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Junior Training -- The World of Dogs and Birds
By Douglas Pender

My name is Douglas Pender and I am 14 years old. As long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed hunting. It was fascinating to watch hunting dogs respond to their handlers in different ways. I wondered if I could train a dog to the level of Master Hunter.

After 3 years of observing and reading about different hunting breeds, I decided on the good-natured Pointer. Last June, Beth Kirven, who owns a champion pointer named Ranger (CH Malmasons Hi Ho Silver JH) helped me acquire one of his puppies. I was blessed with my dream dog, Hunter (Malmasons Alydar Range Hunter JH, CGC), an orange and white Pointer. He was 8 weeks old and pointed his first butterfly right away. Hunter’s instinct was ready for hunting.

And so the training began. After talking to many seasoned trainers, I was told that Pointers could be difficult to train in the puppy stage. So I knew I was up for a challenge but with patience, consistent daily training, praise, and lots of love, Hunter could be a trained hunting companion.

To encourage Hunter’s instinct for hunting and pointing, I used quail wings on a string and later live quail for training. Commands are essential for a good hunting dog. “Whoa”, “Come”, “Back”, and “Stay” are the building blocks of communication between you and your dog in the field. Praise is extremely important in training a hunting partner.

Hunter participated in his first hunt test at 6 months old and earned a qualifying score for the first of four legs towards his Junior Hunter (JH) title. At 9 months old, he completed his Junior Hunter title and I will be working with him this summer training for the Senior Hunter title. We are now learning about dog shows and attended our first AKC “B” match. Hunter won “Best in Sporting Group” and I achieved “Best Junior Handler.” Hunter also attained his “Canine Good Citizens” (CGC) title.

Recently, I was given the privilege to help in training Hunter's father, Ranger, for hunt tests. Ranger achieved his Junior Hunter title in early March at the age of 7. It is fun working with Pointers teaching them to be a hunting companion. I look forward to training many more dogs in the future and would like to thank the many people who helped train me, especially Beth Kirven, Beth Strickland, Chuck Hanson and Maurice Lindley. Also, a special thanks to my family for being so supportive of my passion and dream come true.