Before you buy your dog, there are a lot of factors to consider. The endeavor can be exciting and it is easy to loose touch with the reality of what you might be getting yourself into. Yes, for me it has been more than worth the effort, but no, I was not prepared to chew the bite I had taken. Aside from finding the breed of dog you want and finding a reputable breeder to purchase from (which may be many states away), you also need to consider the cost and maintenance of equipment you will need.
First and foremost, you will need birds. This is not optional for training bird dogs, it is necessary. I mention birds first not only because of importance, but also because they can be the hardest to obtain. There are many options available when it comes to finding a resource. The best scenario would be to use your friend’s homing pigeons, but if that were the case you probably wouldn’t need to be reading this page anyways. If you are on your own for birds you either have to buy them, trap them, or only work with wild birds, which in most cases is extremely beneficial, but you really need to supplement them with formal bird work in order to iron out the wrinkles and steady your dog. Finding the right resource for birds can be an epic journey, one worth dedicating a whole page to, so for now, I will just talk about the physical-non-living tools you will need in a brief overview.
Below is a list of the basics, some of these you need to buy before your puppy comes home and others you can wait a little while for. Obvious items omitted.
- Check-chord immediate
- 2-3 Whistles immediate
- Dummies immediate to 1 year
- Bird launchers and remote4-5 months
- E-collar 5-9 months depending on temperament
- Tracking bell 4 months
- Tracking collar (GPS) 6 months
- Toy cap gun immediate
- Blanks – 22s or shotgun poppers immediate
- Training collar – leather choke 4-6 months
- Books and videos some prior to buying pup and others as you need more info
- Kennel or crate immediate and very important for your pup’s safety and your sanity
- BIRDS! immediate
As you can see, there is a lot involved and the cost could be prohibitive. I easily have over $2,000 invested in dog equipment and birds alone, not even counting my dog and the vet bills, etc. Later on, I will go over all of the individual items in depth. For now, this list should provide some insight as to what is before you and what you will need. If you end up having to wait a year or two in order to get hold of the birds and supplies you will need to do the job right, it would be every bit worth the wait.