Originally Posted by lobsterhound
Another thing I just thought of.... When my hounds are pups I give them a coyote fur to play with. I drag it around with a rope and stuff like that. As soon as possible I get them very familiar with the scent and look of what they are going to be going after. Basically trying to program it in.
I dont know how the whole deal with bird dogs works. However it cant hurt to get ahold of a few bird carcasses and let him tear um up. Get him used to the smell and feel and what not.
Oh another thing
DO NOT baby him. It will not work out well if you do. Also judging by his size I would say he is about ready to go on a strict food regimen. The general consensus with the guys at my hound club is 2 feedings a day. In the evening (full amount) morning (half amount). The feeding schedule and amount can greatly effect the efficiency of the dog in the field. A dog that just ate a ton doesnt run as well.(Again Im basing this on hounds which is a different type of hunting but I assume its the same principle)
i know the one thing about letting him tear up a carcass is the exact opposite of what i should let him do, hence the "soft mouth" title of the thread. you don't want them thinking they can apply any unnecessary pressure on the birds when anywhere around them. i do have a couple pheasant wings that i've been slowly implementing into training, but it'll still take some work i think so he doesn't destroy them. i'm also not really sure about the food, i've just been letting him have free standing food so he can eat as much as he wants to grow. he should still double in weight before he's done growing so i was going to leave him like that until at least 8 months or so or until i see him getting pudgy.
from everything that i've read and from the few vets i've talked to it seems like everyone has their own opinion as to when to switch them off puppy food.
i've heard anywhere from 6 months to the full two years