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tealitup

Water Dog

38 posts in this topic

Ok I just got into the office and was so proud of my lil 9 week puppy. We went to the St. Croix river last night - no one else out there.

Walking on the beach I picked up a rock and threw it in the water. She ran to the edge of the water, up to her legs. Whinned and cried. I then threw in a stick and BLAM right into the water. Legs smacking the water - then learned to swim - went to get the stick and brought it back to me.

First time to the water and she went right in... can I ask for better? I was so proud and no one to show off to smile.gif Told my wife and she just said.. thats nice honey.

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Sounds like the start to a great dog!

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It took me a week or two to get my dog to swim now i cant keep him out. My dog was naturally retrieving at 7 weeks in fact thats why i picked him. Sound like your getting him started out right. Mine is 19 months or so and i have been working on getting him to jump out of the boat and retrieve dummys out in 2 foot swells. He will do it but he whines like its the end of the world. Dogs are so much fun and the rewards from the hard work and training definately pay off. Duck hunting is only 3 weeks away cant wait to get mine out.

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Too bad hunting is only 3 weeks out. My lil girl will have to sit this year out - just too young I think. Don't want to scare her and scar her for life. So I'll have to bring some ducks back for her to play with.

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You do have to use some caution with young dogs and duck hunting. My dog's first season was without issue in the pheasant fields, but cram him in a duck blind with 3 guys and guns being emptied. He was not a fan. He did not get overly frightened, but I could clearly see he was stressed. I had the hunting party drop us off on shore and allowed them to continue their hunt. I kept him away from the duck blind for the remainder of that duck season. I may have been able to hunt ducks solo with him that year, but I was not crazy about hunting ducks solo.

If you think about it, great duck hunting action can be very intense. I bit much for some pups.

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What do you guys think about....

If I take my puppy to the duck blind with 2 hunting partners. Set up everything and then her and I leave a couple hundred yards away so she can watch the action and hear the shots but its not up front and close to her.

I would be happy with that and watching my friends shoot birds; knowing I am setting her up for a lifetime of great hunting.

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Me personally? Nope. If my math is correct she will only be 12 weeks old. It isn't so much the not being able to handle the commotion of duck hunting from a hundred yards away... it's just that she will last about 5 minutes as far as sitting there goes. Those young pups have no attention span and you don't want to make it a sour situation where she needs to sit at waters edge trying to decipher what it is she's there for. The only excitment she will get will be the set-up time and possibly a shot or two, but she won't be able to lock into ducks working the dekes from that range, without any knowledge of why she is out there.

You would gain as much doing all that in your yard without frustrating her (or you) by being out in the slough for a whole afternoon. Set up a canoe in the yard and you and a couple buddys throw out decoys and make a lot of commotion while setting up, blow on the calls a little and even throw out a frozen pigeon or 2... it's all the same process and this will be setting her up for her role in the future.

Now if you have a cabin or live a short distance from where you are duck hunting and after a half hour to an hour or so you can take her there... then by all means begin exposing her. You just don't want to end up making it a negative experience.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Labs, thank you for your advice; I find your knowledge very helpful.

The place I am hunting is only about 5 minutes from my in-laws house. And the opening of duck hunting is not until 9am. (on private land). I am thinking about bringing her there in the morning, setting up and then taking her back to my in-laws.

I have been shooting a starters pistol when we play "fetch" and the noise does not seem to bother her, but I am unwilling to take the chance for a shotgun at this point.

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Quote:

but I am unwilling to take the chance for a shotgun at this point.


Good choice! At 12 weeks (if Labs math is correct! wink.gif ) you have had this dog for about 1 month? IMO no way do you want to have her in a blind with a bunch gunfire and stuff going on. Especially if the dog has never had shotguns fired over it.

Taking the pup out to a blind to set up may be fine and a good experience if it works out for the pup and you can keep track of him while getting everything setup...... but as Labs said for hunting you can do just as much in your yard with a pup this young.

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You might consider my comments "piling on" but these guys are dead on right. Do NOT take that little guy out there at this stage of his life. Plenty of time for that. It is probably easy to fall into the trap of pushing a young dog too soon-I see it all the time and read instances here in the Forums. Ten and 15 WEEK old puppies are PUPPES fer cyrin' out loud-they have no understanding of what's going on around them. Go slow. Go gently.

That is all. Carry on. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. grin.gif

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I did not even catch that your pup is that young. That would be way too young in my opinion. My dog was close to 9 months old when he had his first exposure to full fledged duck hunting. It probably did not help that this was in ND on private land that was full of ducks. The shooting started immediately and was almost constant for 5-10 minutes. It was too much too fast even at almost 9 months (for my dog). I backed off and he now loves duck hunting. He had even had considerable gun exposure, but you never really replicate the shooting associated with incredible duck hunting during training. At least I had not.

