Give me all the hard stuff...
I'm just getting into bird hunting and am loving it. Of course, it seems like it would be even more fun with a dog! I in no way want to make this sort of decision on the spur of the moment, so I've begun gathering info about having and training a bird dog.
What I'd like to know is all the bad things, since it's pretty easy to sell yourself on the good. I want to know what I would be getting into so that I can decide if it's a good decision for me and my family.
So, what do I need to be prepared for? What are the hard parts?
Well, for me it is hard to think of the "hard parts" because there are so many rewards and "good things" from sharing a life with and training a dog, but two things do come to mind immediately.
First of all, It might seem short in our human terms, but it is for the life of the dog that you must commit. Life changes and yet you have to maintain a commitment to your canine friends. Over time you will have frustrating, hard days of total failure, yet they will be overshadowed by the joyous days of unbelievable success. Training a good bird dog is not a one time affair, it takes consistency and persistence from day one to the final days.
That brings up probably the hardest part of canine companionship, having to make the decision to let them go. Granted some dogs make the decision for you and pass away peaceful and naturally. However, many dog owners find themselves faced with the situation that demands a that they themselves make the call to the vet that no one wants to make, that is extremely painful and heartbreaking.
No truer words could be said--Just had to make that decision this spring with my constant companion ALTAI the cheasapeake.
He was sick with cancer and nothing could be done-
My thoughts are, to spend as much quality time with your dog every day and remember we some how always out live them-- Savor the time!!!
And yep that was one of the hardest phone calls i have ever made--- But it was time.
Good luck and if you can make the commitment, It can add so much to your life.
The disapointment on their face when you miss...pretty hard to deal with at times.
It would be worse if we lived in a state that had different opening days for different species. I recall a day in Nevada when we spent the day flushing chukar while hunting blue grouse. Chukar opener was still a week away. That old springer just about gave up on dad and I after all the work she did and no shots were fired. Never saw that many chukar in that canyon again.
Being a single dad and I travel for work a lot...drop offs at the kennel are harder for me than the dog.
Finding the time to train that does not cut into all the other family stuff. However, even if it is only 15 minutes of simple blinds in a parking lot the dog does not mind. She doesn't know that it took three hours to arrange your day to plan for that 15 minutes, nor does she care.
The training...not much goes in lock step with the steps in the books. No book/system can deal with the individuallity of your dog. You will have to learn what it means to "know your dog". It took me two years and some high quality professional help to get an understanding of what "know your dog" means. I have been around dogs since I was in diapers. "Know your dog" has little to do with the dog, and everything to do with your experience with training processes and how to change them to better communicate with the dog.