With hunting season behind us and hopefully some warm weather in the very near future there is no better time to get your dog back out in the field and let him stretch his legs.
Many of us forget the importance of keeping our dog fit and their skills sharp in the offseason. If your bird dog is a house dog when not in the field this is extra important, as you know how restless they can become. If you own a German shorthair or one of the other breeds of pointers that are very high energy pups, you know what I'm talking about.
Training your bird dog during his puppy stage is not only challenging at times but the most important time to be engaging with them. From the day you bring your new puppy home you are training them. Your dog will learn from everything you do or allow them to do. Positive reinforcement when your dog does well and negative reinforcement for when they disobey will help you develop their understanding at a young age of what's acceptable and what's not.
A major key to training your dog is consistency.
Springtime is a great time to work on correcting any issues that came about during hunting season. The longer you wait to work on correcting those issues the harder it will be. Here is a great tip on correcting some of these issues.
Early spring is a great time to purchases a new puppy so he's ready to hit the field by pheasant opener in the fall. Maximizing your time to bond with your dog during the offseason will make them that much better come fall.
As they say, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, so teach your young dog new tricks during the offseason to keep your bird dog's skills sharp.
And if you have a new puppy don't wait until a month before season opener to work on your dog's skills. Even though much of a bird dog's skills are instincts there are still behavioral issues that you will wish you corrected in the offseason.