If you were planning on running a marathon, you wouldn’t wait until the day of the big race to jump off the couch and start running, right? That same principle should hold true of our favorite four-legged hunting companions.

There are many simple and effective ways to keep your dog (and you) hunting-ready all year long. To that end, today we’re going to be sharing a few tricks and tips that our expert hunting guides at the Edenwood deer hunting preserves recommend.


Why Off-Season Training is Important

It’s true that – even without off-season training – your dog will likely still be able to keep up next season’s hunt. However, if we’re talking about the health of your dog and the quality of each year’s hunt, that’s a different story. Off-season training with your dog makes a significant difference in a couple key areas and those differences can completely transform your hunting season. Some of the reasons that off-season training is a game-changer include:

  • There’s a critical difference between instinct and obedience. Your dog may have been born with a natural ability and drive to track, retrieve or point but those instincts don’t naturally translate into obedience. When you train year-round, those obedience skills meld even more completely with a dog’s instinct, allowing for a quicker, more accurate response.
  • Consistency is king. When your dog is exercised, fed and trained in a consistent manner throughout the year, you will notice a significant uptick in your dog’s stamina. A hunting dog that has endurance will allow you spend more time out in the woods when it matters.
  • Off-season training minimizes injury. When you spend time conditioning your dog in the off-season, it will increase your dog’s confidence and connection with you. This will allow your dog to anticipate your signals more readily and be less likely get injured by a wrong step or being caught off-guard.
  • Optimal performance depends on a healthy brain and a healthy weight. We know this is true of humans and it’s also true man’s best friend. Year-round training will keep your dog at a healthy weight as well as keep your dog mentally sharp.


Activities & Exercises for Deer Hunting Dogs

There are many training kennels that offer pre-season conditioning for your dog. While that may be an option you plan on using, there are also quite a few things you can do on your own that are great additions to your off-season. Some of our favorites include:

  • Roading: This technique requires investing in a roading harness for your dog and either an ATV, bicycle or sled for you. Once your dog is wearing his/her harness, attach the other end of the harness to your vehicle of choice and drive or ride alongside your dog at his/her walking pace. The goal is simply to give your dog some form of resistance.
  • Running: Running with your dog regularly year-round ensures that they will stay in top performance shape. Be sure to include a variety of terrains in these runs as a form of cross-training. This includes time in the water (especially if it’s a warm season).
  • Modified Diet: Your dog’s calorie intake should reflect the amount of activity he/she is getting. Don’t make the mistake of keeping your dog on a performance diet in the off-season if your dog isn’t as active during that time. Consult your veterinarian for more specific recommendations on off-season calorie and supplement needs.
  • Agility Training: This category requires a bit of creativity. The goal is two-fold: 1) keep your dog’s sense of smell sharp and 2) nurture his/her curiosity. Try activities like obstacle courses, puzzles and hiding game-scent items for your dog to find. For more ideas on puzzles and tools, check out this list that the AKC put together.
  • Regular Vet Checks: This one is the most important component of maintaining a healthy, high-performing hunting dog. The more consistently your vet sees your dog, the more effective your vet can be with helping you identify potential problems and proactive solutions.

These are just a few of our top recommendations. For more tips and tricks, we encourage you to get in touch with some of the very best resources that private hunting Wisconsin has to offer – Edenwood’s hunting guides! When you book a retreat with us, you’ll have access to their expertise as well as our private 600-acre preserve to train with your dog.


Private Hunting Wisconsin

All of these practices and more can be done at Edenwood Ranch and Preserve when you book a retreat with us. Our 600-acre property has everything you need get your dog in high-performance shape, including:

  • Swimming
  • ATV rental
  • A diverse selection of hunting grounds to explore with your dog
  • Rifle range
  • Archery range
  • Guides
  • Much, much more!

Plus, your reservation includes 4 cabins with a combined total of 30 beds so you can bring your entire hunting crew and family to make it a hybrid vacation AND dog training retreat. Contact us today to book a tour or learn more today!