How to Avoid Burnout

Keeping a dog's interest during training and the hunt is of utmost importance. And sometimes, most of the time in fact, too much of a good thing is bad.

Burnout, whether it's centered around training drills or the use of bumpers or birds, can happen to just about any dog.

Luckily, there's an easy fix.

If you follow a simple rule, you can help to keep your dog from getting bored during training or with certain objects. That rule is: "always leave them wanting more."

For retrievers, stop throwing marks while the dog is still wanting to go. Don't keep at it until the dog is bored or too tired to continue. Put him up while he's still eager to please and having fun carrying out the retrieve.

During drills, for both pointers and retrievers, break up the monotony and stress with something more enjoyable. Move to another location, take a break and just let the dog run, switch to another exercise that involves an aspect the dog enjoys (hint: birds are almost always good to lift the spirits).

I mentioned this can happen with birds too. Many reading this might disagree with me. In fact, most people would say that if a dog gets burned out on birds, he's not a bird dog worth owning. I'd agree with you almost wholeheartedly. The exception that I might make is the use of birds in training.

If Fido gets all the birds he wants, and if that involves uncontrolled or unchallenged access, then when he gets to the hunting field and doesn't find birds in every bush or the terrain is physically more demanding, you could (maybe) run the risk of a dog quitting on you. With a well-bred dog it probably wouldn't be a problem, but it is something to keep in mind.