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Poodles a bred in a variety of sizes with the largest being the Royal which is the breed of poodles for hunting. The Royal is an unofficial size but is essentially a slightly larger breed than a standard poodle and can weigh up to 90lbs.
Royals, similar to the rest of the poodle breed, are quick to learn various canine roles. One of these roles is a hunter. Poodles were bred for centuries to hunt, and they excel at it. The bigger poodles, standard and royal, have the right combination of size, prey drive, and retrieving skills to make them great companions on a hunt. They love water and the outdoors so make great flushers and retrievers. A royal is well suited to a hunting role.
Additionally, breeding Royal standard Poodles is relatively easy, as they don’t suffer as much from some issues that their smaller poodle brethren have. Problems like hip dysplasia and obesity are much rarer with larger types of poodles.
Royal Poodles Required Hunting Skills
If you want to train your royal poodle to hunt, they need to learn specific skills. It is best to teach them when they are young as although older dogs can learn the various tasks of hunting, they may require more time and patience.
Royal poodles are intelligent dogs who have a strong desire to please their owners. As this is one of the smartest dog breeds around, they work best with positive reinforcement. If you want your Royal to take on the task of hunting in and around water, then you need to get them used to it. Find bodies of water that are healthy and safe so they can learn in an environment that offers a positive experience. You don’t want rough or dirty water for them to learn in.
Your poodle will also need to be exposed to rough, outdoor terrain and gunfire so they are aware of what they will experience while hunting. They need to learn to stay calm when loud noises occur and not to be put off by underbrush and rocks. Once they have a good handle on this, then the skill of flushing birds should be easy to teach your Royal as they have a natural prey drive and will enjoy finding them and chasing them out.
The next skill they should learn is to retrieve and release. This final task will take patience when training and is based on the same theory as fetch. It’s the retrieval part that is the important skill. If you teach them to fetch, then moving up to fowl won’t be a completely different skill for them.
Training Methods used to Teach your Royal to Hunt
There are various ways of training your poodle to participate in a hunt with you. Most training outlines found are for hunting birds, but the basics are useable if you are pursuing other animals that are size appropriate for your Royal.
It’s essential to make sure to have rewards handy since Poodles work well with positive reinforcement when they are learning. This can include a toy your puppy likes or a tasty, healthy snack for when they succeed. Royals are also great at learning by observation, so having them train with a dog that has hunting experience is beneficial. They will learn and enjoy social time with other dogs.
Learn on the Go
- Get your Royal used to the hunting environment and have them search for fowl. Exposure to outdoor territory, gunfire, and fresh water is important.
- Train them to follow your directions. Do off-leash recall. Teach them to wait, freeze, and retrieve. Make sure they know basic manners such as sit, stay, down, fetch, and come.
- Match directions with behavior. When your dog sits, then say freeze or stop, so they understand they are related. Then give them the release command so they can move again. Your Royal will begin to realize that your words pair with their actions.
- Hunt with others so your Royal can see how it is done. Observation helps them learn.
- Reward good behavior with praise, treats, and or toys. They love to please you so hearing your praise encourages them and treats reinforce this.
Tame Bird Training
- Present a tame bird to your poodle and let them watch it. Keep both safe.
- Teach your Royal the freeze command with a check cord and special word. Your Royal has to be able to stop and freeze. This obedience command is a position they need to get used to as they sometimes will have to hold it for a long time.
- Get your dog to search for the same bird outside. Use a long leash so that your poodle dog can’t hurt it.
- Have your dog practice freezing when they find the bird. Reward the canine for freezing. Hold your dog if they want to run to the bird but don’t punish your furry companion. Command your hunting dogs to stop instead so your words reinforce both their and your actions.
- When your pup has the proper commands learned, then try working with them off their leash and going into a real hunting scenario.
Catch and Release
- Start this training method by playing fetch with your Royal. They will learn how to release a ball when directed. Offer a treat in place of the ball, so they understand they get something for doing this retrieval properly.
- Get them familiar with hunting scenarios, so they aren’t startled — the animals, the gunfire and the outdoors in general.
- Use experienced hunt dogs as mentors.
- Replace balls with dummies. Hide them, throw them, and get your pup to find them and bring them back to you.
- Hide the dummies, teaching your pup to respond to your directions. Keep rewarding success
- Move to bird carcasses or toys that smell like a bird
- Move to actual hunting and make sure to reward your pup for their accomplishments. Never punish them. Just practice and learn from others.
Items Required for Training
Below are some items required for training along with some that will make your royal poodles time outdoors more enjoyable. Many of the items come in variable sizes, so make sure it will fit your Royal as they are considered an extra large dog.
There are various methods to teach your royal poodle to hunt. Whichever you choose, make sure there is no negative reinforcement and that you show patience and calm. Your poodle wants to please you so will learn quickly with treats, praise and lots of pets on the head. It won’t take long until your Royal is ready for an outdoor hunting adventure.
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