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Beginning Basics

We have a now 10 week old ESS/BSP mix. She is our first dog, and we plan to use her to hunt. Both of her parents hunted rabbits and birds, so we are encouraged that she will do well. We have never trained a dog to hunt before. We plan to use her for rabbits mostly. What commands should we be training her to do at this age? We have begun with HERE, SIT and NO mostly. She also does some retrieval, and is doing well so far. We don't know if we are trying to be to advanced with her or not. What commands do we need to teach her as a hunting dog? Could you please educate me on the commands we need to teach and at about what age we should begin? How soon can we take her out in the field with us? She doesn't appear that she will be gun shy, as we have been making load noises (pounding on wood and such) while she is eating, and she doesn't seem to notice. Any information you can give us would be very helpful.

I am wondering about the BSP? I assume it is a ESS and a Brittany cross. If you do hunt this dog for birds will you want it to point or flush? Lets assume that you want a flusher. The sit command is also called HUP in spaniel language. It is your most useful tool. I would reinforce this command right now with treats then slowly take the treat away. Then later with no treat, ENFORCE HUP. When the dog flushes a bird or rabbit you will give the HUP the dog will sit and the animal is harvested. But there will be a lot of training to get to that point. For right now hold the pup and throw your retrieving toy or bumper. Send the dog with a command, at this point you will hold the pup from breaking later you will enforce this, for right now you are doing fine. YES take your pup out and let explore as much as you can and as often as possable. The dogs I have seen that were the best hunters were the ones that got a early start in the field and frequently found game. You say you are doing Here, Sit , No. This is good for now add the retrieve command while being held I personally would change the pup to HUP. Later you can get into the other commands like BACK, OVER, HIGH LOSS (this is a command for a hunt dead) Good luck and let me know you are getting along. Ron

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