8 Ways to Ruin Your Duck Hunting Dog

Fake Him Out on Dekes

duck hunting dog training retrieve

Nearly all waterfowl hunters employ decoys, and if your dog isn’t used to them a pleasant morning in the blind can turn into a blood-pressure redlining disaster. “You shouldn’t expect a dog to understand what a decoy is, or watch you toss a bunch of decoys into the water without reacting. He will want to retrieve them. Dogs can also get tangled up in the lines and start to panic. Avoid both by doing a simple decoy walkthrough on land at first, then toss a dummy into a mix of decoys. Eventually you can move the fakes to the water’s edge and allow your dog to retrieve through the spread. After that, move the decoys out deeper and repeat.”

Let Him Rock the Boat

duck hunting dog training boat

Nothing is more frustrating than a poorly behaved dog in a flat-bottom boat. Nothing. This is why Dokken goes through an extensive process for teaching his retrievers how to operate out of a boat. “You can’t expect a dog that has never been in a boat to understand how to suddenly sit calmly and then conduct a blind retrieve on a wounded greenhead. Doesn’t happen. I like to use a flat-bottom boat on land to allow a dog to start to become comfortable with boats. Retrieving drills that begin and end in the boat establish a base. Eventually, the boat goes into the water for more drills.”

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