by Simon Lusk
I have not taken a particularly scientific approach to dog training. Fudge was a natural hunter when I got her, and I just need get her to be a bit more disciplined. Mabo grew up following Fudge around down at the river, where there were a few resident pheasants and quail for him to practice on.
Lucy is the only dog I have used dummies on, when I tried to convince her working the thick stuff was a good idea. She loved the dummy work, but never really saw the need to go into the thick stuff unless there was a dummy. She picked up her hunting from Fudge and Mabo.
Bruce didn’t need much training. I had a target that I sighted in guns off my deck and he thought guns were pretty awesome as soon as he moved to my place. Having other dogs get excited when the guns came out helped.
The most important lesson I have picked up from training up dogs is to awaken their hunting instinct and make it a lot of fun. All my dogs have loved hunting, and got really excited when I tell them we are going hunting or appear at the door with a gun. Mabo even learned which part of the house the gun cabinet keys were, and which part the car keys were. He’d stay dozing for the car keys and jump up looking in for the gun.