Marked Retrieves vs. Blind Retrieves

Mar 14, 2023


Your Dog Needs To Know How To Retrieve Marks and Blinds

Coming out of duck season, did you have any banger volleys that ended with fist pumps and high-fives around the blind? If you did, chances are that your dog had to run both marked and blind retrieves. Both are very common during normal hunting scenarios, and it is important to train for both if you want to have a well-rounded gundog.

The simple definition of a marked retrieve is any retrieve that your dog is able to visually see on its way down. A blind retrieve, or an "unmarked retrieve", on the other hand, is any retrieve that the dog does not see on the way down. Whether or not a downed bird is a mark or a blind plays a very important roll in how you will handle your duck dog on the retrieve as well as the gundog training required to get him there.

Teach Your Dog To Be A Marking Machine

Two seasons ago I was on a goose hunt with some friends in Arkansas. We were targeting Speckled Belly Geese, but we...

Continue Reading...

How To Start Back Training After Duck Season

Feb 02, 2023

Quick Breaks Are Helpful

If you're worried about taking a short break from retriever training, you aren't alone! One of the most common questions we get about gundog training in general is how long is too long to take time off with your retriever. Hunting season can be tough on a dog, both physically and mentally! Most water dogs end the season a little behind, training-wise, where they began.

It can be helpful to give your duck hunting dog a little break once the season ends. Between the traveling, cold water, demanding hunts, etc., they've probably earned it! Besides, most of us duck hunters are pretty worn out ourselves. Taking a short break isn't going to be detrimental to yourself for your duck dog.

Make The Most of Your Time Off

During your break from retriever training, however, it can be helpful to go ahead and come up with a dog training game plan for when you get back started. Think back over the season. What did your gun dog struggle with? What challenges do you remember...

Continue Reading...

What To Prepare For When Hunting Multiple Dogs

Jan 22, 2023


As much fun as it can be to hunt multiple retrievers, it is not without its challenges. The training required to prepare a dog to hunt with another dog is well beyond the retriever training required for only one dog on the hunt. Even though your gun dog might be well-advanced in training, we want to be sure you are prepared for the challenges you will face when two duck hunting dogs are in the blind at the same time.

There is something worth noting before we even get into the specifics. If the other dog who will be hunting alongside your dog is untrained, it may be best to leave your dog in the truck. An unsteady dog can be a really tough temptation on your own steady hunting dog. A dog who breaks, makes noise, does not promptly deliver to hand, etc. can be challenging to hunt alongside. If there is a major risk of creating bad habits, it is probably better to leave your dog at home.

It is also important to remember that hunting your water dog will almost always work against...

Continue Reading...

Gunner's All-Weather Kit and Cold-Weather Door Review

Jan 15, 2023

Prepping for Cold Weather

Winter is here in full-blast, and many arctic cold fronts have already swept across the country. For those of us who are chasing ducks, whether down the road or across state lines, our retrievers might be spending some time riding in a dog crate in colder weather. While there are many different options to choose from for a dog kennel for travel, we have always been fans of the Gunner Kennel G1 dog crate.

Gunner has done extensive testing on their kennels, including cold weather testing, to determine what happens inside the kennel as the temperatures drop. These tests have shown that a kennel can stay up to 20 degrees warmer than the air temps outside, but this still may not solve one of the biggest issues with winter weather - winds. Winds and the wind chill can cause hypothermia in dogs rather quickly. This is where Gunner's All-Weather Kit 2.0 comes in!

All-Weather Kit's Overall Design and Function

Notice that the cover designed for Gunner kennels...

Continue Reading...

Electronic Collars - Our Take On Them

Jan 11, 2023

What is an E-Collar?

An electric collar (or e-collar) is a type of dog training collar often utilized amongst a wide variety of dog training disciplines. E-collars have a remote, held by the trainer, and a receiver which is attached to a flat collar fitted onto the dog's neck. The receiver has a prong-system, with two or more prongs, which transmits either a vibration or a small electric pulse from the remote. The level of the pulse, or "shock", can be adjusted on the remote. Most e-collars have the ability to transmit a very quick pulse, often called a "nick", or a longer pulse (continuous). Some e-collars will also transmit a sound in the form of a "beep". E-collars are battery operated an often have a range of well over 250 yards.

