Want a Canine Hunting Companion? 3 Tips for Training Rescue Dogs - Over Under Clothing

Want a Canine Hunting Companion? 3 Tips for Training Rescue Dogs

Whether you've just said goodbye to your beloved older dog or you're looking forward to becoming a firsttime dog owner, one of the most important decisions you'll have to make is where to get your new dog - especially if you're looking for a dog you can hunt with.

Many hunters choose to work with breeders specific to hunting dogs, while others scour the classifieds to find hunters who have already trained their dogs and are looking to find them a good owner. But you have another, potentially better option when it comes to finding your new canine hunting companion: adopting a rescue dog.

Some hunters steer clear of rescue dogs, worrying that these dogs won't react well to being trained to hunt. However, while rescue dogs can require more patience to train to hunt than other dogs, the rewards you'll reap in companionship are just as great, if not greater.

Plus, training a rescue dog to help likely isn't as challenging as you might think. Keep reading to learn some simple tips for training your new rescue dog to hunt. 

1. Talk to the Shelter Before Adopting

Start the training process off right by adopting a dog who will be amenable to training. Instead of visiting a shelter intending to adopt only a specific breed of hunting dog, talk to shelter employees about which dogs they think have a temperament best suited to hunting.

Volunteers might know that the pointer you have your eye on startles at loud noises or whines and cries when forced to be around other dogs. Meanwhile, the spaniel you were about to gloss over in favor of a bigger dog has been amenable to training so far, reacts well to other animals, and follows commands well in spite of past experiences.

Bear in mind that no shelter knows exactly how their dogs will react in every situation, including to hunting. But talking to the shelter and getting a better understanding of their dogs' personalities and experiences will greatly increase your chances of finding the perfect dog to hunt with.  

2. Follow Your Dog's Lead

This piece of advice is crucial for any dog you're hoping to train to hunt, but it's particularly important in the case of rescue dogs - rescue dogs have been through traumatic experiences that other dogs haven't, and they may not have been socialized or trained in the same way as other dogs, so patience is key to successfully training them to hunt.

If your dog shies away from a certain task, don't react harshly. Instead, back off and let your dog recover. Take the training process a few steps at a time, and don't force your dog to continue training when they're clearly unhappy.

For the best chance at succeeding, start the process by talking to a trainer who works with rescue dogs. He or she can give you the best advice about how to help your unique dog learn to hunt, including providing you with a timetable of what you can expect while training your dog.

3. Get the Right Training Supplies and Gear

Training any dog to hunt often requires supplies like training collars and decoy launchers. If you're training a rescue dog, it's particularly important to find collars, leashes, and training tools that don't startle the dog but instead make the dog feel comfortable and at ease during the training.  

In particular, talk to a trainer before using any type of electronic collar. Some people argue that these devices are cruel, and especially in a rescue dog's case, you don't want to use any type of training equipment that could further traumatize and hurt the dog.

At Over Under Clothing, we're committed to supporting rescue dogs by contributing to American nonprofits like Labrador Retriever Rescue. Look through our vast inventory today to find equipment you and your rescue dog will love.

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