There are many different behaviors you can teach your puppy or dog, but I am going to focus on 5 that I particularly think are a staple of creating a good dog. Hunting dog or not, these 5 are something you should seriously focus on when raising your pup.
1. Sit, Stay. These may seem easiest to you, and are the first thing a dog usually learns when little. However we encourage you to take this further than just sitting when a treat is out. They should be able to sit and stay at command no matter what is going on. This helps to control a dog when just out walking around traffic or be able to stay out of gunfire during hunting. Make them 'stay' for longer and longer periods of time. While you're eating dinner, they should be able to stay in a designated spot for the length of the dinner.
2. Crate Training. We don't get much sleep the first week of a new pup. Sometimes it means locking them in the garage or even putting in headphones during the day. Yes, it is sad. Yes, they cry. But give yourself just a couple weeks of headache and you get to enjoy a calm and unstressed dog. Don't believe me? Search it on google, ask a dog trainer, read a book on training dogs. They will (and should) say the same thing. Not crate training your dog could mean as soon as you leave town and they stay at a friends house, they are anxious, bark & howl, or begin to destroy belongings and the house. Create a safe environment now for your dog and be the best owner you can be!
3. Tug-of-war & fetch. It's great, fun, and a great way to exercise your dog! But as soon as you go to pull that ball or bird from his mouth.. he plays keep-away. Tug-of-war can lead to him grabbing your socks, and never ever letting you get close enough to save them. Let them play with other dogs, sure! But making sure "drop" is a part of his vocabulary. That leads to fetch, while it is a great thing to play, there can be too much of a good thing. Playing over and over again is where they start to become addicted to a ball or stick. Throw it two or three times, and then have a hard cut off where you will not throw it again. This way they aren't constantly throwing a slobbery ball in your lap or can't focus enough to do anything else besides fetch. Take them on walks and runs to get the wiggles out but be careful of a fetch addiction!
4. Come. Another easy one, but again something to work on even when you don't actually need them to come. (i.e, only when they are eating a cow turd you scream "come!" and then they do and then they get in trouble). Have them come to their name when they are being good, bad, or not doing anything at all. Praise them for all three instances! Added bonus, have them "heel" when they do get back for extra points.
5. CRATE. TRAIN. No more chewed up rugs, no more accidents in your clean truck, no more destroyed chairs. But also, no more nervous dogs! Not only is this helping you live easier with the knowledge your dog is safe, but at some point in your life you are going to leave the dog alone for a while. A crate is their stability! No matter where they are, they know that crate so they aren't looking for trouble. They are curling up in their den where they know they are supposed to be. Be a kind friend to the next person who needs to watch your dog, crate train your puppy.