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5 Tips To Help Avoid Injuries With Your Gundog
One of the most important things to remember when hunting and training a gundog is that when your dog is healthy he will NOT know when to quit, meaning he will push himself to the brink of disaster if allowed to. Here are some tips to help avoid work related injuries.
Slow and Steady Wins The Race
As the Tortoise and The Hair taught us as children, taking things slowly is much better than rushing and this applies to training your hunting dog as well. Make sure your dog is ready for the next step in training. Each step builds on the last and if skipped over or rushed through you could cause injury or confusion. If you have ever seen and compared a well trained, well disciplined dog to a rushed, half trained dog then you will understand the difference. The well trained dog will be sure of himself and of the next step while the half trained dog seems confused and anxious. The difference is rarely in the dog himself, it is usually in the trainer. The bottom line is; training for perfection can never be rushed.
As with any athlete, your dog needs to stretch and warm up. Hopping out of the truck and straight into a long arduous bird hunt is just inviting injury. Have a plan and let that plan be a part of every training session, hunting endeavor, or field trial that your dog is a part of.
Listen To Your Dog
Keep either mental records or written records of your dog’s reactions and the amount of time he usually needs to get to his peak performance. Don’t ignore the signs that your dog is tired or needs rest. He knows his body but, will attempt to do whatever you want him to do, so pay attention as most good gundogs will wait until the last possible minute to lay down or rest and some wait until it is too late and their body suffers.. Any subtle signs should be taken seriously and if something seems really off, don’t ignore it.
Condition, Condition, Condition
It can’t be stressed enough that conditioning is absolutely necessary. Having a well rounded exercise regimen that includes water sprints or other water activities will increase his overall physical fitness and can help to decrease the likelihood of injury while hunting. Any athlete will benefit from a routine that is anything but, routine and pushes him beyond what he’s used to in order to build muscle and get his joints lubricated and loose.
Keep Him Nourished and Hydrated
It is worth repeating that every dog needs proper nourishment and plenty of water whether training, or actually hunting. A dog should, of course, work on an empty stomach but, should have been well fed in advance. Never let your working dog get thirsty, as this can cause all sorts of issues whether immediate or delayed.