Grub Time for Upland Dogs
Have him fetch a few times. Review sit and stay commands or other obedience training. Take him for a walk. Then, reward him with his breakfast.
This is probably a typical morning for many gundog owners. However, more and more research is pointing to the benefits of feeding bird dogs one time in the evening as opposed to the morning. According to Pheasants Forever, “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.”
So, if feeding the night before makes sense nutritionally for gundogs during the hunting season, why not practice this year round? Establishing a consistent feeding routine is something all dog owners have done since their pointers, retrievers or flushers were pups. Changing the routine is not something dog owners like to do, but it has several benefits.
Experienced dog trainers such as Bob West at Pheasants Forever suggest that a dog fed the morning of a hunt can have an irritable stomach with all that food rolling around in there. Furthermore, having all night to digest his food can contribute to a more productive hunt.
Try to establish that evening feeding routine and observe the energy level and endurance of your gundog on your next hunt. Your pup may just thank you with a few more pheasants in your hand.