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Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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Every spaniel must be taught how to work into, around, out and through decoys to retrieve downed ducks. This can become very frustrating to you if your spaniel has developed a fetish to retrieving your decoys instead of a crippled duck. The hazards are very high that your dog could get caught up in the anchor lines that hold your ducks in place.

Even as the weather starts to get colder a spaniel can remain comfortable in the duck blind if proper care is taken.
Photo by: R. Michael DiLullo
Teaching your spaniel to build a memory and handle multiple birds down should be another consideration to add to your list. It is not uncommon to have more than one duck down at a time. Spaniels should be trained to mark and accomplish double retrieves at a minimum. This will ensure that all ducks shot in your spaniel’s view will be retrieved successfully. This is a form of training that will develop your spaniel’s memory for fallen makes (birds).

Teaching your dog to work a simple blind retrieve is another minimum training requirement. He must at least have the training to enter the water because he has been told to and swim a straight line out into the water, holding that line until he has located a downed duck that he did not see fall. An additional option here is to have your spaniel trainer handle. This is the ultimate in working a blind retrieve. You really have not seen great dog work until you see a well-trained spaniel that will stop, tread water and take a hand direction to an unknown fallen bird. Spaniels trained to this level can handle almost any type of hunting scenario that will unfold for the small game hunter. However, this type of training takes quite some time to teach. Those who have chosen this ultimate level of training feel it was well worth the investment.

These are some of the basics training techniques that you should discuss with your professional when you bring your spaniel in for waterfowl training. In my future columns we will get into the technical way of “how to” teach these and many other concepts to our spaniels.
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