Conditioning Upland Dogs
Keeping your Pheasant Hunting Dog in Shape
Ten years ago over 100 gundogs died on the South Dakota pheasant hunting weekend due to the extreme heat and/or lack of conditioning of the dogs. Going home from a pheasant hunting trip without your best friend is unimaginable for most and horrific for anyone to think about. Conditioning upland dogs now with regular exercise is important. An overfed, inactive hunting dog is bound to disappoint.
Tim Weddington, a German Shorthaired hunting dog breeder and trainer from Kansas, suggests establishing an exercise routine early in the morning or late in the evening during the heat of the summer. Do some conditioning when you can’t do bird work in the field, Weddington said. Taking the dogs swimming is one of Tim’s favorite workouts since the dogs will enjoy a rigorous workout and stay cool at the same time. Good upland dogs will work hard to please you, he warned, so it’s important to keep them hydrated and cool during workouts as well.
Simply walking or jogging your gundog for 20-30 minutes routinely during the cool parts of the day will pay off. Some guys don’t condition their dogs. The conditioning upland dogs will pay big dividends it won’t be lagging behind or dragging.