10 2011 »

Getting Your Dog Ready For Hunting Season

**This is an old article but is always a good reminder for hunters and their hunting partners!**

By: TON System Account , Fishing Buddy

As a dog lover and owner, I have done a lot of research and talking to others about the best way to get my dogs ready for the hunting season. As we come into the fall of 2004 we are challenged by all types of weather and conditions that we put our companions into. Last year there was an article written up about the high numbers of dogs that over heated and ended up dying during pheasant opener. The article talked about these animals being not just some mans hunting dog that he could easily replace, but dogs that were part of families with kids and wives that also loved these dogs. There are many ideas of how to best take care of your hunting dog, I just wanted to write a few ways given to me or researched. Weather we have our dogs kenneled or they are also a house pet, our animals are valuable assets that we don’t want to lose and can’t afford to lose.

Weather. Hunting opener can be forecasted to be in the mid 70’s to 80 in the Dakota’s. When the dog is fighting through thick brush and cover on a 70 degree day, the dog is going to get hot. We all have hunting dogs for a reason, so we are not going to leave them at home just because of the weather. So, here are a few things to get your dog through these days.

Exercise. I would suggest leaving them at home if they haven’t been exercised for months. This is something that should be a no brainer. An overweight, out of shape dog has no business being in the field, it’s just not healthy for the dog. His paws should be ready to go, along with his heart. A dog should be out running in the field before hand, or some people do what is called roading a dog. This technique is nothing more than setting up a safe way for a dog to get exercise. I have seen this with a four wheeler and rods coming off the back sides with harnesses attached and the dogs gradually taken farther and farther. Roading, in my opinion, is not necessary if you take your dog out and let him run hard on long walks. Our German Shorthair puts miles on when we go for walks, and that’s great for getting him ready to put miles on in the field. Swimming is another great way to exercise your dog. If you have a waterfowl dog, get him out beforehand and get him in the water working retrieves. Why not get the dog ready before you go out, along with some good exercise. This will probably lessen any mistakes on his/her part.

Drinking Water. So, we need to think about how long we’ll be gone from the vehicle and what we need to take along on the walk. It is absolutely necessary to take water along on your hunt. See if you can get your dog to drink from a water bottle, if not, I use a water bottle with a tray attached which I bought at Petco. Here is a link so you can see what I’m talking about http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=900&N=2001+113235
Just make sure to have plenty of water back at the pickup to keep refilling and let the dog drink as much as he needs when he gets back, and have a little rest in between hunts. A trainer from Oklahoma who is in hot humid weather supplements his dogs water during hunts. He says dogs that aren’t getting enough water; you may need to supplement it for them.

First Aid. From scrapes to deep cuts we need to be ready for anything. There are preventative measures that can be taken. We have a Weimaraner with very thin skin, so when we are in trees and brush and barbed wire we put a chest protector vest on him. I’ve found that putting it on him in the house to get him used to it is not the best method. We took him out on some birds early on with the vest on to see what happened. He had birds on his mind and didn’t even notice he had it on. I’d probably put it on before the first hunt to make sure he/she isn’t going to be side tracked. All we need is a side tracked dog, right?

Now, for deep cuts all I have been hearing about is EMT Gel. EMT Gel is similar to superglue, and if you have none on hand if an incidence occurs, superglue will also work. Be sure and cleanse the wound first with hydrogen peroxide or another cleanser and then use your EMT Gel to keep the wound together and ready for healing. EMT Gel can be purchased at a sporting goods store or pet store. Here is a link to find out more about or to buy EMT Gel http://www.emtgel.com/.

As I was out running the dogs a couple weeks ago our shorthair went on point. I went in to flush and here a porcupine looked up at me. I screamed bloody murder and got both dogs out of the area thankfully before we had a nasty run in. This opened my eyes to one more thing I needed in my first aid kit. Pliers! What I would have done, I don’t know, but I’ll bet we aren’t out again without a set of pliers! A few other things we have in our first aid kit for the dogs: eye wash (for those little seeds that get in the eyes), bandages, EMT Gel, Hydrogen Peroxide, Antibiotic Ointment, Benadryl (never know when you’ll have a run in with bees or wasps), Benadryl cream, tweezers, scissor, tape, gauze, etc. I got a great tip from another dog owner about carrying your dog back to the vehicle if something happens to him that he can’t make it on his own. Bend down and carry him over your shoulders he says, and you’ll be much better off getting back to the vehicle without killing yourselves. He says to also carry with you some Karo syrup or honey sticks/packets just in case your dog is hypoglycemic.

Feeding. I do think it’s important to feed a good food and to feed the right amount for your dog, not feeding so that your dog becomes overweight. I am not qualified to give information on feeding for performance at all! There is so much information and different ideas on what to feed and when to feed. There are many people who say that you need to feed the day of the hunt, and there are others who say 24 hours before. I guess we just need to make decisions for ourselves on the information that we have and how our own dog performs. I haven’t myself tried the newest Pro Plan Performance Bars, but have heard some great things about them. We were involved in a field test this fall and one of the pups tried out a bar for the first time, his owner thought it really helped. There is another dog owner/trainer that takes with wet food portions along in baggies or the wet food you can buy in pouches to feed in intervals during the day. It is too much on a dog to feed a meal and then run them hard, so these are just some ideas to get the dog through a long hard day or a long hard weekend.

I’m learning just as all dog owners do. I have only included basic tips, as I’m not an expert! Just be sure to keep the dogs hydrated and don’t over do it on this coming warm weekend. Good luck to all in this seasons hunts.

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