Hunting dogs may be born to retrieve, but it takes training to bring out the best of their natural abilities.
Photos by KODY VAN PELT
Hunt tests and field trials are effective ways to keep a hunting dog tuned up during the offseason. Tests and trials are not just for determining the quality of a dog and trainer but also for preparing the two of them for situations they will face while hunting. Regardless of whether your hunting dog is going to compete in tests and trials or not, offseason training is essential for making sure that, when it’s time to hunt, both the dog and owner are ready to make the most of their days afield.
Hunting Retriever Champion Tucker, Master Hunter
Reece Hudson (owner, Ozark Kennels) with Labrador puppy Rum, who is full of excitement and drive.
Trainer/handler Luke Cour (owner, Best Retrievers) runs champion Indy at Pepper’s Pond’s Super Retriever Series.
Hudson sets up a remote launcher, an essential piece of equipment when training solo or needing to launch multiple birds (marks) to simulate a hunt or hunt test.
Hudson and Tucker lock onto a mark while training for fall hunt tests prior to duck season.
Rum is full of excitement while owner Reece Hudson incorporates rules into the fun and games, marking the beginnings of a quality hunting companion.
Hudson and Kate (Grand Hunting Retriever Champion, Master Hunter, Qualified All Age 2) demonstrate that drive and energy must be balanced with steadiness and focus in a quality gun dog.
Kate puts the offseason training to the test on a big Canada goose hunt, demonstrating that the hard work pays off during the season.
Prophet saving his owner a lot of work and effort on a cold-water greenhead retrieve.
The eyes of a dedicated hunting buddy who won’t let down and loves his job.
The fruits of the day’s labors, which is what the training is all about.