The Christmas season is upon us, but there is still time to find that perfect gift for the sportsman that owns working dogs for hunting or competition. Even the most discriminating working dog owner appreciates a special gift that encourages better training practices.
If you’ve run out of shopping ideas, don’t despair. Here’s some smart, affordable products that keep on giving throughout the year.
- Training aids like bumpers and Dokken waterfowl are inexpensive and extremely useful tools for fieldwork. A dog handler can never have enough training aids in his or her truck. Most of the popular gun dog outlets offer deep discounts and even free shipping during the holidays.
- Training books and videos are appreciated because they can be shared countless times throughout the year with family and friends. Some of the best pro trainers across the country have produced excellent books and videos, and many of these can be found online at Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and other sporting good outlets. My book recommendation is Evan Graham’s Smartwork series.
- Hats and gloves make ideal gifts because they keep dog handlers protected against the harsh elements. Some AKC Hunt Test and Field Trial enthusiasts know that dark colored gloves make handling dogs from a distance easier. Orange or camouflage-colored hats also make great gifts and offer some protection against sun exposure.
- Sunglasses are another gift idea that protects dog handlers while they train in the field. Be sure to buy sunglasses that protect your eyes against UV rays, and don’t settle on too cheap of brand. A great pair of sunglasses will cost between $50 and $100, but quality sunglasses are a smart investment.
- Waterproof boots and hiking shoes can’t be beat, and most outdoor outfitters have a wide-selection under $100 a pair. When buying boots or hiking shoes get a half size larger than the person normally wears, so that in the winter they can use thicker socks to protect their feet.
- Training collars and leashes make perfect gifts because they are affordable and can last many years. Slip leads are extremely popular among AKC Hunt Test enthusiasts, and pinch style collars are ideal for obedience training. If you can’t decide, get several. You can’t go wrong here.
- Casting whistles come in a variety of styles and sizes, and typically sell for just a couple of dollars each. Lanyards make a great accessory too.
- Duck and goose calls are another smart gift idea that won’t cost you the bank.
- Foul weather gear like thin rain jackets are affordable and easy to find online or at the local mall. There are plenty of styles to choose from but be sure to keep your color choices down to camouflage or neutral shades.
- Folding knives and multi-tools are small, but they often are the best gifts of all. There are hundreds of styles and brands available, and most sell for less than $75.