This week we are celebrating Thunder’s 10th birthday and reminiscing about when he first came to live with us.  Today’s post is about Thunder as a young hunting dog.

We decided on a Chesapeake Bay Retriever because we wanted a hunting retriever that could hunt both upland and waterfowl.  If you want something specific in a puppy, it is best to communicate that with the breeder upfront.  In Thunder’s case, his breeder picked him for us from all the pups in his litter based on what we wanted to do with him.  Many people want to pick their own puppy, but a knowledgeable breeder is really your best resource when picking a puppy because they spend the most time with them.

When Thunder was about 6 months old, we enrolled him in a “Personal Gun Dog” class.  The focus of this class was teaching a dog the basics for upland hunting.  The class started out as a group class where the puppies learned basic obedience.  Thunder already had two basic obedience classes under his belt so the obedience work in class was not really benefiting him.  The instructor saw this and suggested that hubby and Thunder break away from the group class for private training.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy
Young Thunder With A Pheasant

The first training lesson was getting Thunder out on the field so he could learn to stay close to the “hunters”.  He was allowed to use his nose to hunt the field for any birds.  Soon the trainer put a bird out in the field for Thunder to find.  He found it in no time.  He has a good nose.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Hunting
Thunder At 6 Months Old “Hunting” With The Trainer

Thunder caught on quickly so the next class he was introduced to birds and eventually to gunfire.

Chesapeake Bay Retriver Puppy
Thunder Retrieving A Bird At 7 Months Of Age

At first Thunder was on a long line which is a good way to work with a young dog when you are not sure of their recall.  Eventually Thunder earned the privilege to work off lead.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy
Thunder Off Lead Retrieving A Bird

It was fun because we purchased however many birds we wanted to work with that day.  The trainer would place them in the field and Thunder would hunt them.  It was a great way for a young hunting dog to learn the ropes and we got a good meal out of any birds Thunder flushed and retrieved.  I think the trainer enjoyed his time working with Thunder as much as Thunder enjoyed working with the trainer.

The last class Thunder got a bit of water work, although the pond was slightly iced over.

Upland Hunting
Shooting Birds Near An Iced Over Pond

By the time Thunder was 9 months old, he was ready to get out in the field for some real hunting.  This gun dog training was a fabulous foundation for a young hunting dog.  Since that class, Thunder has been on many upland and waterfowl hunts.  Hunting remains one of his favorite things to do.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy
Thunder On A Pheasant Hunt At 9 Months Old

More reminiscing about Thunder tomorrow.

10 thoughts on “The Young Hunting Dog

    1. Thanks. I had issues getting this post done today because we had a storm which knocked out our internet at home so I had to wait until my luch time to post it!

  1. Just as with humans, some dogs have more talent at certain things than other dogs do. What a great hunter he has been all these years!

  2. I think when a dog is doing something it is bred for and something it truly loves, it shows. This has been a great week learning more about Thunder (even though I read it all in one night.) 😉

  3. I just love that you have all these great photos–and memories–from Thunder’s early days. Our breeder chose Tallulah for us based on what we wanted in our new dog. Some days I’m not sure whether to hug her or choke her for that. Just kidding. We love Tallulah . . . mast of the time. 😉 😉 😉

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