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My First Bird Dog – When everyone’s a Dog Expert

Pheasants Forever's "My First Bird Dog" series follows a pheasant hunter's journey into bird dog ownership.

This weekend is pick-up day for my first bird dog, and excitement is paired equally with a dose of “Am I ready for this?” After months of digesting all dog-related material I could get my hands on, picking the brains of dog trainers and soliciting insight from dog owners and Pheasants Forever members right here online, I announce myself as…fully unprepared for my first bird dog as I was six months ago.

That’s not quite true, but the path to a bird dog is one filled with questions – What breed? Pup or started dog? Male or female? Pick up at seven or eight weeks? Use a pheasant wing to select your pup? Pet insurance? – and consensus answers that are about as slippery as a dog on kitchen tile.

So you look for some direction, some sort of dog compass, only to find too many dog owners, every one of them with their own expert advice – your co-worker says pickup at eight weeks, your hunting buddy says the magical 49th day is the day, the breeder says he can go either way and the latest issue of Gun Dog magazine has an article about a new fad of waiting 10 to 12 weeks. It can leave a lot of head scratchers while waiting for that new, little head to scratch…

While I’ve come across few certainties in the process, I’m sure of one thing – I’m ready to learn by doing…and maybe that’s when you know you’re really, officially ready for your first bird dog.

Previous “My First Bird Dog” posts:

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

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9 Responses to “My First Bird Dog – When everyone’s a Dog Expert”

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  1. Matt Kucharski says:

    Congrats on the new family member! Can’t wait to get properly introduced!

  2. Good luck, can’t wait to hear about it!

  3. Mitch Bright says:

    Just love the pup… be patient… and do like Robert Milner says, “Train, don’t test.”

    Go slow and enjoy every minute. The best thing I did in the last few treats was get myself another pup. He and I go everywhere together now.

  4. Cornodacaccia says:

    If you treat your dog with kindness and patience, you will not have any problems: you will have a friend and hunting partner that will amaze and delight you. Just remember, it’s not a competition, it’s a relationship in which you are both excited about the same things, and your dog will do all it can to please you…Best wishes!

  5. mike says:

    Good luck with the new addition take it easy and
    slow.Have fun let it be a pup

  6. If you’re going to bring the dog inside the house, teach it to “stay” on a rug. You dog will feel secure at having a “home” and your guests will appreciate your efforts.

  7. CDY says:

    Best wishes with the new family member. Read Wolter’s book Gun Dog and socialize,socialize,socialize and have patience and spoil the pup.

  8. Nathan says:

    your process is so similar to how I chose my first bird dog three years ago. It was a six month process of researching each breed. In the end, I couldn’t resist the shorthair.

  9. Great advice all. @Nathan, excellent choice, that’s what I grew up with as the family hunting dog. – Anthony Hauck, PF Online Editor

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