Do a little winter training

Hunting season is over and it’s cold outside! Training suggestions for the winter months

 With the darkest stretch of winter weather upon us now is no time to ignore your canine companion.

 While short days, snowy fields and cold weather may not seem like the ideal time for dog activities, there are a multitude of activities that you can be doing now to keep your pup on his game and prepare for the spring and summer training/competition season to come.

 Need some work with retrieving? It’s easy to carve out one or two fifteen minute sessions a day to go through the steps of the trained retrieve. You also won’t have the temptation or distraction of bird work which is generally not recommended while going through the training. While each dog is different, most trainers figure on allowing four to eight weeks to go through the entire process. A quiet spot in the back yard, porch, basement, family room or even the garage is all the space you’ll need for a training table or even just a five-gallon bucket to sit on while working with your dog. Check out Evan Graham's Smart Fetch or others from a complete selection of training DVDs at

 Is there such a thing as a hunting dog that doesn’t need a little more work on basic obedience?

Bundle up, grab a Huntsmith Command Lead or leash and take your buddy for some short walks around the neighborhood. Besides working on heeling, you can drop the lead to work on whoa, or bring a bumper and work on hold or fetch.  Use a check cord to work on recall and quartering. Find a quiet corner in the house and work on down, hold or even sit.

 Reinforce the training with an e-collar. Work on using the collar as a cue, not just a correction, by using light stimulation.

Have some fun in the field even if it’s covered in snow. Instead of a bumper, use a Dokken or a cloth Frisbee type flying toy that won’t sink into the snow. Just be careful not to overdo it if the snow is too deep or if the temperatures are in the single digits.

Load up your pup and take a field trip to the local dog supply store. Use the other dogs and shoppers as distractions to work on socialization as well as obedience. You might even treat your buddy to a new collar or a dog treat while you’re there.

Hopefully these ideas will show you that you don’t have to ignore your best hunting partner just because it’s cold outside. To learn more about these techniques, join us this spring at our Foundations of Field Training sessions.