Ofter the last few decades, the technology on electronic collars has improved leaps and bounds. While the older e-collars were known for being quite strong and "burning", newer technology has allowed e-collars to be toned down to a much lower level of...

Continue Reading...

How Long Should My Training Sessions Be?

Oct 28, 2022

The Answer Depends on Reading Your Dog

We often get the question, “How long should my training session be?”  It is beyond difficult to honestly answer this question, because it is different for every dog!  Some dogs thrive in short, to-the-point, training session that take place at least once a day, sometimes more.  Other dogs do really well with a long, forty-five minute session two or three days a week.  The rare dog can train all day long, every day.  Others need very little work throughout the week to make progress.  The trick is to develop an ability to read and understand your gun dog. This skill of reading your dog begins from the moment you learn how to potty train a puppy and continues through your dog's entire life.

 The Over-Zealous First-Time-Trainer

I remember when I would load up my gear, one dog in the kennel, and drive twenty minutes to the outskirts of town for a training session. It would...

Continue Reading...

Why Is Timing So Important for Retriever Training?

Oct 13, 2022

The Importance of Timing

Whether giving a reward or issuing a correction, your timing is so important while training a retriever.  A reward given too late will not reinforce the desired behavior.  A reward given too soon will be a distraction or will reinforce the wrong behavior.  A correction given too late will most likely be misunderstood by the dog and could cause undesired issues with other aspects of retriever training.  Learning proper timing techniques, including how to reward and how to correct a dog, will help advance a novice trainer to a more advanced level of gun dog training.

Time and Reps In the Field Cannot Be Replaced

When it comes to gun dog training and timing, nothing replaces the hours spent and reps made in the field. It takes a lot of time and practices with your dog to get good at timing.  One option for faster improvement is to film yourself while you train, then go back and evaluate your timing.  Did you rush your...

Continue Reading...

The Ups and Downs of Retriever Training

Sep 30, 2022

Retriever Training Progress Will have its Ups and Downs

We all want our gun dogs to make progress. There is nothing like seeing your dog complete a retrieve that, just a short while ago, would not have been possible. Progress often happens quickly with a young puppy. They are so eager to work for food, and their little brains are just like sponges! Over time, though, progress will typically begin to slow down. After puppies have their adult teeth and formal retrieving work starts, progress can have its ups and downs. This is common not just for Labrador retrievers but for all retriever breeds.

Different gun dog breeds also mature at varying levels. Chesapeake bay retrievers may not be up to the same task as a Labrador retriever at six months old. Golden retrievers may seem like a Labrador with a long coat, but they also mature and train differently. Even within Labradors, the most common retriever breed, there are differences in maturity levels. Sometimes we may...

Continue Reading...

Building a Lasting Bond With Your Hunting Retriever

Aug 17, 2022

The Key to Developing a Bond With Your Retriever

We often want to capitalize on our time spent with our dogs by doing as much activity as possible. After all, we got our dogs for a purpose, right?

In pursuing our dream of training a hunting retriever, it can be easy to push in a training session until we've gone beyond the point of its attention span. If you're like most, when you get your pup from the breeder, you start adding up the days to see if your pup will be old enough for hunting season.

That's great, but another thought you probably have is that "I am excited to hunt, but I don't want to shortcut my dog in any way. I need to make sure it reaches its potential." If that's you right now, you have an incredible opportunity at your fingertips. The opportunity to give your hunting dog all that it deserves.

How To Develop A Strong Bond With Your Retriever

While training is important, that's half the battle. The other half is making sure you do the right things when you're not in...

Continue Reading...

Help! How Can I Play Without Messing Up My Duck Dog Puppy?

Dec 18, 2020

As a retriever owner, one of the biggest fears that you may have is, "What if I do something that messes up my retriever?"

If that thought has crossed your mind, you are not alone. There's a lot to having a great hunting dog and family companion. One of the biggest question areas revolves around playing with your retriever. Many people wonder what is okay and what is not okay.

The fear of messing up your dog plaguing your thoughts and the desire to have a calm pup that listens well and doesn't get in too much trouble can leave you feeling helpless and confused when your pup begins to act out.

On the one hand, you feel that you should do something, and on the other, you are afraid you will mess up. After all, you don't want to create bad habits that can hurt you down the road.

Sound familiar? 

It feels like a pretty helpless situation that you hope eventually goes away. But...

There's good news!

This is not a helpless situation.

You can and should do something about it. In fact,...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5