We regret to announce that for the time being, we can not accept any new members at Valhalla Bijou Hunt Club. Over the decades we have strived to provide a consistent upland hunting experience to our membership and have made them a priority in booking fields and providing year-round access to the training grounds and club. At Valhalla, we provide sportsmen and women along with their families and guests a place to hunt, train, relax, and socialize. In an effort to keep the experience consistent all new memberships are on pause. A waitlist is being maintained so please email firstname.lastname@example.org to add your application to the list. We do not have a good idea of when memberships will open back up but encourage anyone considering a membership to also experience The Bluffs this hunting season (their membership is still open). We love that so many people are getting involved in hunting and shooting sports and thank everyone for their interest in Valhalla Hunt Club.
Starting October 2015 members and non-members will be able to check field availability, reserve fields, and upgrade packages in real time. Reservations can easily be made on Valhalla’s home page and the Valhalla experience secured with a couple easy clicks of the mouse. Options include 4 hunting fields, 5 hunting packages, and 4 different time slots, making it simple to customize a day in the field. Member discounts and priority still apply to every reservation.
Not embracing the technology? Fields can still be booked the old fashion way be calling the office and having one of the Valhalla crew guide you through the reservation process. Valhalla is excited to offer this convenience and looks forward to being able to serve clients better with technology.
So you have a bird dog puppy, he is young, bold and intelligent and destined to be the next brag dog of your hunting group. You are already dreaming of next year’s trip to Kansas where your young prospect will be pointing quail and handling running pheasants like a champ. Most any book, video or dog trainer dealing with the development of young dogs will allude to the notion that birds make bird dogs, and this is most certainly the case. Remember, no scented dummy is going to teach your pup how to handle a running pheasant or pin down a covey of quail. So how does the amateur trainer with limited time and an even more limited budget expose his prospect to live birds?
Well you have a couple of options. One is to join a local hunt club or training club, where birds are available for your purchase. Joining a club is a great option because joining a hunt club ensures that you have access to a variety of birds and terrain to work your dog. Plus most hunt clubs are operated by or employ the use of a professional trainer, the advice and expertise from these people are invaluable as they spend every day training and working with a variety of bird dog breeds…
Even if your time and budget is limited, with a little creativity one can still introduce their prospect to birds and develop a world class bird dog close to home. The first key is finding a good place to run your pup. In his initial development it is important to develop a good front running dog and this can simply be accomplished by finding a large field, maybe a park or open space area where you can let your dog run. Encourage your prospect to stay to the front, if he swings to the rear or too far to one side stop and wait for him to return to the front before proceeding. These walks are extremely valuable to a young dog as they allow him to find his running pattern, explore the world outside, while at the same time making a connection with you as his handler.
The next key is finding a field where you can expose your dog to live birds. Pigeons are a great way to keep your costs down, pigeon traps can be purchased commercially and many farmers and business owners consider the birds pests and would be glad to have you trap a few. Pigeons make great initial training birds, their scent is very game bird like and they can be easily dizzied and planted to produce points and flushes where you want them.
Planting birds at pre-conceived locations in a training field teaches your dog to become familiar with the smell of game birds and develop his natural point. Later on in the game planted birds are the best way to fine tune your dog’s manners on game such as steadying your dog to wing and shot.
Another option is to build or purchase a portable quail recall pen. Developing your own “covey” makes for great training. The birds can be worked and used multiple times and with a good recall system you can feasibly produce several good points in just a 15 to 20 minute training session. Plus you and your dog will learn the basic rudimentary fundamentals of a quail covey; how they feed, how they call to each other, how they move and what types of cover they prefer and how they depend on each other for survival.
Whatever you do be sure to get that bird dog puppy on birds! More interactions with live game birds will only make him better. Perhaps the best option for your puppy is a combination of all of the above where he can learn many valuable lessons from ample time afield. Whether you are looking for help starting your first bird dog puppy or seasoned at developing bird dogs our goal at Valhalla Kennels and Gun Dogs is to provide you and your pup with the best training facilities and advice in the country. Give us a call today to come tour our kennels and get your pup off to the right start this season!
