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.
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,...
If you have a new puppy or plan to get a new puppy, and you want to train it to be a hunting dog, you are probably wondering...
"When should I start training my duck dog?"
That's a great question to be asking! Most people will tell you to start training your dog around six months old. While there is nothing wrong with this, if you wait until then to start training, you miss out on one of the best times to make great progress with your dog.
When To Start
The best time to start training your duck dog is the moment that you bring it home. Having a dog is more than just having a hunting companion. A dog is a family companion as well. If you want to have a great duck dog that is a great family companion, it's best to start the first chance you get.
You won't start full bore into gundog training at seven weeks old, but you will start laying the foundation necessary to have a great hunting companion.
At this age, the goal is to start building a bond and socializing your pup...
A question that we get all the time is, "What is too cold for my dogs to hunt?"
The answer is not as simple as a specific temperature that is too cold. There's a lot to take into account. There's wind chill, the temperature itself, and many other factors.
Since there's no exact answer, I want to share with you three things you can do to help your dog hunt successfully in cold weather.
1. Keep Your Dog As Dry As Possible & Out of The Wind.
Nothing chills one to the bone more than being wet and getting blasted by a strong wind. The same goes for your dog. Keeping your dog dry and out of the wind will help it stay safe and focused during the fridged days of winter.
One of the best ways to do this is to use a dog blind or have a dog box built into your blind that keeps your dog out of the wind. This generally won't be an issue in timber hunts, but the wind chill can be brutal on a field hunt.
Your dog will naturally dry quickly if it has the chance. Having the...
As you are preparing to hunt, you are probably considering all of the different items you will need to pull off a successful hunt. As the dog guy/gal, you will want to make sure that your dog is set up for success and can hunt comfortably in whatever situation you plan to hunt.
There are many options for you to choose from when it comes to dog stands and blinds. Depending on where and how you plan to hunt, one blind may work better for your dog than the other.
You will probably want a completely open stand in the timber so that your dog has maximum visibility. Here are a few great stands for you to consider. (Links go to the manufacturer's website for more info. I recommend shopping around to find the best deal.)
Of course, there are more to choose from, but this is a good starting point for your search. It all boils down to what you feel is going to suit your...
You may find it pleasantly surprising that it doesn't take as much land and water as you think...
Training a retriever is one of life's many great experiences. If you are considering training your dog yourself, the thought has probably crossed your mind, "Do I have enough places to train my dog successfully?"
If you are thinking along those lines, that is great! That tells me that you are thinking about what is best for your dog and that you want to ensure that you do it justice.
How Our Members Find Places To Train.
At Cornerstone Gundog Academy, we have members from all over the U.S., Canada, and the world. Our members live in the rural country, the suburbs, and even the inner city.
CGA members do an incredible job training their hunting dogs. Whether they are in an ideal location to train or have the opportunity to get creative, they always make it happen.
With that in mind, I decided to ask our members a few questions...
- "How much land and water do you...
Waterfowlers that have a new or young retriever often consider this one fundamental question as hunting season approaches.
Your retriever's first hunt is incredibly important. Making sure that your dog is ready to hunt is even more critical. If you get it right, your dog will be well on its way to becoming the best duck hunting dog and best goose hunting dog that it can be.
How do you know when to take your duck hunting dog or goose hunting dog on its first hunt?
It all boils down to ensuring that your dog has developed the right skill sets to be successful on a hunt and make sure that your dog is mature enough to go on a hunt. Fortunately, most dogs that have developed the proper skill sets are mature enough because enough time has elapsed in developing those skills. (It doesn't happen overnight, but with hard work and dedication, it will).
The Skill Sets Your Dog Needs To Be Successful On A Hunt
- Basic Obedience
One of the most sought-after traits that an excellent retriever can possess is unwavering focus even in the face of distractions. A retriever that is driven yet controlled is ideal in any situation.
There are many things that you can do to work on keeping your retriever focused, but there are two things in particular that can have a HUGE impact.
Focus Starts With You: Drill In On The Details
In many of my posts, I talk a lot about details. There's a reason for that. Life without detail would be stale. Details bring out the beauty and vibrance in every part of life. The same is true with a waterfowl retriever.
As it relates to keeping your retriever focused, success is always in the details. What do I mean by that?
When you are training, what are you focusing on? Are you paying attention to your dog's body movement? Are you paying attention to everything your dog does before you give it the release command?
Focusing on the details will allow you to unlock some of your...
As retriever owners, we all hope that our dog has incredible natural retrieving drive. If you're like most, one of the first things that you will want to do with your future hunting companion is to see how it likes to retrieve. However, if you run into a problem and your dog won't retrieve, it can leave you fretting over whether or not your dog will turn out. You may be asking, "How do I get my dog to retrieve?"
Whether your pup is seven weeks or seven months old, you may run into a period of your dog's life where it won't retrieve. That's a real issue for a dog owner that plans to hunt your dog. After all, if you plan on taking your dog hunting, you are probably planning on having your dog do the retrieving too.
Bringing out your dog's natural retrieving drive...
Like I mentioned above, if you run into a problem with your dog retrieving, then you may start worrying. When you worry, odds are, you may wonder if your dog will be a dud. Don't sweat it; we have solutions for you.
Lining is one of the most crucial skill sets a retriever can possess. Whether you are hunting marshes or dry fields, you're more than likely going to need a dog that can take lines very well.
There are many lining drills that you can do, but there are three simple drills that you can do right now that will improve your dog's lining, which will result in faster, more efficient retrieves in the duck blind.
One of the most straightforward that you can run is a lining memory. Lining memories are simple and can easily adapt to whatever terrain you would like to work in. If you want to do a lining memory retrieve, then it's straight forward and simple.
All you have to do is pick a start point and endpoint and then walk in a straight line with your dog at heel. Once you reach your endpoint, stop, throw out a bumper, and then with your dog at heel, return to your start point. Ensure your dog is lined properly, as outlined in our online courses, and...
If you've been around retriever training for a short time, odds are you've probably heard someone talk about a blind retrieve. Have you ever wondered what a blind retrieve is?
What is a blind retrieve?
A blind retrieve is a retrieve that your dog has never seen before. Meaning, if a bird is shot, but the dog didn't "mark" or see the bird fall, it is considered a blind retrieve.
In other words, the dog is blind to where the bird or bumper fell and will need to trust you to line it up properly and handle it to the downed bird or bumper.
The foundation for a blind retrieve is trust. Trust isn't built overnight and ultimately it is developed through building a bond over months as you train and mold your dog into all that it can be.
There are three core foundations for being successful on blind retrieves.
- Trust between you and your dog
- Confidence in taking the right line
- A strong relationship developed between you and your dog
If you want to develop these qualities in...