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Mr. B

Hunting Dog Conditioning

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Mr. B

Guys how can I tell how physically fit my 2.5 year old lab is? The reason I ask is I think Maggie might have over done it this weekend. Three days at the lake and 4 hours of hunting at a game farm on Monday morning and she is wiped out. It was kind of nice to finally have a calm dog after three days of wildness but now my wife is upset because she thinks I worked Maggie to hard.

Did we push her to hard the first time out? All summer we worked with her in parks and my wife took her for walks and runs, but I know that this is not quite the same as hunting in a field.

We worked the fields slowly on Monday and after each pass took a break with plenty of water to make sure none of us over do it. A quick dip in the pond after every couple of passes to make sure she stayed cool before we continued. I was not worried about her being in phsical distress due to the slow speed we hunted, but I think Maggie is one of those dogs that would go an go not knowing when to stop.

What things should I watch for to see if 1) she is in physical distress and 2)to see if has stopped hunting and is just going through the motions?
Thanks for any help.

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I think what you saw was/is fairly common. We think our dogs are in good shape but in actuality most will show some signs of being wore out after the 1st couple of hunts. If we worked out on short runs and walks ourselves, we'd look like we were in great shape, but then turn around and run a marathon and we'd be shot too. grin.gif I think the fact he is using his muscles differently and for extended periods he will show signs of fatigue but with each long hunt this should lessen, especially at his young age. Older dogs take a lot longer to recover and the signs show up alot quicker.

Good Luck!


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Mr B the fact that you are looking out for your dog is probably the best sign your dog won't be put in that position. The dog being wiped out after returning home is very normal. Remember, when you say you are hunting slow your dog is probably like both of mine and they go full tilt hunting whether you are sprinting through the field or taking ten steps and stopping etc. I always hunt around water when it's warm out, I mean lakes, streams etc not just water available, good thinking on your part.

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