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Safe treats to give to keep energy levels up on shoot day


Kiwi/highlander
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Hi there,

 

what treats do folk give their dogs to keep their energy levels up on shoot days? 
 

I’ve got a wiry modern type cocker who struggles to keep weight on at best of times and cold weather last weekend caused her to nearly collapse. 
 

looking to hear what folk give their dogs (other than a mars bar!) to keep energy levels up during the day? Eg brands of energy treats or advice like do you limit  excercise the day before to allow glycogen to build up in the dogs liver? 
 

first modern type cocker I’ve had, previous ones have been thicker set and never had this problem. 
 

 

TIA 

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kronch-Pemmikan-energy-bars-dogs/dp/B004ROP5HI/ref=asc_df_B004ROP5HI/?tag=googshopuk-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309950281379&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7604365970111004345&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1006663&hvtargid=pla-592028741244&psc=1

This stuff is well thought of.

 

20 minutes ago, Kiwi/highlander said:

Hi there,

 

what treats do folk give their dogs to keep their energy levels up on shoot days? 
 

I’ve got a wiry modern type cocker who struggles to keep weight on at best of times and cold weather last weekend caused her to nearly collapse. 
 

looking to hear what folk give their dogs (other than a mars bar!) to keep energy levels up during the day? Eg brands of energy treats or advice like do you limit  excercise the day before to allow glycogen to build up in the dogs liver? 
 

first modern type cocker I’ve had, previous ones have been thicker set and never had this problem. 
 

 

TIA 

 

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We take a snack for 11.00s, i used to take a few treats for when we are waiting for the end of the drives, but our Buster would not touch anything, not even a sausage, offered in front of his nose he would take it out of your fingers and drop it on the floor.

Far far too interested in the job in hand, quite funny when he moves his head because he cant see the gun 100yds in front of him because your hand and sausage are in the way. 

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I have owned and run shooting dogs for the last 60 years and never during a days shooting did they have 'treats' or durinf training.   They got fed the very best possible food I could give them once a day.  Never ever had a problem with health or behaviour, they worked as a team and I just happened to be the lead 'dog'.

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if he is on kibble, add 250g 20% fat beef mince (raw or browned off in pan) to his diet night before each shoot day.

 

On a shoot day, I give mine a foil pate of dog food, before sitting down myself for lunch, 30 min or so later he is raring to go again.

 

If your dogs tail goes down due to exhaustion, leave the drive and get him dry warm and fed asap.

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32 minutes ago, Stonepark said:

if he is on kibble, add 250g 20% fat beef mince (raw or browned off in pan) to his diet night before each shoot day.

 

On a shoot day, I give mine a foil pate of dog food, before sitting down myself for lunch, 30 min or so later he is raring to go again.

 

If your dogs tail goes down due to exhaustion, leave the drive and get him dry warm and fed asap.

Thanks 👍

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Thanks from another sproker owner who ran out of steam due to wet and cold last time out the wind had us walking miles for pricked birds ( not mine btw ! )  ! Already upped her food towards working weekends
 

mine as other posted above has no interest in any food when working even when back in crate at elevensis 

she has been known to refuse breakfast while loading up the van for a day work as she knows where she’s going !

For me pre loading with mince I think may work may also try the digestive oat biscuits 

thanks for the tips will try them out 

Agriv8

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i used to work my dogs regular...........they do long days...my idea was to only let your dogs off if they had a purpose...otherwise keep them close so as they are not running about aimlessly....then that way they will last the day.....i used to give them a pasty each at the middle of the day ...leave the car running with the heater on and let the copra matting suck out the wettness out of their coats...they had a 1/2 hour nap and the were good to go again

at home they would be showered down with warm water ...feet and ears checked ...nice bowl of hot food ..then under the infa red lamps for 3 hours and left alone......never worked them 2 days running.....

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On 09/12/2021 at 19:01, Walker570 said:

I have owned and run shooting dogs for the last 60 years and never during a days shooting did they have 'treats' or durinf training.   They got fed the very best possible food I could give them once a day.  Never ever had a problem with health or behaviour, they worked as a team and I just happened to be the lead 'dog'.

I am with Walker. Worked spaniels originally and now labs. Never found it necessary to give energy treats. My dogs are fed twice a day, kennelled outside and kept fit. They work picking up in some of the harshest terrain and go all day. Same for the beaters and keepers dogs. To my mind the real issue to address is getting the main feed right and levels of fitness.

if you want to feed energy bars etc some good advice given but don’t overlook the basics.

Good Luck!

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I get the point but my sprocker is fit and exercised but is not food oriented. She will take her fill and then that’s it.

working and running she will Literally rip herself to shreds. but like a lamb cold no problem wet no problem. But both together I can see it in her eyes she needs a pick me up like I need a coffee!
 

