What can your four-legged hunting companion teach you about life?
Turns out a lot. Dogs do a lot for us: they keep us company, do the grunt work of finding and fetching game animals, and are almost always available and excited to go hunting with you.
But did you ever think your hunting dog could teach you some valuable life lessons? It's time for school, so pay attention.
Hunting dogs are always excited to go outdoors and don't mind the conditions as much as we do. They are just happy to get out into the woods as evidenced by enthusiastic tail wags. Let's be excited about our sport like our furry pals are.
2. Keen observation
Hunting dogs are bred to have sharp noses, good eyesight, and great hearing. They are able to detect a pheasant running through the corn or grouse holding tight to the alders that we would miss. We could all learn as hunters to take more time and study our surroundings better.
3. Willingness to learn and listen
When we train our hunting dogs from puppies, they start off a bit uncooperative. But over time, they learn from mistakes and listen to new instructions. We're all guilty of being the old dog who won't learn new tricks. Let's ditch that bad habit and accept the fact that we can learn something new from just about everyone we meet.
4. Don't be afraid to get dirty
Hunting dogs rarely hesitate before plunging into a cold lake after a downed duck or charging through a thicket of burs and thorns to flush a woodcock. The lesson to be learned? Let's not be afraid to get our hands dirty. Jump into the thick of it and take the plunge. You might surprise yourself what you're capable of doing.
Provided your hunting dog isn't overly pampered, they can probably run circles around you all day. Dogs are bred to win the endurance race. Let's learn from this by keeping in shape all year. Take your hunting dog on long hikes and get off the trails once in a while to climb a mountain. You'll both be grateful for those summer hikes when hunting season comes.
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6. Be content
Your hunting dog is just happy to be outside. Chasing birds around is a plus. But will they shun you for not bagging the birds? Heck no. Similarly, just be thankful for the life you are privileged to live. If you get some "birds" along the way, that's just the cherry on top.
7. Loyalty and love
Most hunting dogs display some pretty amazing stealth tactics when in a hunting situation. Even the most clumsy dog can somehow sneak up on a bird or rabbit when its hunting instincts take over. Let's learn from them and start blending into nature instead of being an intruder clumsily stomping through the woods.
A properly trained hunting dog pointing at a game bird will wait until the right moment. It will sit stock-still until you are able to approach and flush the bird, which may be minutes. In the dog's head, this probably feels like ages. This is a quality that's encouraged in breeding, and a virtue we should adopt as well.
10. Caution and respect
There is a hard-learned lesson for almost all hunting dogs, and that is simply that the world can be dangerous. There are skunks, porcupines, mountain lions and more out there that will ruin their day if tampered with. Similarly, the world we live in has some inherent dangers. Show some caution and respect for the unknown. After all, a dog's favorite slogan is, "Curiosity killed the cat."
We love our hunting pups!