Effective Gun Dog Pointer Training – Showing Fido the Right Way
People who hunt for sport make it a point to have trained gun dogs with them when they go hunting. Why, and what is so special about gun dogs? Not all dogs can become gun dogs - only certain breeds are physically qualified to perform the tasks that come with accompanying one's master on the hunting ground. For a list of popular gun dog breeds, see the Dog Breed Info Web page at http://dogbreedinfo.com/huntingdogs.htm. As tradition dictates, Pointers are among the most popular breeds used for hunting. But gun dog Pointer training may require a bit less "tough love" than training other kinds of gun dogs, even as it needs a bit more "tough love" than training ordinary household pets.
Gun dogs are not attack dogs - in fact, they're more retrieval dogs. Marksmanship enthusiasts bring gun dogs to hunting parties to aid in finding prey that has fallen into tall fields of grass, for example, where looking for your quarry is often not unlike looking for a needle in a haystack. It's a tough job, even for hardy dogs that are bred for the task. This is why gun dog Pointer training needs to start at an early age: so that the Pointer puppy learns how to recognize the sights and scents of quarry and masters the techniques that would make him effective as a grown dog.
The true origin of the Pointer is as yet unascertained. However, historians are sure that there have been English Pointers, native to Britain, used in hunting since the 1600s. For this reason, Pointers are believed by many to have originated from England. Pointers worked with Greyhounds when it came to hare-coursing: the Pointers found the prey then "pointed" to them with their noses, while the Greyhounds darted out to catch them. When Pointers perform the act of "pointing," they assume a uniquely balanced body stance, in which they remain absolutely still so as not to startle the prey.
Pointers are a sensitive breed, so positive reinforcement is the more recommended route for training Pointer puppies. Using treats and praise liberally, and especially when they achieve a difficult task, is important. Applying physical punishment as a rule might traumatize your dog and make him slow to learn essential gun dog duties.
Besides careful obedience training, you must also give your gun dog Pointer training for endurance and speed. Pointers are mostly field dogs, so they thrive on exercise. After your Pointer outgrows puppyhood, it's time to let him "graduate" into free galloping, and to let him do this regularly: this is a must. Your adult Pointer will be very agile, but at the same time he'll need plenty of room to run and jump, so it's best to keep him in a large garden enclosed with a fence of 1.5 to two meters high.
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