Training your dog to be in peak condition for hunting season

Dr. John Chalstrom, Ph.D.

Football has returned. The Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing. Hot, humid weather has given way to cooler days and bluebird skies. It is time to make sure your canine hunting companions are in optimal shape. 

Fall training should not be a crash course in getting a dog into shape. Treating fall as if it were Marine boot camp for a dog is a recipe for disaster. Rather, a dog’s fitness must be maintained all year long and proper exercise must meet the conditions. Assuming a dog’s health has been maintained properly, exercised regularly, and given the proper stimulation, conditions are now favorable in turning up a notch on the fitness regimen. 

Hunting dogs are athletes and must be treated as such. A strict schedule of fitness must be adhered to throughout the year. When the season ends, it is time to recover while at the same time, shifting to low-impact but consistent exercise. A dog’s condition regularly maintained will keep the dog ready for the rigors of fall conditioning camp. That being said, what are the best methods of readying a dog for the field and blind?