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Guide to Pheasant Hunting Dogs

Guide to Pheasant Hunting Dogs


There is nothing better than a well-trained pheasant hunting dog. Man’s best friend can make or break your pheasant hunting experience. It is so important to prepare your dog and yourself to ensure that your dog behaves properly. Most of the time, gun-shy dogs are a result of poor training habits. There are plenty of ways to prepare your dog, whether a puppy or a full-grown dog might need new training. Be sure to remember a dog is usually a reflection of the owner! If you put in the work training and getting your dog ready for pheasant season, you will see amazing results. Here is 10 Gauge Outfitters’ comprehensive guide on pheasant hunting dogs.


Pheasant Hunting Dog Training

Basic Training For Your Upland & Pheasant Hunting Dog 

A great hunting dog is the product of quality leadership and training from their owner. It is always best to start training your pheasant hunting dog as a puppy, but contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks. It just might take some more time than a puppy. The best way for dogs to learn is through positive reinforcement. Your dog will learn faster and create better field habits if you reward positive behavior rather than punish for bad behavior.  

Best Book on Pheasant Hunting Dogs  

When seeking advice on training pheasant dogs, it’s invaluable to turn to the experts. I once asked a seasoned bird dog owner for his recommended literature. Without hesitation, he mentioned two words: “Gun Dog.” The late Richard A. Wolters, a renowned author in the field, has penned several books on training hunting dogs. ‘Gun Dog’ is widely acclaimed as a top resource for training hunting dogs for upland game.

He teaches with clarity and illustrations the importance of hand signals and how to help your dog make the point. He also points out how to zigzag in the field and much more. At what age should a puppy start consistent training? How can the “sit and stay” commands be life-saving for a dog? Is a forced retrieve ever necessary? Why is the tone of voice so critical in training? Readers will find answers to these questions in this educational book for training pheasant dogs.

Revolutionary Rapid Training Method Hardcover

Feeding Your Upland & Pheasant Hunting Dog 

The morning routine for most dogs might include a morning walk and then reward them with breakfast. However, through more research into feed times, field experts are pointing out the benefits of feeding bird dogs one time in the evening instead of the morning. Feeding dogs 17 hours or more before exercise results in greater use of fat as energy compared to feeding six hours before exercise, which promotes greater use of carbohydrates for energy generation.

It makes sense that it might be uncomfortable for dogs to have a full stomach while roosting pheasant. Who would want food rolling around in their stomachs while running around? Be sure to try this feed-time system out before committing to it full-time. Take note of your dog’s energy levels and endurance. If they are responding well to something, make it a part of their full-time routine.


Pheasant Hunting Dog Owner Skills

Keeping Your Pheasant Hunting Dog in Shape

It is easy to forget that all dogs have a level of physical fitness and endurance they have to build up. Be sure to keep your dog in shape so they are ready for pheasant and upland bird season and a healthier animal overall. The best exercise routines for hunting dogs are a 20-30 minute walk or jog. Doing this in the morning or evening is recommended to avoid the heat of the day. Besides walking, taking your dog swimming is a phenomenal way to keep them in shape. Have fun tossing them a ball in a field or a body of water to let them have a full-body workout. Exercising with your dog can also help you get some motivation to stay in good hunting shape or get back into shape if you have fallen out of it. 

Teaching Your Pheasant Hunting Dog Leadership 

According to dog training expert The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, dogs want to follow a leader. They consider out-of-control behavior from an owner to be weak in both the dog and human worlds. The best way to lead your pheasant hunting dog is through calm assertiveness. Being assertive requires a hunter to be firm in his or her commands and not give in to inappropriate behavior. It means a stable, commanding voice with no hints of doubt or indecisiveness. If you are calm and commanding with your dog, they will follow your instructions. Dogs can read your body language as well. If you have aggressive or out-of-control body language, your dog will see this and react to it. The best way for your dog to follow your leadership is to be calm and assertive with your tone of voice and body language.

Field Practice For Pheasant Hunting Dogs

Keeping Your Pheasant Hunting Dog Hydrated 

It can be easy to forget your dog’s basic needs while in the middle of a hunt. But it is crucial that you properly hydrate them. Ten years ago, over 100 gundogs died on the South Dakota pheasant hunting weekend due to the extreme heat and 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. Take water from home and ensure you have enough for you and your pup.

Some people like hydrating their dogs using sports drinks, like mixing a little Gatorade into their water supply. Some dog experts disagree on whether this is healthy for the dog and if it does anything. Dogs do not react to and benefit from electrolytes the same way that humans do. In fact, the folks at birddoglife.com suggest water, protein, and maltodextrin (a sugar compound) are more important for dogs than the electrolytes found in sports drinks.


Best Pheasant Hunting Dog Tips

Easy Gun-Shyness Prevention Practices 

One of the most effective training methods for preparing a dog for hunting is associating loud noises with positive reinforcement. This can be pretty simple, and you can start when your dog is just a puppy. An example of this would be to bang some metal pans together before feeding your pup. You can bang against their pen or just simply make loud noises before feeding them. They will soon associate loud noises with great rewards. Another easy practice a dog owner can try in their backyard is training a pup for obedience. When correcting your dog, don’t jump up and yell at them. This teaches a negative feeling in the pup and associates that negative, fearful feeling with a sudden, loud noise.

Guided Kansas Pheasant Hunting

Book your trip early and learn why we have the Midwest’s ultimate pheasant hunting location! Daily bag limits for the regular season is 4 pheasants per person, and we are sure to max that limit out for our clients.

10 Gauge Outfitters offers: 

Kansas Pheasant Hunting Lodge - Kansas Pheasant Hunting Group



per day


A dog is a reflection of their owner. If they are misbehavior and gun-shy in the field, it is the owner’s responsibility for creating those bad habits. It is easiest to start training your dog to be a pheasant hunting dog as a puppy. Some great ways to get them accustomed to loud noises would be to make a loud noise and reward them with food. Always keep your composure and have a calm-assertive tone in your body language and voice. Remember always to keep your dog well-exercised in the off-season and well-hydrated in the field. A good dog can make your pheasant hunt even more enjoyable. It just takes a little training!

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