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First time out with pup Saturday...

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I am taking my 6 1/2 (almost 7) month old British Lab out for the first time on Saturday for the pheasant opener. I have heard the main thing is to let the dog have fun, and not be concerned with the retrieve or the delivery as much as just keeping the dog close and controlling it. That is my plan. My question is, is there anything I should be watching for to know when to quit hunting for the day? Any signs to realize the dog is "done." Much of this is just watching the dog's actions I am sure. I am just looking for some input/advice from people about taking a pup this age out for the first time. Was out with her in a field tonight and she flushed some doves and went after some ducks in some standing water. She just loved it. Luckily, she does come every time I blow the whistle (well, 9 times out of 10). Any input would be appreciated. Thanks guys.

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I'd say watch for overheating.

Its a time when the dog learns its range how you want him to hunt. Give the dog time to work. A fast pace will make a dog that should be quartering into a one that can't. Avoid taking easy routes till he learns to quarter because if your walking a trail he'll think he can too.

Bring a lead or command heal when you moving though areas your not hunting, again you'll be moving fast and you don't want the dog to associate that straight line pace with hunting.

Good Luck

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I just took my 6 mo. lab out yesterday for a controlled "hunt". We went to a game farm, got 6 hens (no spurs) and set the first 4 out one at a time, in the short stuff, and flagged the location so we knew where it was.

I had him on a check cord and coaxed him back and forth in a quartering motion while my buddy was there to shoot the birds. I guided Kody to where I knew he'd get a whiff and let him do his thing.

The first bird didn't get shot because of her flight path downhill kept the dog too close to the line of fire until the bird was too far away. Kody took of in pursuit. Thankfully the check cord hung up on the corn and I got him back. After that he did a great job retrieving everything we knocked down, did it with great enthusiasm, and brought everything back to me.

By the last bird, I could see he was getting tired. He lost the spring in his step and kept closer to me. You'll know when your dog gets to this point.

I had just picked him up from Cannon River Kennels after his two week bird & gun training so I knew he was not gun shy and loved retrieving birds.

The one thing I had to make sure of, was that he didn't start eating the birds.

When we go hunting for real I may kennel him every other field to keep him rested. He's just a pup after all.

His first bird:


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Keep the hunts short! Nothing worse than a guy taking a young dog out and running him till he drops.... keep it short and successful and they will come back for more... DO NOT expect anything from him, but be ready to correct him... if he is just having fun, let him be... if he is running down deer or bunnies or chasing birds over yonder hill, work on no-ing him off those traits... keep him in close... as he gets more confidence his range will extend, let him run wild now and you will have that through a good majority of his life!

Good Luck!


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