What Are the Benefits of Owning a Gun Dog?

 Tuesday Nov 07,2017
By  Lancaster Puppies

If you’re looking for a gun dog that will love hunting as much as you do, keep reading! Many popular sporting dogs are often used as retrievers, flushing dogs, and pointers and are also devoted and loyal companions to their owners.

What Do Gun Dogs Do?

Gun dogs are used to retrieve game for hunters. These dogs have a trainable temperament, strong hunting instincts, and often a desire to please their owners. Gun dogs can be trained to make your hunt more effective, so you’ll spend less time finding, retrieving, or flushing game. Plus, with their heightened sense of smell, you can train gun dogs to sniff tracks.

Gun dogs are broken down into three types: pointers, flushing dogs, and retrievers.

Close up of a brown and white Pointer dog


Pointers can be any breed of dog that points to the game when hunting. Pointers are prized for their sense of smell. When a pointer sniffs out the game, the dog will stand still and point his nose in its direction. This alerts the hunter to the game that is hidden in small patches, grasslands, and fields. English Pointers and English Setters are well-known for their pointing ability.

Flushing Dogs

Flushing dogs are trained to flush game by finding it and chasing it out of its hiding spot, so a hunter can take a shot. Cocker Spaniels and English Springer Spaniels are great choices.


A retriever is a type of gun dog that is used to bring back upland game and ducks. Golden Retrievers and Labradors are some of the most popular gun dogs because they have soft mouths, a happy-go-lucky personality, and a dependable nature.

How Do You Train a Gun Dog?

Regardless of the breed you choose, it’s unwise to see if your dog is gun-shy by taking it outside without any training and bringing it on a hunt.

Rather, gun dog training is a gradual process. Consider going to a local dog training facility to teach basic obedience. It may boost your dog’s confidence to let your new gun dog tag along with older, more experienced ones and well-socialized, obedient dogs.

If you elect to train your gun dog yourself, consider letting your dog burn off a little energy by running and playing before you begin.

Start with basic commands such as sit, come, down, stay, and leave it. To encourage your dog to sit, lift on his chin while pushing on the hindquarters and saying, “sit.” If your dog is disobedient, use that as many times as necessary to get the behavior. Stay persistent, but don’t be aggressive.

Encourage your dog not to jump on people. This challenge is easy to solve. When the dog jumps, lift your leg up to block it. Don’t push the dog with your knee. Simply deflect the jump and then say, “no.” Over time, your dog will stop jumping.

Then you’ll need to encourage your dog to walk on your left-hand side.

To accomplish this, call your dog over to you, and then place the leash over its neck. Excitable dogs may bite the lead or pull it. Remain firm but not aggressive. If your dog bites the lead tell it no in a stern voice but don’t shout as it may frighten your dog. Then, be firm and give a small, light tug on the lead. Don’t yank hard or strangle the dog because it will cause the dog to fear the lead. Instead, walk the dog on the lead. If it pulls slightly to one side or the other side, look at your dog and guide him to the correct side. Talk to your dog. Stay in control. Practice for 15 minutes a day and your dog will improve. It will take repetition and practice.

Hunter in field with a brown and white gun dogThen move on to basic retrieval.

Introduce your gundog to a ball to see if it gets excited. Then roll the ball and encourage your dog to fetch it. Your dog thinks of the ball like a toy and will be excited to run and retrieve it. When your dog retrieves it, bend down, clap your hands, and call the dog’s name to encourage the dog to bring the ball back to you.

Then, move on to retrieving a dummy using the same method as the ball. This will require lots of encouragement because your dog has not done it before. Dummies are often used for older and stronger dogs so if you’re encouraging a puppy, know they may struggle to carry it.  Practice the dummy retrieval repeatedly.

Hold your dog. Toss the dummy. Wait for it to land. Then let go of your dog. When the dog retrieves it, bend down to the dog’s level, call your dog’s name, clap your hands, and praise the dog when he returns the dummy to you. Shower your dog with praise whenever you’re happy with the behavior.

When moving on to introducing a gun dog to firearms, consult a professional if you’re unsure how to do it. You want to expose your puppy to a gun but not be afraid of it. Remember that one of the most important days for your gun dog is when it is being used to gunfire.

Consider pairing a younger gun dog with older dogs that have heard gunshots before. The young dog will take cues from the older one. Then, fire the gun. Your older dog won’t show any concern and your younger dog won’t be afraid.

The goal is to get the dog used to noise. Once the dog gets used to that sound, consider moving up to louder cracks with primed holes and poppers.

Consider firing the shots at 100 yards, and then moving on to closer distances as the sharp crack might put them off.

In the end, if you’re looking for a gun dog, Lancaster Puppies has a variety of breeds available. Browse our selection and bring home your gun dog today.

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