Your Capable Retriever – A Waterfowl Hunter’s Best Friend

Your Capable Retriever – A Waterfowl Hunter’s Best Friend

As a seasoned waterfowl hunter you only have to have hunted with a capable retriever dog once that you will never want to be afield without such a trusted animal again. Their desire, willingness to please, instinct and intelligence never stop to amaze. It is a truism that hunters have the major responsibility of doing everything possible to retrieve downed game birds. It can be more than said and emphasized that using a retriever dog is the best and most effective method for doing this.

It can be said that volumes about and legends have been written and expounded on the selection, care and training of hunting retrievers. What are the basic considerations and indeed are there any rules or guidelines concerning the use of these dogs in waterfowl hunting practices?

First of all it must be said and emphasized that in terms of breed of dog it comes down to personal preference. There is no one “best” breed of water fowling dog. Indeed your personal selection of animal and type of breed may well be based on practical logistics – your home and family situation, the type of dog breeds available to you in your local geographic area, or the breeders that can ship to you. Next to consider in the mix is type of birds and waterfowl and the field conditions that you will expect to face and endure.

It is often stated, and held by hunting and wildlife outdoors experts that good bird dogs are “made not born”. It comes down to the most part on training of the dog, rather than breed or pedigree. The development of a quality hunting dog requires continual and ongoing training as well as reinforcement, almost daily, of continual lessons. It can be said that too many hunters try the “crash course”, similar to cramming before an exam schedule in the very last few weeks, just before the season, as waterfowl hunting season begins to approach. Guess what the results are – frustrated hunters – both of the human being and the four legged canine hunter.

It should be emphasized to always keep your hunting dog in good shape through regular and ongoing exercise routines. It can be said that a dog in good shape can concentrate much better in hunting and retrieval than one that is laboring under the strains of more than rigorous hunting conditions.

It is better to feed your dog, a small breakfast before heading afield. Much like you hunting retrieval dogs can perform better and can perform more of their chores with a full stomach.

Lastly unless you are hunting in or over water, always remember to take extra water for your dog or dogs. Dogs, like any fine animal, can easily become dehydrated when working extra hard and therefore require liquids regularly.

Remember be fair to your dog – some days it will just not “be his day” . Those days when your dog “is just not in the game” and cannot seem to get things just right fight the urge to discipline your dog excessively in the field. Often, the animal is in an unfamiliar situation, has not been trained or just all in all may not be feeling at its best. Remember you want your dog to enjoy hunting. In these cases remember that the two of you will have another outing hunting yet another day in the future.

It can be said that consistency and regularity is everything. Remember to take your dog hunting as often as you possibly can. Expose your dog to as many hunting situations as possible. In terms of hunting dogs and the team of the two of you – your dog and yourself as the hunter – experience is by far the best teacher.

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