Training a hunting dog is no easy task.
But for Walt Noa, it's as easy as breathing. He's the manager at Black Duck Hunting Preserve in Rapid River and has been training all hunting breeds for years.
So he knows what it takes and how to get started.
"Puppy is seven, eight, nine months old after that first year; I let it hunt as much as I can let it hunt, and I don't put a lot of pressure on it. Now, the next spring, we go to school," said Noa.
And that's why first time hunter and dog owner, Andrew Pawloski, brought his dog to Walt.
"Growing up, my mom was always allergic to everything with fur or feathers, so he's been my first dog, and he's been a lot of fun. I'm learning a lot and he's learning a lot," said Pawloski.
Andrew's dog, Ozzie, learned "whoa training" on Thursday and is a very quick learner.
To dogs, whoa means halt. Walt says training a hunting dog is an art form, and every trainer is different in their tactics. He says the best way to lay the foundation is to start when the puppy is about 12 weeks old. Then you take baby steps by introducing the puppy to the bird, then the gun.
"I'm very careful with introducing to the gun. If we mess up with that, we're in trouble. I can't fix a gun-shy dog. And I have people bring in a dog where they were at home and somebody shot the shotgun off, and the puppy is afraid of guns. We're pretty much done with hunting when that happens," Noa said.
Walt trains dogs once a week for one hour at a time. He says he is basically training the owner to train the dog, giving them the tools they need in order to produce a fantastic hunting dog.
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