winter training for hunting dogs
02-06-163 mins read
Endure the winter with these activities to keep your dog in top physical and hunting shape.
Training Tips

Endure the winter with these activities to keep your dog in top physical and hunting shape.

Winter Training for Hunting Dogs

Taking our dog on runs and going to the dog park is what we usually do in the winter. There’s nothing wrong with those activities, but they can get stale after a while. Endure the winter with these activities to keep your dog in top physical and hunting shape.

1. Shed Hunt

Go on a long walk with purpose.

You and your dog just came out of a taxing season that included early morning wake-up calls, hauling decoys and gear to honey holes, not to mention him retrieving downed birds. Going from that pace to a state of dormancy after the season is what leads to cabin fever. Luckily there’s a cure.

Looking for shed antlers is a leisurely activity that gets you and your dog outdoors. You don’t have to wake up a 3 a.m. or mentally exhaust your mind over hunting strategies. You just have to walk. We’ve never met a dog that doesn’t love a walk in the woods.  

Whitetail deer shed their antlers from late winter to spring. There are two ways you and your dog can approach finding antlers. One is to train your dog to help locate the dropped antlers. The other is to simply have him along for the search as you scour deer trails, creek crossings and feeding areas.

There aren’t many tricks to shed hunting, which makes it great for the family to participate. You can do it wherever there is a deer population (just be sure to read the rules on public land shed hunting in your area and have permission from the landowner if you are on private land).

Finding an antler to place on the mantle or use as a chew toy is really just icing on the cake. Shed hunting offers great exercise, fresh air and quality time with your best friend.

2. Hunt Birds, But Don’t Shoot

Perfect the routines before the shot.

Upland bird hunters can still hit the fields with the dogs after the season ends. Pointers can do they were bred to do: find birds and point. The there’s the flushing dogs, like Labs, that well, love to simply flush. The key is to get them out there honing their skills.

Instead of carrying a gun, take a camera. This is a great time to get action shots of your partner in the field.

If you just can’t go through the motions of hunting without shooting, consider visiting an upland game hunting preserve. Many have hunts for quail, pheasants, Hungarian partridge and chukar well into the spring.

3. Use the Snow to your Advantage

Replicate swimming exercises in the snow.

We found this tip in Gun Dog Magazine. If you live in snowy climates, there are two ways to take outdoor exercises to the next level. One is simply to do your retrieving exercises when the snow is deep. Plowing through chest-high snow works different muscle groups of a dog, much like swimming.

If the snow is not deep enough, use a sled. Sled dog harnesses are available online and not that costly. Hook your dog up to a sled, place some weight on it, maybe a young child looking for a free sled ride, and run. Again, this develops those muscles a retriever uses for swimming and can keep them in shape until the lakes thaw and you can resume normal swim sessions.

4. Join The Club

Get involved with competition, socialization and training clubs.

Competing in field trials is an excellent way to get you and your dog some off-season action. No matter the skill level of dog and master, there are clubs that cater to all disciplines and breeds. In addition to providing more motivation to get out in the field, these field trials and the clubs that host them offer socialization opportunities, training resources and a deeper bond between dog and trainer. Plus, you get the chance to be recognized for your talents.

There are many clubs and organizations around the country that host competitions. Start your search with the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club – two of the larger organizations in the country – to gain access to a community that shares the same love, knowledge and enthusiasm for hunting dogs as you do.

It’s easy to take the time after the hunting season to relax and recover, but it also leads to stir-crazy indoor dogs and weight gain if you don’t get out regularly. Make it a point to get outside and engage your dog this winter. 

share this story
MORE LIKE THIS
How to Go Fishing With Your Dog
Oftentimes, going fishing means leaving your gun dog gear at home in exchange for a rod and tackl...
What’s the Difference Between Llewellin Setters & English Setters?
A Llewellin Setter is an English Setter but an English Setter may not always be a Llewellin.
Hot Spots on Dogs
Hot spots on dogs can be caused by various circumstances. Anything from your dog’s skin allergies...

GET IN TOUCH

Our support team are on hand
Monday - Friday
8am - 6pm CDT

SMS
 Offline
CHAT
 Offline
EMAIL
 Offline
CALL
 Offline

GET A FREE PERSONALIZED NAME PLATE

WHEN YOU BUY ONE OR MORE ACCESSORIES

TIE-DOWN STRAP KIT
SELECT
PERFORMANCE PAD
SELECT
ORTHOPEDIC DOG BED
SELECT
I've reviewed and approve the design shown in the preview

ADDED. COMPLETE YOUR SETUP

FOOD CRATE NAME PLATE

Regular price
19
Sale price
19.00
I've reviewed and approve the design shown in the preview

UNLOCK

FREE SHIPPING

ON YOUR NEXT ORDER

Valued up to $60 per kennel

By submitting this form, you agree to receive recurring automated promotional and personalized marketing text messages (e.g. cart reminders) from GUNNER at the cell number used when signing up. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. Msg frequency varies. Msg and data rates may apply. View Terms & Privacy.

THE PACK OPINION

Customer Reviews
4.9 Based on 2,876 Reviews
5 ?
92% 
2636
4 ?
6% 
166
3 ?
1% 
42
2 ?
1% 
16
1 ?
0% 
16
Customer Photos
Write a Review Ask a Question

Thank you for submitting a review!

Your input is very much appreciated. Share it with your friends so they can enjoy it too!

Filter Reviews:
BM
07/05/2021
Brandon M.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Gun or Bird Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
It’s like an insurance plan….

This is by far the best kennel made. I use mine daily and they take lots of abuse. They never even seem to wear at all. Hose them off with soap and water and they look brand new. I encourage all of my puppy buyers to get them as well. It’s like an insurance plan for your best friend!

GUNNER G1™ KENNEL Review
KT
06/14/2021
Kris T.
United States United States
  • What's your primary use of the product? TravelHomeHome & Travel Equally
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
Wow, Just Wow

Wow, this kennel is the Yeti of dog kennels! everything about this kennel is first rate. Yes, there are cheaper, but none can compare to a Gunner kennel.

AL
05/31/2021
Alec L.
United States United States
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
Amazing travel kennel

This thing is built like a tank. I have no doubt this will protect our little guy if we are ever involved in an accident. We recently completed an 800 mile road trip with him in the crate. It was well worth the money. This was the first time he was calm in the car and not whining. He slept easily during the drive. We felt calm know he was secure and comfortable. Cannot recommend this crate enough!!

AO
05/08/2021
Angus O.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
Unlike any other crate I have seen

I purchased two Gunner kennels, a medium and a small, for my pups. Immediately, you understand this is a different level of product compared to what you’ve used before. The construction is fantastic and legitimately heavy duty. I feel so much better knowing I’ve done everything I can to keep my dogs safe in case of a worst case scenario.

PK
03/18/2021
Patrick K.
United States United States
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
  • How would you describe your dog? Gun or Bird Dog
Best purchase for my best friends

I’ve been buying cheap kennels for the four years I’ve owned my dogs, none of them seemed to hold up. I’ve wanted a Gunner for a year now, and the more I read stories of how they have saved dogs lives, it made me think of how losing my best friends would damn near **** me. So I made the purchase and will never look back. It is one solid kennel and I will not let the kennel hold me back from traveling farther to hunt anymore. It’s well worth the investment. I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for, and this will not let anyone down.