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Grab that new pup and hold her. This soft ball of fur in your arms is a hardwired predator.

That’s why your gloves and socks are in tatters. But be patient. Hunting, pointing, and retrieving instincts come built in. That dog will hunt. You just need to get her to hunt for you.

If you do things right, your pup will be ready for the fall bird seasons. But for now, there’s work to do. Labor of love may be a cliché, but it applies exactly in this case. When you transform this bumbling pup into your own gun dog, and take her into the field for the first time, hunting will never be the same again. The bond you form will render hunts without dogs, or even with other people’s dogs, into little more than walks in the woods or fields, without the same engagement and satisfaction you’ll feel hunting with your own four-legged partner.

Your pup’s first season is far from the end of the journey, but it’s an exciting and critical beginning. Afterward, it’s back to more training. All that lies in the future. Right now, you want to give your dog a good foundation for those initial hunts and the rest of her life. Here’s how to do it.

THE COMMANDS

1. Come

2. Heel

3. Kennel and Place

4. Whoa

5. Fetch

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THE FUNDAMENTALS

Three Trainers Tips

Ten Teaching Aids

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