I don’t want her too fat but feel that being able to read my companion and give her a boost before she runs out of juice is my duty as dad !

I can’t predict the weather or how many injured birds we be asked to find but I am after a fix for a issue before she hits the run out of steam scenario.

for that I will try some of the tips above 

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On 10/12/2021 at 22:35, Agriv8 said:

I get the point but my sprocker is fit and exercised but is not food oriented. She will take her fill and then that’s it.

working and running she will Literally rip herself to shreds. but like a lamb cold no problem wet no problem. But both together I can see it in her eyes she needs a pick me up like I need a coffee!
 

I don’t want her too fat but feel that being able to read my companion and give her a boost before she runs out of juice is my duty as dad !

I can’t predict the weather or how many injured birds we be asked to find but I am after a fix for a issue before she hits the run out of steam scenario.

for that I will try some of the tips above 


 

- How long are your shoot days? 

- Is it driven?

- Are you working the dog on each drive?

- What are you doing between drives? 

- How big is your dog?

- What kind of terrain is the shoot? 


I would say that the majority of dogs I see out do not require a snack/boost. 

Smaller dogs such as some cockers (or perhaps a small sized sprocker) may have to expend more energy that a bigger dog to cover ground. 
 

I know lads over in Ireland will be out for 2-5 hour stints rough shooting and the lad had a cocker and got rid of it as it didn’t have the stamina to do a full day of that sort of hunting. 

 

I think proper match fitness from being worked long and hard is a whole different league from starting the season, and only the dogs out being worked several days a week will reach that real pinnacle of fitness.

 

Couple this with the terrain, some dogs will Cover a massive area up and down hillsides, banks and fighting through hard cover for hours, whilst other dogs will run through cover crops and bracken on flat ground. 
 

The energy requirements of those dogs will vary considerably. 

 

 

 

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Sensible post Lloyd90.

I have always fed my dogs twice per day.

My Labradors never suffered from the fatigue that Spaniels can and would always eat their morning food even though excited when they knew they were going shooting. 

One of my Spaniels will not eat on a shoot morning because of the excitement and he has occasionally 'gone down' with exhaustion.

My remedy is a pork pie and a couple of biscuits late morning,for the dogs that is not me.

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27 minutes ago, JDog said:

Sensible post Lloyd90.

I have always fed my dogs twice per day.

My Labradors never suffered from the fatigue that Spaniels can and would always eat their morning food even though excited when they knew they were going shooting. 

One of my Spaniels will not eat on a shoot morning because of the excitement and he has occasionally 'gone down' with exhaustion.

My remedy is a pork pie and a couple of biscuits late morning,for the dogs that is not me.

 

I have tried a few different ways. 

I think feeding extra the day before / night before helps, and I also soak the dogs feed so it is well hydrated going into the shoot day. 
 

I have fed in the morning of the shoot as it was several hours before, but I think the best my dog had gone is not being fed on the morning (as otherwise your out working with a big meal sat in the stomach), but I instead gave him some Pemmikan bar about an hour or so before work starts, and another small bit later in the day. 
 

If the dog had been fed that morning I don’t think he would need it but give it as he didn’t eat. 
 

 

My rough shooting doesn’t go on all day, we have a 4 bird walked up limit, we will go out for 2-3 hours rough shooting, and if we run in a trial like recently will be out for hours but the dog will only get 2 intense runs so wouldn’t expect it to expend anywhere near as much energy as a dog out working for 3-4 hours straight.

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Could be a good excuse to buy another dog. My uncle used to work 2 spaniels, one on the lead recovering and the other working its socks off. His dogs were always in fantastic condition but like humans he reckoned some seem to have more sprinters genetics and others have marathon genetics. His were certainly sprinters and would go 100% and knacker themselves then they would recover through the next drive while the fresh dog took over. 

Go on, you know you want another!! 😁

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I've read differing theories about this.  There has been a strong argument made that dogs' metabolisms differ from humans, so whereas we would get a bit of a short term "boost" from scoffing a mars bar etc, it doesn't do the same thing for a dog.  You need to get the energy into them beforehand so it's in store for them to burn it off.  Plus, also, I know loads of people say it does their dog no harm giving them half a mars bar but chocolate, poisonous to dogs... sugar, not really great for their teeth....

So, to chuck my hat into the ring:  Mine are on dried kibble, usually garnished with a bit of tinned "meat" if you can call it that.  On shoot morning instead of the meat I whack in a tin of sardines in sunflower oil.  What's in the fish has all sorts of good things going for it and the oil gives short term energy for the day.  Boiled long grain rice is the other addition, given the night before and on the morning - plenty of carbohydrate that will slow burn throughout the working day, probably about 2/3 of a cupful of cooked rice per dog.  I've done this for years, it seems to work very well.

