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Preparing for a New Hunting Companion

Kevin Erdmier | | All Hunting Articles
Posted 06/01/2024

So you had a great duck season that wasn’t so great? You have decided it is time for a new retriever to assist in your duck hunting expeditions. There are many factors to consider when making this choice. First, you need to think about how your dog will be used. Some other questions to ask yourself: Do you hunt one weekend a year or 90 days a year? Do you want an outside kennel dog or an inside pet? Would you be better off to find an older retriever that has already received training? This would mean less time put in for you, but it would be more expensive. Do you have the time to dedicate to training a puppy? The time is now to start your journey.
If you decide that the time is right, do not wait until right before hunting season to buy and train a puppy. It is important to not only begin training your puppy, but also to bond with them and socialize them. You can start potty training, socializing and building endurance in them now. It is also crucial not to have unrealistic goals for your dog. Take your time and consistently train your pup. I like to use the crawl, walk, run methodology. Babies do not stand up the first few days of life. They gradually start pulling up, then they take a baby step or two. The same is true for your new hunting companion. You must let them progress at his or her own rate. Get the potty training mastered as you are socializing and starting to build a relationship. Only throw a few retrieves a day, and always leave them wanting more. Try to end on a good note. Take your pup with you everywhere you can to get them used to different environments. This builds confidence and puts them at ease in different situations.
At about 5 months of age your puppy’s brain will be developed enough to start more formal training. It is appropriate at this time to start making them wait longer, retrieving more (not to burn out), and expecting more from them as a whole. There are many great programs out there to follow. Remember that consistency is key. They will mess up (and so will you) but be patient and work your way through the process. It will be worth the time and effort. Watch and study your dog! They will let you know when to expect more and when to back off. Get ready to have a more successful duck season than your last!

About the Author : Kevin Erdmier
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Kevin owns Southern Pine Kennel in Blackshear, GA, where he offers a full range of dog training services. They have indoor and outdoor kennels facilities and are state licensed. He is a certified dog trainer and fully insured. Kevin is an avid hunter, mostly wing shooting dove, duck, geese, quail, and turkey. He typically hunts in Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Missouri. In 2016, he opened Southern Pine Kennel after training his own dogs for years. His program is designed for hunters that want to bring a well-mannered and trained dog into the field.

In 2017, he retired from U.S. Homeland Security after 26 years of Law Enforcement. His last duty was to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as a Firearms Instructor. For the last 10 years he has trained Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement in handguns, shotguns, and rifles. Students were taught proper safety, weapons handling, nomenclature, proper maintenance, and proper marksmanship. He continues to teach firearms to individuals in his community and contractually for Homeland Security

He is currently a Pro Staff member for Retay Shotguns. He is also with Heybo, Dakota Kennels and National Pro Staff. You can find him regularly posting about his dogs on Instagram and Facebook as @southern_pine_kennel.


About the Artist : Leah Brigham
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After graduating from Millersville University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Science in Art Education, Leah began teaching Art to inner city Middle School students in Houston and later Dallas, TX. Leah has shared with her students her passion for art and nature. This passion has sustained her and continued throughout her life in the form of painting and drawing.

Leah was introduced to American Field Horseback Field Trails and has been able to experience the excitement of seeing her own dog, competing for the National Championship at Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, TN ...standing on point, head and tail held high. This has inspired her to create works of art depicting dogs and the wildlife associated with the sport and hunting.


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