Our own abilities, and dedication are the solid foundation of gun dog training – Confessions of a first time gun dog trainer
As I progress throughout year one of my first gun dog’s life (a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon), I find myself both in awe more than ever with the beauty of a point, yet also second guessing my own abilities. The first-time Grim (not Grimm) pointed, I was as excited as shooting my first deer. Captivated by this natural ability that at this point, I have contributed nothing more than food, excessive love, and shelter to this gun dog.
Now, a few months later I find myself last in the class after my gun dog. Grim, however has been like clay ready to be molded and taught the finniest of gun dog skills. My trainer, Dave Trahan the National President of NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) has already done wonders with my Griffon but not so much with myself. In his defense, a stern lecturing was in order on my dedication to the process, as well as the discipline needed to mold a solid gun dog.
The first month of training, I was at it twice a day without fail. But as the months went by, I found myself making excuses against it because of work and other obligations. It did not take long for my lack of discipline to rub off on Grim. Add in cabin fever with this long winter, and Grim was acting out. No fault of his own, as it was my lack of self-training that created this situation.
The reality check of his increasingly high maintenance behavior finally reeled it in for me. After an embarrassing training session with my pup (embarrassing for me not Grim), Dave pointed out the need for me to engage more consistency, and routine with my gun dog.
Dave was right. Not even a week after that training day I started to see behavioral changes in Grim, as I (the I as bold as possible) started to learn my place as such an important role in training my gun dog. Now, only a couple weeks out from this important lesson in training Grim has begun to learn even faster.
This experience has made me come to reality. I now understand the fact that although Grim has amazing natural abilities as a gun dog, my failures could quickly ruin those beautiful points that he has already shown a knack for.