Training & conditioning Your Dog for Hunting

Hunting season is here! Make sure to train and condition your dog appropriately before going out this season.

Q: How can pet owners condition dogs for hunting?
A: One of the first things is-if you're hunting with a gun-getting them used to the gun sound and getting them used to that being a positive thing. A lot of dogs are instinctively afraid of loud noises, but hunting dogs are not! So, training them to that [sound] . Also, getting them physically in condition, just like an athlete would get ready for a big race! You need to get their hearts and lungs in shape. Go on lots of hikes! Preferably in the type of the terrain where you're going. I've seen dogs go out on their first day of hunting and come back with their feet all torn up from rough rocks, and then they're out for a few weeks while their feet heal. So, make sure their feet, hearts, lungs and muscles are all conditioned!

Q: How should owners dress their dogs so they are seen and comfortable?
A: At the very least, a brightly colored collar. Those bright orange collars are pretty darn visible. Also, they make vests which would be better [since] they have greater surface area. Some of the vests are actually tough enough to protect them from the twigs and branches as they are crashing through the undergrowth.

Q: What about hearing loss? How can you prevent that?
A: The simple trick is cotton balls. I would imagine there are special ear plugs for dogs, but of course, they don't listen to you as well, so make sure they're well trained! 

Q: How should pet owners take care of the dogs feet?
A: Condition to them to the type of terrain that you're on. Small amounts of time on that rough ground and gradually increasing [the time]. They make booties, but my experience with dogs and booties is that they don't stay together very long! Just getting the feet tough enough is the better bet. 

Q:What about training your dog specifically? Anything to do there?
A: There are a lot of very good trainers in this area. And I would say most, if not all of them, know about conditioning for hunting. Since, this is a huntin' kind of place.

Q: Alright, lets talk about Rabbit, she is up for adoption! What type of dog is Rabbit? 
A: Rabbit is a cattle dog mix, so as I was saying, she is not a hunting dog-she is a herding dog. Which means she probably likes to chase stuff. She would be a good ball or frisbee dog, probably would be a really fun running partner. She's going to get a little bit bigger than this, so she'll be a nice medium size dog. Maybe you can tell, she is high energy! Theses dogs are high energy! Be ready for that, this is not a couch potato dog! 

Update: Rabbit was adopted after this segment aired to her forever home.