It's hard to imagine, but hunting season is only a few weeks away.
With goose season starting in September and game season following closely behind, it’s never too late to help your hunting companion get ready for a few months of what he/she is born to do.
Whether your canine companion is an outside or inside the house hunting partner, today is the day to begin spending time with them.
1. Begin a slowly defined exercise plan. It’s better to take five 1-hour walks instead of one 5-hour walk.
2. Teach your pup to drink from a bottle or canister. He will love you for it.
3. Know your dog. Watch that wagging tail, an immediate turn or switch of directions. Not every dog has the same clues.
4. Keep them safe, while in transportation from home to the field and return.
5. Know the area you both are hunting in. Keep an eye out for barbwire and electric fences, ground hog holes and any obstacles which might endanger your pup.
6. When taking others along hunting, be the leader on the field.
7. Ensure that everyone knows the facets of hunting with a dog.
8. Have a code signal so your dog can always differentiate between you and the others in your hunting partner.
9. Communicate clear and simply so everyone is on the same page.
10. When you and your dog are not hunting, keep your canine in a safe place.
11. Your dog is a trained athlete. While performing watch for bleeding, a limp or unusual noises that may indicate they are in pain.
12. Carry energy snacks. Dogs run on energy and energy comes from healthy dog treats.
13. When traveling with your dog in a boat, Keep then in a safe place that is always his.
14. Don’t take your dog afield until he has practiced every piece of the scenario he will experience in the field.
15. Summer time tune up drills as well as September goose and dove season can and will be very hot. Keep your dog from getting exhausted.
16. When debating on whether to take your pup to the vet or not, take him.
17. The friends you choose to hunt with should be determined by how they treat their dogs.
18. Know when to retire your hunting partner from hunting. They will love you for it.
19. Take pictures on every hunting outing.
20. Teach your best buddy as much as they are willing to learn.
21. Let the dogs owner give commands to his dog.
22. Hunting dogs can do a lot, but they can’t do everything.
23. Some dogs can hunt all day while others cannot. Know your dogs limitations.
24. Whistles are more hearable than words.
25. At the end of the day, check your dog thoroughly for ticks, cuts, thorns and bruises.
26. Teach your children about the love of hunting with a dog and they will not depart from it.
27. Let your pup know they are the best dog in the world.
Your hunting companion should be your No. 1 priority!
Caz Russell is a board member for the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association and certified John Maxwell leadership trainer. Contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.