business up and rolling.  Taking a break from training lasted a whole month.  I started getting calls from someone that really wanted his new lab puppy trained for duck hunting.    He was very set on me training his dog because he didn’t want to have to send her off to a kennel for training.  Long story short… We got her into training, she became a star pupil that I really had fun running, testing, and training with.  We became great friends and training buddies, and I started right back into training hard core.

    As of lately, I work at the shop in the mornings and train in the afternoons and evenings.  Amber is 10 years old now, and living the high life fetching ducks, flushing pheasants, and finding shed antlers.  My younger dogs and a lot of my client dogs are training and competing in Hunt Tests, Field Trials, and Shed Trials.  I run a few training groups, and take part in a few others working with all sorts of great trainers.  I really have a passion for working with dogs.  I am excited to become a part of the team at and!

    pheasant hunting  training lilly

  • 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

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