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Do You Have What It Takes To Train Your Dog?
The best way to figure out if you have what it takes to properly train your dog is to simply start. However, educating yourself beforehand and knowing what to expect can save you some frustration. For most dog owners the desire to train your own dog begins before you even bring your pup home from the breeder. Although normal house and obedience training is necessary and can be accomplished by most anyone with time and patience, gun training can be extremely tedious and being prepared mentally is the first step.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
Are you willing to train early? - In other words are you willing to train a puppy who knows nothing, who will drive you completely crazy with his energy and lack of control? Preparation and training begin immediately. You begin with basically a clean slate. Even though breeding and genetics will play a strong role in who your dog is, your dog is still a puppy and you will be training a puppy, not a prize-winning, elite, full grown dog.
Are you willing to discipline your dog? - You can’t properly train your dog without using some sort of punishment and rules. Boundaries will have to be defined and followed. Disciplining is ongoing, however, during the training itself will you be willing to force your dog to stay when he sees your neighbor or your child and wants to run to them? It’s sweet that your dog loves your neighbor but, you have to train him to listen to you and not disrupt the process.
Are you willing to look at your training and pick out what YOU might be doing wrong? - Are you willing to have a critical eye? Simply put, you might be doing something wrong and you need to be able to recognize it, early. Don’t risk having to retrain later.
Are you willing to study your dog’s personality and match your training against it? - And are you, all the while, able to maintain a positive attitude? Your dog might not be quite the dog you thought he was. He might be rather different from your previous dog or from his parents. Sometimes these differences can be disappointing. Are you willing to change how you proceed once you realize this dog just isn’t benefiting by the same process you have been using?
Are you patient? - Can you be patient not only with your dogs pitfalls but, by not prematurely hunting? Hunting for experience before your dog is ready can have negative effects that will be more trouble to correct in the long haul. Just because your dog “looks” old enough to hunt, doesn’t always mean that he is mentally ready. A rushed hunting dog becomes a shy, skittish, and often, confused partner.
Do you have enough time? - Training your gun dog doesn’t take hours at a time, it is a process that takes several different stretches of shorter training sessions. Your dog can become bored or distracted so a few minutes a few times a day is more effective that long drawn out sessions that wear you and your dog out.
Are you in for the long haul? - Consistency is one of the most important training tools. Your time training can and should be in short bursts however, you should be aware than training as it should be takes months and sometimes years to perfect. Are the type of person that gives up after a while or who gives in easily? Remember, you must teach every part of the process and tie them altogether so that your dog has a confident understanding of each step he will take when he’s out in the field. Repetition takes time, just because you think he understands, doesn’t always mean he does.
Are you willing to ask for help and learn? - There are times when your dog may become a challenge. There are times when you may need the critical eye of an outsider to help you see clearly what needs to be done in order to properly train your dog. Are you willing to allow someone to criticize you and/or your dog?
Don't Blame The Equipment
If you do decide to train your own dog, don’t get caught up in the equipment or the latest trend. Choose the training tools you will use and stick with them. Training collars and leads are available to help you train, not to do the training. Rarely is it the equipment that is failing to do it’s job, unfortunately it is almost always the user.