Summer is a crucial time for your gun dog. It’s hard to believe but September is less than four months away and what you do now might very well determine the fate of your dog’s upcoming season…
Conditioning is key right now. A lot of dog injuries happen from hunting a dog that is in no condition to hunt. Sitting on the couch all summer and feeding your dog the occasional bag of Cheetos is not going to help Fido out come fall…
It is very important to maintain a decent exercise schedule during the summer months. At the very least, strive to get your dog out on a few thirty minute, off leash runs twice a week to keep their head and heart both happy and healthy.
Summer is also a great time to brush up on a little training! Maybe you’re tired of watching your dog bust birds or failing to honor another dog’s point, now is the time to get out and do some real training.
The warmer months are also a great time for taking your dog out of the field and working on a trained retrieve or force fetch program. This process takes time but after it’s done your dog is simply going to be a polished performer. There is no better time than summer to get your dog force fetched so he is ready to retrieve birds to your hand next fall!
If this summer finds you and your family traveling, be sure to check out our training program. If you are planning on boarding your dog, why not give them the pleasure of getting out and worked on live birds by professional trainers? Next fall your buddies will be impressed and you will watch your bag limits go up!
So this summer be sure to stop by Valhalla on Saturdays for our Gun Dog School of Excellence and inquire about private and monthly training sessions. Next fall our goal is for your favorite gun dog to be the talk of the lodge!
Valhalla Kennels & Gun Dogs
You spent a lot of time researching dog breeds and checking out litters to find just the right pup to be your new bird dog. You know your new hunting companion will take a significant amount of training to become an amazing bird dog. There are some things you can do now, when your pup is little to help with their bird dog training. Here a few simple tips to help train a great bird dog.
Your new pup is a little one so many things might seem scary to them. It is important that you socialize the new pup early. Once your puppy has become comfortable playing with the other people and dogs in your home, it is time to venture out. A puppy class at Valhalla is a great way to introduce new smells, sounds, people, and dogs in a safe environment. Classes start every Saturday at 8:00. Puppies as young as 14 weeks are welcome to participate.
Provide Basic Training
Before learning to do anything in the field, your puppy will need some basic training at home. Begin crate training your puppy as soon as soon as possible. A puppy should be crated at night and then anytime that you are not home to supervise. When you are home let you puppy spend quality time with the family without giving them run of the house. We recommend limiting the rooms in the house that the puppy is allowed. Tethering a puppy in the house using a lead and dog bed and teaching them their space in the house is also a priceless training tool down the road. Having a puppy come to their name is the number one command you should focus on at a young age. For pointing breeds we do not encourage you to use the “sit” command as that can create problems during the Whoa breaking process. For flushing dogs please avoid the “heel” command too young because it can diminish their confidence to range. When your dog is ready for more intense training, contact us. We have private and group slots available, and provide training not only for the dog, but the handler as well.
The Great Outdoors
Long before you begin training, you should be letting your puppy explore the great outdoors. You will want them to be using their noses, chasing bugs and shadows, and running the length of the field. If you are in a safe area, we encourage you to let the puppy run off leash to really explore and burn off some energy. Puppies still need unstructured play time just like children and thrive on being able to take in and be part of their surroundings.
Playing With Birds
We encourage the prey drive in puppies with live birds. Smelling, seeing, chasing, and pointing live birds will spark the desire to hunt. Remember a puppy with a strong desire to hunt is an easier puppy to train for the field. As Jeff says “you can always rein them in later”. Don’t’ be afraid of turning your new puppy into a bird monster. It will pay off later.
Your puppy needs the right foundation before beginning training as a bird dog. Following these tips will get the puppy on the right path. At Valhalla Bijou Hunt Club & Kennels, we are dedicated to providing you with excellent training for your hunting dog. When you are ready to get started on training or have any questions, feel free to contact us.