The weather doesn’t feel much like fall right now but come August, I’m dreaming about upcoming hunting plans and trips. Now is the time to prepare both you and your dog. You can have the best hunting spots and the nicest shotgun, but plans can quickly go awry if your dog isn’t ready.
Here are four things to do now to get everything in shape.
1. Check your dog’s weight.
This is absolutely crucial, not only during hunting season but for the dog’s all-around good health. An overweight dog can’t perform its best in the field and could get in trouble with overexertion, especially in extreme heat. A crash diet isn’t the best answer. Rather reduce your dog’s weight slowly. (See our entry titled “Feeding For Ideal Body Condition” for more information.)
2. Make sure your dog is in good health.
Lingering parasites and bacteria that don’t cause problems normally could become issues when your dog is stressed. Betsy and I have had had Lyme’s disease occur many months after a tick bite. It also might be a good idea to get a stool sample checked by your vet for giardia, coccidia and worms.
3. Get your dog in shape.
It takes a good 6 – 8 weeks of regular exercise to get a dog in top-notch shape. Start slowly with moderate exercise and progress to more strenuous routines as the dog improves. Conditioning your dog in the cooler part of the day will provide the most benefit.
4. Make time for training sessions.
Schedule training sessions to tune-up your dog on obedience and bird work. Expect your dog to be a little rusty. Don’t try to get all the training done in one or two sessions. Short sessions spread over a period of time will give the best results—and keep your dog happy and motivated, too!
Make sure your dog gear is in good working order. Check that your ecollar batteries still hold a charge. Better yet, technology improves all the time and perhaps it’s time to upgrade to newer equipment. Buy now and you’ll still have time to learn how it operates.