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Year-round Conditioning for the Urban Bird Dog

  • Blog Post by: Walter Bruning
  • January 14, 2010 - 11:48 AM

Pride on the harness.  Look at her pull!

We live in a small condo and have no yard and really no place to exercise Pride, the English Pointer, during the off-season.  Plus, the few fields that might work out are rattlesnake havens in Southern California for about 8 months of the year.  What to do?

A friend suggested a roading harness.  I always thought you used these with a dog sled or wagon, with a bunch of dogs in tandem and trotted them up and down country roads for miles a day.  Not so!  I checked with a really good guy in Mississippi, Steve Snell who runs Gun Dog Supply in Starksville, MS and he told me how to use a harness. "Hook the dog up and walk slowly down the road/sidewalk.  They naturally want to pull.  Works on any bird dog, foxhound, coon dog, whatever." (The one I bought is here--    http://tinyurl.com/dfcan4    --It has a great padded area across the chest.  You don't want anything that lodges against their neck.  That could really hurt a dog.)

This works just great for Pride.  We walk her 30 minutes every morning and she really pulls.  Two other benefits: walking on the pavement/sidewalk keeps her toenails buffed down and it keeps me in shape too.  We go about two miles.  When the season opened this past fall she was a little pooped after the first couple of times out but it was also warm.  As the weather cooled it was obvious that she was in good shape.  This may not be as good as runninng 30 minutes a day but it sure beats doggie-couch-potatoe-syndrome!

I know that in MInnesota being out walking with ice, snow and subzero tempertures isn't great but you can do it once the weather eases up and you have all summer to get ready for those great fall days in Minnesota woods and fields.

All I can say is "Hunt 'em up Pride!"

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