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Training a Dog for Duck Hunting

by NOMAD Outdoor January 27, 2016

A good duck hunting dog is one of the most entertaining aspects of waterfowl hunting.

Seeing a retriever track a downed duck, leap out of the blind, and gracefully cruise through the water makes even the hardest soul a little softer. Through training, patience, and persistence, you and your dog function as a team, creating a wonderful experience.

If you are training a dog for duck hunting, consider these important tips. They won’t complete the process, but they’ll give you the foundation for a dog that is ready to become a champion retriever.

Focus on Basic Obedience First

Before you can start molding your pup into a world-class retriever, you need a foundation of basic commands that all good dogs should know. Start with teaching the dog to come at your call, then work your way into other fundamentals like sit and stay. When your pup knows these commands, they’re ready for the next step of training.

Introduce Them to Water from a Young Age

Even the most water-prone dogs, like Labradors and golden retrievers, can become hydrophobic if they’re not introduced to water at a young age. You can start by putting their paws in small bowls of water, move to kiddie pools, and eventually have them swimming on ponds, lakes, and rivers. Once they know that water is safe and fun, they will be well equipped for a full day of retrieving ducks.

Expose Them To Guns Early On

Like water, guns should be introduced to your dog at a young age, but you can probably wait a little longer for this one. You should start by introducing loud noises to your dog and letting your dog see a gun. One mistake that the experts caution against is shooting a loud gun the first time your dog sees one. Instead, let them see shotguns or even a BB gun so they become comfortable in the presence of firearms. Then slowly introduce loud noises, culminating in a shotgun fire.

Whatever you do, never take your dog to a gun range. This creates an inconvenience for other target shooters and a serious risk of accident or hearing damage for your dog.

Take Them on a Boat Ride

Another manmade item that your dog will need to be familiar with is boats. Don’t wait until your first day of hunting to toss them in your flat-bottom. Instead, take a stroll with the dog and let him experience riding in a boat, sitting on the deck, and jumping in and out on your command.

Use Scented Training Dummies

You need your dog to understand the scent and feel of waterfowl, and any toy that emulates this stimulation will help. Train your dog to fetch and retrieve with a scented training dummy so they come to associate the activity with these senses.

While dogs love bones, food, and play, their greatest pleasure comes from pleasing their owners. Reward your dog with positive reinforcement when they bring back the training dummy and you’ve created the basic foundation for a great duck dog.

Top-Quality Layered Hunting Apparel

When you want layered hunting apparel that is comfortable, warm, and effective, you need NOMAD gear. You can get excellent pants, jackets, and base layers, all designed to give you an advantage in the treestand and become a better hunter.




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