My First Bird Dog - When everyone's a Dog Expert

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This weekend is pick-up day for my first bird dog, and excitement is paired equally with a dose of “Am I ready for this?” After months of digesting all dog-related material I could get my hands on, picking the brains of dog trainers and soliciting insight from dog owners and Pheasants Forever members right here online, I announce myself as…fully unprepared for my first bird dog as I was six months ago.
 
That’s not quite true, but the path to a bird dog is one filled with questions – What breed? Pup or started dog? Male or female? Pick up at seven or eight weeks? Use a pheasant wing to select your pup? Pet insurance? – and consensus answers that are about as slippery as a dog on kitchen tile.
 
So you look for some direction, some sort of dog compass, only to find too many dog owners, every one of them with their own expert advice – your co-worker says pickup at eight weeks, your hunting buddy says the magical 49th day is the day, the breeder says he can go either way and the latest issue of Gun Dog magazine has an article about a new fad of waiting 10 to 12 weeks. It can leave a lot of head scratchers while waiting for that new, little head to scratch…
 
While I’ve come across few certainties in the process, I’m sure of one thing – I’m ready to learn by doing…and maybe that’s when you know you’re really, officially ready for your first bird dog.
 
Previous “My First Bird Dog” posts:
 
Introducing “My First Bird Dog”
What I’m Looking For
Gun Dog Experts’ #1 Piece of Advice
Just Show Me the DOGFAX
Why Attend a Hunt Test or Field Trial?
What Was Your First Bird Dog?
Stuck Between Two Litters
Rationalizing the Sticker Shock
Best Bird Dogs for an Apartment
 
Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.