Elvis, the main question: "How close are you with your dogs?"
On October 10th I had to separate from the best hunting dog I ever had. Her name was Yess and she was a 10 year old "Grosse Munsterlander" When you know that hunting season on small game really starts here on October 15th, then you understand it still hurts when I think back on this season's start.
Here we learn to train the dog first before it's allowed to come in contact with game. But because I lost my old dog so suddenly and my dog's work is my greatest hunting pleasure, I took her successor, a cesky fousec that I collected myself in Czech Republic, at the age of 6 months straight hunting, without any training at all.
I only had 2 things to support my decision: this new dog (see my avatar) was very close to me and does everthing to please me, and second: my youngest daughter started an extra course beside her normal study at the university of Leuven, learning to understand and train dogs. So if anything should go wrong, my daughter should have to clean up the mess
Well I did everything everybody says not to do with a young dog. I took her on the high seat hunting roebuck, took her to meetings and let her lay down at my feeth, she often sits beside me when I drive my car, took her hunting even she didn't wanted to do a decent 'apport', I even took her on pigeon's hunt where she had trouble with the noise of the many shots, ...
but: she trusts me completely and I trust her.
In house she is as soft as can be, but once I take my gun and go out, she changes completely. On January 12th she becomes 9 months old, I still have to do a lot of additional training next summer, but I already have a good hunting dog and a better than ever friend. She loves to go hunting, searches rather fast but still OK for phaisants, hare and rabbits (ducks and work on/over the water will be for next season), she even already helped to retrieve roebuck and she brings everything I shoot on a pigeon hunt, even crows.
I don't say she's trained enough and I know I didn't make it easy for me nor for her, but doing it this way gave us at least 1 year extra pleasure because she already surprised me and my hunting friends a few times.
And after this long introduction just a few words on your war game: just do anything that feels good for you and your dog, but do it together and play very often together. But don't forget to give your dog his childhood because when things turn out well, he will give you his live. Anything you both do together will bring you closer and will make him understand the things you like and want or hate, even without punishment.
But there is 1 big disadvantage: I already think about how it's going to hurt now when we some day have to separate. Because here we have a saying: "You'll survive every dog except your last..."
so I hope your dog also will give you many pleasant surprises.