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Pre-Season Prep: 7 Steps for Success

Off-season prep to ensure a great opening day
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3. Take Care of Man's Best Friend

As a veterinarian in South Dakota, the majority of Dr. Joe Spoo's four-legged clients are of the hunting variety.

Spoo says that the number-one problem with the hunting dogs that come in to his office for their pre-season check-up is that they are out of shape.

"We expect these dogs to go from couch potatoes to world-class athletes overnight," says Spoo. "This isn't practical and definitely isn't safe for the dog.  Hunting dogs love what they do to the point that they will literally run themselves to death."

Spoo says that heat, treacherous water conditions, and a number of long retrieves are just a few of the situations that can get a dog in trouble, and the hunter needs to be the thinking, rational member of the team.

Spoo says that pre-season training sessions and routine exercise are the only way to make sure that your retriever is in proper shape come opening day. But if your dog is not a hunting performance level, Spoo highly recommends taking things slowly during the first few weeks of the season.

"This may mean that your first outings aren't as long or as productive," says Spoo. "However, it could mean the difference between life and death for your hunting partner."

 

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