Here it is, your hunting dog puppy has arrived at home. After choosing a breed, a litter, and preparing its corner of the house, your puppy, usually a little over eight weeks old, is now becoming part of the family. In this article, we'll look at how to get things off to a good start in its new environment.
Because its training will condition its development and behaviour as an adult. This will also play a role in shaping its character. By teaching the puppy the proper keys, you will enable it to grow up and behave well within your family and your environment.
1 - Socialisation: you must teach your puppy to integrate into your living environment, and into your family. This stage is essential for your pet to feel at ease in everyday life. You need to introduce it to noises, take it out into urban environments so that it becomes familiar with cars and ambient sounds. Introduce your dog to children as well: taking it to school when you go to pick up your children is the best way to introduce it to other people, as well as potentially to other dogs. The more elements, noises, smells, and situations you introduce it to, the more your dog will accept these different situations. It will behave in a healthy way towards people and other animals.
2 - Toilet training: this does not come naturally to the puppy; in principle, you have to expect a puppy to be 4 months old before it can be housebroken. Give your puppy clear instructions. Show it where you expect it to do its business. Be firm if your puppy doesn't do it, but also be very patient. It has to learn, and for some individuals this can take a long time. As soon as you see that your dog needs to urinate, for example, take it outside and encourage it to do so. If it urinates, for example, you should praise it. Don't hesitate to take it outside very often and encourage it to relieve itself. If there is an "accident" inside the house, stay calm. Don't rub its nose in it, this doesn't help. If you catch it in the act, scold it and take it outside to finish its business. If you didn't see your dog do it, don't mention it, it won't understand. Don't clean up the mess in front of your dog. Put it outside or in another room and clean it up.
3 - Teaching simple commands: every day, in short work phases of roughly 10 minutes, work with it on simple commands such as "sit", "lie down", "paw", "don't move", "no", "stop". Always use the same words. For example, for "lie down", don't say ""lie down"" once, "go to sleep" another time or "sleepy time" the next. You must choose a simple word. Use it every time you want your dog to behave accordingly. Work in short phases and in a calm and serene environment. Repeat the commands until your puppy achieves them. Praise and reward it for each success. If unsuccessful, don't scold the puppy, but rather be patient. Continue to explain what you want from it. Don't be stingy with petting either. Always have a treat that your dog loves to eat on hand to reward it. The older it gets, the longer you can spend working with it. One last piece of advice: always end the session on a success and the encouragement that goes with it.
You can start taking it out for short periods with you to discover nature. Do not take it out for overly long periods. It is still developing and should not run for more than 30 minutes. Put it in contact with older dogs. Let it explore nature, take some initiative, and cover some ground. Take advantage of these times to improve the training you started at home in a closed or secure environment. To this end, after the commands given by voice, you can start to teach your dog the commands given with a whistle. You will see that these little outings are often the trigger for creating a great bond between the master and his hunting dog.
In conclusion, take the time to work on your dog's general training before trying to train it to hunt. The first few months are the time to teach your dog to behave well with your family, friends and other animals, to be housebroken, and to respond to your commands. You will find that the time spent on this stage is a very useful investment for the rest of your life with your faithful companion. What a joy it is to hunt with a dog that is socialised and attentive to the orders given by its master!
And you, what have you put in place to get your puppy off to a good start?