A puppy under the Christmas Tree
By Ben Gruber
Puppy love has been tugging at me for a while. I have been without a four-legged hunting partner for quite a few years now, and that is about to change. I put a down payment on a black lab from a breeder up near Rice Lake. Maximum Retrievers is a small breeding operation that takes pride in its dogs.
The pups were born a week ago, which means that I have a few weeks to wait before I can pick one out and seven weeks before I can bring him or her home.
Bringing home a puppy is the easiest part. I am no dog trainer, so I needed to have a plan for some help. Enter the local hunting retriever club.
I have never actually been a member of one, but I have had an opportunity to see a few of their get-togethers and training events. Our local club here is the Muddy Water Retrievers. I know a few of the guys there, and I am looking forward to getting involved with the group this spring.
What is a hunting retriever club? It is essentially a group of hunting dog owners who get together regularly to train their dogs and offer advice and help to each other.
According to Muddy Water Retrievers’ website, the group has a training night weekly during the summer with one Saturday a month as well. The sessions are held at the dog training area of the Mead Wildlife Area. The dog training area here is open to public use as well, so even if you are not interested in joining the club, check out these training grounds if you have a dog.
I am looking forward to joining up with these folks and drawing off of some of their experience. Training a hunting retriever is no small task. If it is something you are considering, I would highly recommend checking out a training group or seeking out some professional training.
Nothing is more rewarding than hunting over a good dog, and nothing is more frustrating that hunting with a bad one. Early investment in training will more than pay off in the long run.
Muddy Waters also hosts an annual hunt test where dogs and their owners come from all over to be judged in hunt-test scenarios. Even if you do not own a hunting dog, this is a very interesting event to observe. There are some darn impressive dogs and handlers to watch.
Like I said, nothing is more rewarding than hunting with a good dog. A dog’s dedication, loyalty, and companionship are tough to beat too. Our dog will be a family companion too, and the rest of the family is going to be excited to have a puppy around.
Exciting times and many hours of work are ahead of me. If all goes well, we will be hunting together by October.
Ben Gruber can be reached at email@example.com.