Dear Dr. Zeus: I am an eight week old Curly-Coated Retriever and my dad and mom want me to hunt. How do I start? – “Deke” from New Iberia, LA
Dear Deke: Hunting is the best thing about being a Retriever. It includes all of the key fun things we love – running, swimming, picking things up (especially stinky things) and bringing them back to our moms and dads. Coming home tired and muddy after a day on the hunt makes dinner taste just a little bit better!
So how do you start? First make sure to pick up anything you can and bring it back to mom or dad. Hopefully they will get you some toys like the Dokken Dead Fowl Trainer or a Canvas Dummy. But the most important part of learning to hunt is to get on birds – live ones, dead ones, frozen ones, and fresh ones. The more I retrieve birds, the more I want to retrieve them!
Well, it is not all fun and games to become a great hunter. When I first started hunting I loved to go out and pick up the bird but I didn’t want to bring it back. I just wanted to keep it for myself. My trainer, Chuck Hilton, had to get a Check Cord to help me come back after I picked up the bird. After a while I got the hang of it and started coming back all of the time. Now I don’t need a check cord. Plus, I figured out the sooner I bring it back, the sooner I can go out and get another bird!
I also needed to learn obedience. In the show ring I was taught to stand and move. I did it so well, I became a famous champion. In hunting I had to learn to sit, stay, and be quiet at the line. Being quiet was easy because I was concentrating on the bird, but sitting and staying took more time. Just be patient and obedient, the bird isn’t going anywhere.
I guess the key thing to getting into hunting is make sure you love to retrieve in water and on land. Be obedient for your trainer, and most of all have fun! If your mom and dad are new to this, make sure they get with a local retriever club so they can get involved with other folks that love to train their retrievers. Enjoy the hunt!
Category : Ask Dr. Zeus