Winter gundog training
Too quiet around here. So, for those with hunting dogs, what do you do with your dogs during the winter? How do you modify your summer training routines to fit into the winter climate? Do you do any winter hunting with your dogs? Other dog related winter sports?
We are still hunting ducks and there is 2 feet of snow. We will have open salt water all year to work Razzy in. I want to get some Ptarmigan hunting done and see if I can work on that pointing thing with her. Also I want to start some more in depth blind retrieve training. She is supper smart and even though she has not really had any training to retrieve blinds she will follow some directional instruction. Oh ya she is a yellow Lab about 1 and a half.
Oh yeah. There's lots that can be done during the winter.
There's not much snow around in the Matsu so the farmers fields and the hay flats are still available for field training on marks, quartering and trailing.
When the snow does fly I use a snow blower on my property to keep a single T and TT pattern clear. I can teach lining drills, line to pile, force to pile, 3 legged patterns, 4 phase drills and casting drills. They learn to do great straight lines this way. LOL
Late evening I'll go to some of the larger parking lots. The ones that are well lit and throw marks even do some cold blinds. But since it's winter the blinds are going to be cold anyway. LOL, couldn't resist that one.
I don't mind telling this information because in my opinion there are no secrets to be held here. We all need to help each other.
I'm meeting clients tomorrow for a training run. During the winter I do travel south for training in water. I like to go down at least twice or more depending on the number of dogs running and when and how the event schedule falls at different locations.
Im taking my dog with me to visit family for christmas this year. Arkansas has a very mild winter and some killer duck hunting.
Jim just got back from there. He had a great time!!! He also shot a bunch of pheasant in Iowa.
There are a lot of things to work on over winter, even if you don't get out hunting much. he shorter daylight hours tend to be a pain, but we've trained at -30 (it was a short session in a plowed parking lot, but still insane). It's black bumpers on a "white sidewalk", but some with some dogs they start marking better & running drills/blinds with more confidence when things are so visible. Not sure if there's anything useful, but below are a few things/tips from an unpublished handout & tweaked a bit!
Take advantage of winter to work on basic obedience, manners, marks & handling/blinds – AND yourself as a handler. Be firm, fair and consistent (louder is not consistent & "barking" at your dog is a waste of time), and treat your dog with respect always. Practice the concept “one command equals successful response”, and be aware of tone of voice & body language. Retrieving is a team effort, so build trust & your team now.
Plastic knobby bumpers freeze in cold weather, tend to torpedo into snow, and can cause problems with marking the actual fall, pick-up & delivery, plus can injure a dog’s mouth in some conditions. Canvas bumpers tend to float higher in the snow, and black or dark colored bumpers can help a dog mark falls. If you only have white bumpers, try wrapping strips of black electrical tape towards each end to provide contrast. Also, dry them thoroughly between sessions.
Use snow berms or that de-decorated Christmas tree for retrieving over obstacles & terrain changes. Avoid teaching the dog to run down trails, but rather work on crossing them at various angles. Parking lots or plowed areas can be used for lining drills and handling patterns (make sure they’re hazard free). Lawn chairs or buckets can be used as gun stations too.