Acclimate That Fat Retriever

If you’re like me, more and more your thoughts are turning to a cold drink and a hot shotgun on the edge of a stocktank or sunflower field.  Summer is upon us and we only have to endure another month and bird season is here!

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But in addition to watching for sales on #8 shot at Academy, cleaning the rust/blood/feathers off ol’ Betsy, and digging out your camo T shirts, you need to start now acclimating your dog to the heat and activity.

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Again, if you’re like me, the year has flown by and the best intentions regarding daily workouts for your best four-legged buddy slipped away.  He or she has spent the summer inside most likely, and begged a few too many treats, making that opening day potentially deadly.

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As always, a visit to the Vet to ensue there are no physical problems is a good place to start and while you’re there, be sure your dogs’ rattlesnake vaccine is current.  Dry now, but it was a wet Spring and the snakes will be exactly where you least expect them; don’t lose a hunt or a dog because you didn’t get the shots.

Kasper Snake

I have had five Labs and have to admit that as I have “matured” my concern for their welfare has grown.  Just as I can no longer run down a cripple in 100 degree heat, don’t expect a chubby dog to do it, either.  Walk your dog several times a week in the morning if you can and leave her outside in the late afternoon, just when you will be heading out to hunt.  Make a practice of throwing the dummy for him/her in the evening and cut back on the treats.  Lastly, after five Labs, I’ve invested in a ramp for Ruby and she has never jumped into or out of the truck.

Ruby After Deer Camp

As always, I pray we have good birds this year and both Ruby and I make some great memories.  I write this in the hopes that you do, too and your hunts are not ruined by an over-heated dog only trying to please the Boss.

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