Another thing to consider is the muscle mass and also the condition of the muscle.  More muscle has to do less work per weight of muscle to drive the dog along, and muscles can still be sizeable but not so efficient if they're not in good condition.

I had a dog springer who was one of those with all his dials turned up to 11.  He ran himself to exhaustion as a young dog and I couldn't keep him up to a level of condition that was acceptable to me during the season - he'd get very ribby.  In this situation I've learned that you can't simply increase portions of the same food, it doesn't work.  They can only take in so much and the rest is passed as waste.  When I tried upping his feed quantity he used to **** for England but gained no weight or condition as a result.

What worked for that dog was simply adding more excellent quality protein on top of his standard diet.  I used to make a point of feeding him a portion of pigeon about 3 times a week, probably equivalent to one breast of a decent sized adult bird.  I prepared it by dicing it and boiling it for maybe 90 seconds then whacking the meat and water into the dried kibble, serving once it had cooled and the kibble soaked up most of the liquid.  The slightly older bitch had the same as well and she benefited, although her physical build I think is a bit more able to take the day's work plus she is sensible enough not to go full pelt all the time from the moment she gets out of the truck.

After the first game season feeding the dog this extra protein plus rice he was both in better condition come February and noticeably more able to cope in terms of stamina.

If you've no access to shot game like pigeon that you'd happily use as dog food, use chicken instead.  When needed I put several breasts in a casserole dish with the lid on, about gas mark 4 for around 40 minutes, let it cool then shred it with a fork.  Add the shredded chicken back into the juices, mix to soak it up and portion it up in tubs or bags.  I often add boiled rice into it as well, so I've got pre-prepared "ready meals" that can just be defrosted and added to the normal food when needed.

 

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10 hours ago, Jim Neal said:

I've read differing theories about this.  There has been a strong argument made that dogs' metabolisms differ from humans, so whereas we would get a bit of a short term "boost" from scoffing a mars bar etc, it doesn't do the same thing for a dog.  You need to get the energy into them beforehand so it's in store for them to burn it off.  Plus, also, I know loads of people say it does their dog no harm giving them half a mars bar but chocolate, poisonous to dogs... sugar, not really great for their teeth....

So, to chuck my hat into the ring:  Mine are on dried kibble, usually garnished with a bit of tinned "meat" if you can call it that.  On shoot morning instead of the meat I whack in a tin of sardines in sunflower oil.  What's in the fish has all sorts of good things going for it and the oil gives short term energy for the day.  Boiled long grain rice is the other addition, given the night before and on the morning - plenty of carbohydrate that will slow burn throughout the working day, probably about 2/3 of a cupful of cooked rice per dog.  I've done this for years, it seems to work very well.

Another thing to consider is the muscle mass and also the condition of the muscle.  More muscle has to do less work per weight of muscle to drive the dog along, and muscles can still be sizeable but not so efficient if they're not in good condition.

I had a dog springer who was one of those with all his dials turned up to 11.  He ran himself to exhaustion as a young dog and I couldn't keep him up to a level of condition that was acceptable to me during the season - he'd get very ribby.  In this situation I've learned that you can't simply increase portions of the same food, it doesn't work.  They can only take in so much and the rest is passed as waste.  When I tried upping his feed quantity he used to **** for England but gained no weight or condition as a result.

What worked for that dog was simply adding more excellent quality protein on top of his standard diet.  I used to make a point of feeding him a portion of pigeon about 3 times a week, probably equivalent to one breast of a decent sized adult bird.  I prepared it by dicing it and boiling it for maybe 90 seconds then whacking the meat and water into the dried kibble, serving once it had cooled and the kibble soaked up most of the liquid.  The slightly older bitch had the same as well and she benefited, although her physical build I think is a bit more able to take the day's work plus she is sensible enough not to go full pelt all the time from the moment she gets out of the truck.

After the first game season feeding the dog this extra protein plus rice he was both in better condition come February and noticeably more able to cope in terms of stamina.

If you've no access to shot game like pigeon that you'd happily use as dog food, use chicken instead.  When needed I put several breasts in a casserole dish with the lid on, about gas mark 4 for around 40 minutes, let it cool then shred it with a fork.  Add the shredded chicken back into the juices, mix to soak it up and portion it up in tubs or bags.  I often add boiled rice into it as well, so I've got pre-prepared "ready meals" that can just be defrosted and added to the normal food when needed.

 

Would you not just feed the pigeon breast or chicken raw? I know I've said it before but  dogs have to be physically able and built well,  then  they have  develop fitness levels then fed properly,  nuts or kibble as it's more better known on here, won't be much good on its own.  Raw tripe and beef on top of kibble. Fed well night before. Never feed in morning. That system, combined with a strong dog should have no problem working hard all day. 

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