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Guys, I am not talking about shooting around my dog. I am only thinking of bringing her out to the field during set up.

Meaning, I would sit with her and my hunting partners would throw out decoys. We hunt from shore with a canoe for retrieval of birds.

My thinking is that she can "watch" what is going on. She loves the water so she could swim a little bit - throw the dummy out for fun - maybe now associate the starters pistol with fetching in the water.

I am not taking any chances with her. I will not shoot, or let anyone shoot, around her. Just looking to get the experience with her.

Last night, we went out to the yard and put the boat out. Threw the dummy out - shot the starters pistol and she would fetch back. Course I had to make a ramp for her, and the neighbors looked at me strange - but it was alot of fun.

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Perfect!!!

Now add in throwing out some dekes and get her used to finding the bumper in the decoys instead of picking up one of them.

You think your neighbors think your strange now... wait till they see you throwing out duck decoys in the middle of your yard!

Good Luck!

Ken

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One thing to add with the decoys in the water and introducing the pup to them.....make sure you have short lines on the decoys so the dog does not get tangled or caught up in them.

I did not do much intro to decoys in water (rookie mistake) and I had long lines on the decoys (not sure what I was thinking).......so on my dogs first duck retrieve of his life he got caught on a decoy line and the decoy started following him and came up and tapped him on the rear end. He wasn't to fond of the that duck attacking him and tried to swim away fast with no luck!!! The next few retrieves he has his eye on the decoys he was swimming by.....luckily no harm was done!! shocked.gif

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I do all my decoy intro on dry land... One less thing to worry about. In fact, I do all my duck hunting intro. on dry land...

Good Luck!

Ken

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As did I, but that did not stop that decoy from nipping my pup in the rear in the water. LOL

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I would not bring a dog that young into a canoe with people shooting but since you are so close to your In laws and it doesnt have issues with the starter pistol I dont think it would hurt to keep her a hundred yards away or more. If she is too much to handle you can always bring her back. I wouldnt plan on shooting yourself but the earlier the exposure the better in my opinion. My dog was about the same age when i started shooting around him. I started out with a 22 with him about 100 yards away my brother slowly brought him half way to me and then he let him go. He ran right up to my while I was shooting. From then on I moved up to a shot gun the same day and he didnt have any issues. I had him out in the blind at 5 months. I concentrated on occupying the dog more then shooting at ducks. Definately try hunt with her later in the season. If you could get a freshly killed bird to play some fetch and hide an seek in the area she will be hunting it would definately give her an advantage.

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I also do my duck hunting prep on dry land. Get the boat or something similiar to the blind you plan to hunt out of, throw out some decoys, and then begin to train. Work on obedience in the boat, getting in and out of the boat, and running through the decoys to retrieve. You will want to similate the real deal as much as possible without having to worry about tipping over. However, at 12 weeks, you are quite a ways away from even approaching this training step. Right now, your focus should be basic obedience, socialization, limited retrieving, and having the dog experience many different natural sights and sounds in the field.

As far a a 12 week pup - the experience of watching the set up and being in the field is great. I would not have the dog around at 9:00 AM though. That equation could add up to many future problems. If you do your homework, the dog will be ready to go a year from now and you won't regret the wait. If this is your first dog, your waterfowl hunting will never be the same again. They add so much to the experience. Good luck!

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Thanks for the replies. We went out last night to the St. Croix and I threw out her "dummy" while shooting a starters pistol. She did great - I stopped early because she was getting cold, but she wanted to keep going.

Next weekend our plans are to go to an open field with a pot hole and play fetch. Let her run around on the way there and smell the area.(There are no ducks in the pothole.)

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Quote:

There are no ducks in the pothole.


Must be in Minnesota! grin.gif

Good Luck!

Ken

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That it is.

Ok so my actions have been on the crazy lately. At 530 am it was raining extremely hard - so what do I do?

Get on the duck hunting clothes and play fetch with my dog. Dont know who had more fun though.

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Perfect! A dog exposed to all elements of hunting at a young age, will be more adept to put it all together when the time comes. You are on the right track! It's a hoot watching the little ones come along isn't it?!

Good Luck!

Ken

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Oh, it has been a ball to watch her grow and learn.

My wife has a new way to wake me up in the morning. Grab the dog, throw her on the bed with her training dummy. The dog will whine until I get up and play "fetch."

Sitting in my office I just want to go home and train some more. Screw it - I am out of the office as soon as I send this message!

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We have the "stay" command down now! Very exciting. I can throw the dummy and she will stay until I say "Kinsey Get". I can talk to her and have background coversation she will just sit there. Awesome when a plan comes together.

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Just a thought....and it's really up to the owner what commands to use, but for me there is no "Stay" command. You should be able to instruct the dog to "sit" and if it moves it just disobeyed your command to sit and you need to correct the dog.

Sounds like you guys are having fun!!!

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