Learn how to develop your hunting dog’s natural Instincts

The best hunting dogs have natural traits and are properly trained. Early exposure to different hunting scenarios is crucial.

Natural traits in championship bloodlines produce the best hunting dogs combined with proper training. Great dogs, whether exceptional hunters or family pets are eager to please their owners. Nurturing the appropriate skills should start early in a dog’s life.

Socializing the canine to various environments, people, and other animals helps in their adaptability and confidence. Early exposure to different hunting scenarios and the right hunting dog supplies for your pup, bows and arrows, shotguns, and rifles, combined with basic obedience training, is crucial to a dog’s championship development.

Championship bloodlines have a strong sense of smell and an innate prey drive. These motivating drives must be nurtured as soon as possible.

The best-seasoned trainers, veterinarians, and other experts are now recommending training to begin as early as 7 to 8 weeks. A full-on boot camp for hunting dogs should start around 5 to 7 months, depending on the breed and temperament.

The following traits in champions produce exceptional hunting companions.

Intelligence and noticeable emotion

When puppies and dogs are euphoric, they wag their tails and jump around in total bliss.

Dogs never hide their emotions, so when the canine is sad, it may whimper, moving slowly toward its owner, asking for affection. A bond is created if hunters are attuned to their companions’ emotions.

Every dog is brilliant in its unique way; however, certain breeds are proven to have a higher level of intelligence.

Championship bloodlines are quick to make decisions, such as retrieving a duck, even if it is unprepared.

Intelligent breeds follow commands with the ability to assess the situation and make decisions quickly based on their owner’s nurturing training.

Tracking and scenting

Hunting dogs have exceptional scenting ability; however, certain dogs are bred for duck hunting. These breeds will be harder to instill the capability of treeing a black bear.

Knowing the breed’s genetics and scenting abilities is helpful before purchasing.

Tracking has always been an essential skill of champions.

Tracking refers to a dog’s ability to detect, recognize, and follow a specific scent. The finest hunting dogs have a zealous desire to track short distances or miles if needed, making some champions perfect for archers.

Again, pay close attention to the long-term nurturing characteristics of any breed.

Work ethic and athleticism

This characteristic is where the fun part of nurturing a champion hunting dog begins. Sport dogs have exceptional endurance, speedy reflexes, and plenty of stamina to keep pace with their owners. Some hunting dogs are bred and nurtured to run or walk for miles.

Other breeds are suited for working, with the instinct to point at their prey until called off.

Champion hunting dogs must be trained for discipline and nurtured to enjoy the sport.

Training is easier if the dog is amenable to hard work and discipline.

Retrieving, soft mouth and a gentle touch

Bird dogs, and in a lesser sense, other breeds, love to retrieve things for their owners.

Some breeds have centuries of nurturing and refinement for these exact traits. Big game hunting dogs possess great scenting and tracking abilities while fearless in the field.

The soft mouth’s tendency to pick up, hold, and gently carry its quarry is a behavioral trait from millennia of breeding.

Hunters should start their dogs with simple commands and playful activities like fetch and heel. As the dog progresses, make the training more robust and complex.

Eager to please

More than any other trait, great hunting companions are eager to please their masters. Dogs love attention of all kinds, which makes them prone to misbehavior.

Dog owners should always reward good behavior in their companion with a treat.

Retrievers (golden and Labrador), shepherds, and poodles. (not great hunters, but high on the list of loving their humans) Unlike other animals, dogs are naturally attracted to humans.

Nurture championship qualities in hunting dogs

What governs your dog’s behavior; is it a learned experience or an instinctive response? Studies have given rise to the belief that canine (material) genetics control significant long-term traits.

  • A study from the University of Washington points out that certain behaviors characterizing a breed are associated with distinct genetic differences.
  • Science Daily also believes a dog’s increased behavior, such as a prey drive, is associated with distinctive genetic material.

It is a known fact; puppies are born with a strong instinct to suck, allowing them to survive in the wild if abandoned.

Another instinctive trait for puppies is playing. No one has to teach a puppy to have fun. Puppies face a world of fun and excitement in the first few months of their lives.

A puppy’s drive to please its owner is unlike any other in a young dog’s life. 

Nurturing the proper skills to transform a puppy into a hunting champion is a lifelong pursuit for the owner and the dog.

Nurturing a strong bonding relationship drives a dog to please its owner. First and foremost, owners must socialize their puppy to get along with other owners, people, and pets.

Increase training as your hunting dog gets older

Keep commands basic. Introducing complex instructions too early confuses a puppy and will lead to disobedience later.

If archery is the weapon of choice, tracking and retrieval should be high on the list of learned skills.

Dogs need to be accustomed to the sudden loudness of a rifle or shotgun early in the dog’s life. If an owner opts for professional training, ensure commands are the same with each exercise, weapon, and training event.

Training hunting puppies is a work in progress; always have a plan for each significant training step.

Coordinate goals with your professional trainer and find the right hunting dog supplies for your pup.

Companionship and environment play a significant role in a growing dog’s life.

The debate over genetics or learned response will continue to produce studies and expert opinions. The owner must ensure their champion learns the proper way to hunt through positive experience.

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