BearRiverBanded wrote:This dog will be the dog I guide with during the season.
Know this isn't what you've inquired about, but I'm going to offer it anyway. If the dog's to work for the public, he should, first and foremost, be a good (obedient and well socialized) citizen with solid blind manners. Only thing worse than an unmanageable dog becoming the focus of the hunt is one that's behavior spoils potential shooting opportunities.
A pup that isn't quiet and relatively still in the face of game, Is going to be "that damn dog," even if it might just as well be your guests' own inability to hold their water that's boogering opportunities. No matter whether legitimate gripe or excuse, solid blind manners eliminate it - and, of course, help bolster the bag. Pup can't retrieve what he's run off.
Think about how Pup will be expected to hunt, and it's probably not going to be as most amateurs and pros, alike, train with Pup sitting at heel. Acclamation in training to how you'll actually hunt should save you much of the grief handlers of even otherwise competent pro-trained dogs deal with until their dogs learn what's expected of them while hunting - which is retraining your customers won't want to pay for. Our field hunts, for example, are out of sunken pit blinds, some with shallow dog boxes and some without, and dog box or not it's best that dogs hunt laying down. So when guests ask me about bringing their own dogs on that type of hunt, I explain that drill and am almost invariably assured that "Pup will lay down." Which far, far, far too often translates to "Pup will lay down for a little while in the house, but is going to jump up and dance when he hears a call, much less sees birds trying to work." Don't let your pup be that pup for lack of prior acclamation.
Acclamation to the terrain and conditions Pup will actually retrieve on, in and under is also huge. Because one can hardly train much at all in our part of the country without incorporating rice fields, it came as some surprise to me when hunt testers from other parts of the country spoke of the difficulty their dogs had with some of the wide-open, "featureless" stubble field marks that are routine for our local dogs. By the same token, if you want to see a pro-trained and force-fetched dog "no-go," just stick him in our marsh where precious few, if anyone, trains. Nearly all without prior acclimation find the flotant, and sometimes just marsh in general, overwhelming. Doesn't mean they couldn't learn to work it, just that they've not been brought on to.
Point being that preparing Pup for the actual job ahead in small building block steps beats living snot out of trying to make the transitions OJT. And all the more so, when you're betting paying guests' hunts on it.