These intelligent dogs will do well with two daily training sessions, generally consisting of a brisk walk in the mornings, and to play a game of fetch in the evening – these sessions can last twenty to thirty minutes each. A lot of these dogs are fond of water, so swimming can be a great pastime.
The category of Sporting dogs is often divided by hunting enthusiast into their desired purpose, be it bird dogs, gun dogs and game dogs.
This relates to the specific activity of the various dog breeds – the setters and spaniels flush game out of hiding and into clear view of their masters.
The retrievers watch closely while their master shoots game – once the command is given will locate and return with the downed bird or game.
And the pointers will seek out birds in ground cover to flush them out into the path of their master.
The sporting group consists of Pointers, Retrievers, Spaniels, and larger Setters. They are friendly and alert.
Basic training is often easy to get to grips with these breeds, although at times owners will need to demonstrate patience to control their active nature to command their attention.
Once game is detected these dogs are able to maintain a low profile and keep totally silent. When birds are scented in preparation to be flushed, there dogs will ‘couch’ – this refers to the low profile, slow movement along the floor so as to avoid alerting the prey prior to their master giving the signal.
Spaniels and Setters are acknowledged to be the best at the quiet, low stalking manoeuvres.
The Spaniel is of special value in flushing small animals to direct them towards their master – this is due to being more agile and quicker then a large Setter.
Retrievers are more known for their willingness and strength to enter brush or water sources to retrieve and locate game that their master had shot down.
A dog used as a retriever is often judged by its mouth – this refers to the dog’s ability to pick up a bird or animal killed by the master and to return it without causing damage, such as bite marks.
The Pointer is often of interest to watch as they will freeze in position as soon as game is detected – this tells the hunter that prey has been located.
Pointers will stand entirely still with their tail extended, one paw out front, and their heading pointed in the direction of the prey. Position will be held until their master gives the sign to flush out the prey.
The Pointers, retrievers, and setters and spaniels all feature an excellent sense of smell and sight. In view of their stable temperament they make perfect pets, but lack of exercise or poor breeding does often result in them being hyperactive and causing temperament and personality problems.
One of the most popular dog breeds kept as a pet in the United States is the Labrador retriever. The Irish setter, Golden Retriever, and Cocker Spaniel are also well loved family pets in this group.
In view of the demand for these popular pets, over-breeding has resulted in some bloodlines showing negative traits, for instance over-excitability.
If looking to purchase one of these popular breeds, it’s recommended that even those non-hunters look to a reputable sporting dog breeder.
The Cocker Spaniel has enjoyed a long running period of popularity; this in turn has resulted in a pet that’s now further removed from its original roots than any other breed listing in the sporting group.
The Labrador retriever makes a wonderful companion and an adorable puppy – but at this age is inclined to chew on anything in sight. Even though chewing is to be expected in puppies, with such a strong, large breed it often results in some serve damage to personal items.
A lot of owners will tolerate these antics due to the sweet nature and fun behavior of theLabradors. Sadly, due to a lack of obedience training and understanding from a naïve dog owner – this often results in these delightful pets being abandoned at a shelter as a ‘bad’ dog.
For those Labradors with a serious chewing problem, using a muzzle is often the ideal solution. These muzzles don’ts impede the ability to bark, drink, bark, etc.
In an attempt to stop a dog from chewing excessively – increase the exercise time as this often helps to expand the excess energy and reduce the stress levels.
The dog breeds in this category are more likely to chase bikes, cars, and moving, rolling objects. ‘Fetching’ is an instinctive reaction to them so a moving object seems to be a game of pursuit. Training is necessary for those dogs that have this tendency to keep them safe.
When walking a dog on a lead aim to enforce her attention span by keeping her interest directed towards you. Do this while walking along a quiet street with occasional traffic or, alternatively, have someone ride a bike near the path of the dog.
Once the dog’s attention starts to shift towards a bike or car and looks to give chase, turn to the opposite direction while giving the command to heel. If she does not turn immediately, one quick pull of the leash following with a ‘no’ (or whichever sound or movement is used to indicate ‘bad’) often gets her attention.
As her attention reverts back to you and rejoins you on the walk, give praise and a small training treat. To overcome this chase habit, some dogs will require professional training of some sort.
Without including the Spaniels and Setters that are long coated, the dog breeds in this category are blessed with coats that are easy to care for.
Those that have longer hair will of course require a daily brush to limited the affects of matting, but grooming can be done easily by owners.
Even though shedding will occur, the breeds with longer hair don’t exhibit a great loss of fur as compare to the losses found in long hair breeds in the working dog category.
Dog breeds, such as the Golden retriever and Labradors are used heavily as therapy, companion, and assistance dogs. Their gentle nature and trainability united with genuine affection made them the ideal Seeing Eye dog.
To perform as an assistance dog, a lot of training is needed to perform the tasks. It might be the dog’s responsibility to pickup items that were dropped, bring an item to a disabled person, or even to activate a phone alarm if the need to call for help is necessary.
The sporting dog category is often prone to health conditions such as hip dysplasia as seen with other large dog breeds. One other common disease is that of digestive problems – this is believed to be as a consequence of stress due to a hunt and the resulting extended expenditure of energy. This same condition isn’t seen with dogs that are kept as pets.
Dogs that are used in hunting ought to be groomed on a frequent basis to check for scrapes and parasites that often occur in woods and heavy brush and many bodies of water.
The suitability of dogs breeding potential isn’t apparent to a breeder until the dog is at least 24 months old, and breeding such breeds as a Golden retriever or Labradorindiscriminately can dilute the characteristics of the breed.