Owning a Good Gun Dog

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Published on: May. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

new, dogs may have trouble understanding what response an owner wants. Even trained dogs will try to disobey commands. No matter how frustrated you get at such times, it's crucial to be patient and thoughtful in correcting them. Impatience, leading to anger, is counterproductive to dog training.

It's important to realize that routines are a primary part of owning a well-trained gun dog. Dogs learn through consistent repetition. Some people enjoy routines; others quickly grow bored with them. If you don't like routines, then owning a gun dog could prove frustrating.

When a dog makes a mistake, most of the time it's the owner's fault. Dog mistakes reflect mistakes in training and handling. If you tend to blame the dog instead of yourself, you probably aren't ever going to own a great hunting dog.


If you have the personal qualities necessary to own and train a gun dog, then the next step is finding the right dog. Research hunting dog breeds to find the one with the traits and qualities you desire, but don't buy on breed alone. Many dogs simply don't have the inherent ability to develop into skilled hunters. Some possess hunting characteristics that don't match sportsmen's needs. For example, some dogs are known for hunting close and methodically, while others are known for ranging far and charging hard. You need experience and knowledge to pick a good dog

On a quail hunt, for example, the close-hunting performance of your friend's Brittany spaniel might impress you to the point that you decide you want just such a dog. Many hunters might look in the newspaper, find someone selling Brittany pups, visit the owner, take a fancy to one of the pups and take it home the same day. As likely as not, the dog's hunting abilities will be disappointing.

All Brittany spaniels do not hunt close. Some are bred to compete in field trials. These dogs range far in quest of game. The Brittany might even have come from show stock parents with little hunting instinct. Such a Brit may look nice, but it might not hunt a lick.

Only buy a pup out of parents that are skilled hunters. If both parents are skilled hunters, chances are their pups will have what it takes to develop into good gun dogs. Genetics determine a pup's potential.

If both are available, ask to see the parents work in

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