I spent last weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, attending Pheasant Fest, Pheasant Forever’s annual convention and trade show. For gundog enthusiasts it is the place to be. But more on that in the days to come.

Since the tail end of upland seasons are still going on in a handful of states, I wanted to highlight a tip I gleaned from a Pheasant Fest seminar on canine hydration given by Steve Ries of Native Performance Dog Food. Proper hydration is one of the most important – and overlooked – aspects of gundog performance in the field. When out hunting, we all give our dogs water from bottles or hydration packs carried in our vests. But what if your dog is a reluctant drinker?

Ries suggests dissolving a few kibbles of dog food in the water to encourage your dog to drink. Yes, it makes the water a little cloudy, but your dog’s not going to care about that.

It’s a neat trick, and my only addendum to the tip is if, like me, you carry two 32-ounce water bottles in your vest and both you and the dog drink from them, you might want to change that habit and designate one for the dog alone. Unless, of course, you don’t mind the taste of kibble water.