“From his prehistoric beginnings man has possessed two things: woman and dog.”

The humorous (if slightly misogynistic and outdated) first sentence of Wolters’ iconic training manual gives you a hint as to what lies in store in its concise 148 pages.  It is a starting point.  It is basic.

For Wolters, a hunting pup’s training life begins at 7 weeks.  Based on my experience with a litter of pups this year, I would agree.  I actually began working on crate conditioning and other basic commands at 5 1/2 weeks.

These are not advanced techniques.  Wolters takes you through the beginnings of the basic commands of sit, stay, come, and whoa.  There are other techniques provided to assist in bringing out the dog’s natural pointing and retrieving instincts.  The book has as many instructional photographs as words taking you through the process.

He then covers the second phase of training: quartering a field, the use of hand signals, fetch on command, introduction of the gun, water retrieve and honoring another dog’s point.

If you plan on training your own dog and need a place to begin, this is it.  I would estimate that his process takes you through the first 6-12 months of yard/close field work.  The time frame depends on how much time you put into it: the more time spent, the shorter the process.

Random aside: Turning to the advice of your local chapter of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association chapter is something that I also recommend.  This is a resource that we did not take advantage of in the past, but plan to utilize to the fullest extent with any new dogs in the future.  Here is the list of chapters and contacts: http://www.navhda.us/chapterinfo.aspx)

Wolters was not a professional dog trainer.  He was educated as a chemist but had a passion for hunting dogs that shows in his writing.  His goal was to produce a text enabling the amateur with limited time to effectively work with his or her dog, and I believe that Gun Dog succeeds in achieving that goal.