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schr0563

When is it too cold...

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schr0563

My lab is about 1.5 years old now. This fall he has been joining me in the duck boat and has been learning a lot. With cold weather moving in I'm concerned that I might bring him out on the water when he should be at home where it's warm. So my questions are...

When is it too cold for a dog to be outside for a few hours on end while just sitting in a boat? Should I let him go in the water? Do I need to dry him with a towel each time he gets wet? Do the neoprene dog vests help when it's cold, or do they keep the dog from drying off? Should I just leave the dog at home when duck hunting?

All advice is welcome.

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Hammer Handle

My dog is never in my house. He loves the snow and cold (part black lab, part husky).

I took him to the lake this last weekend (not hunting) and he jumped right in. I figure he is a better guage of when he can or can't go in. He enjoyed it and shown no signs of being cold or shivering.

All dogs are different. Watch your dog closely. If he shivers or shows signs of hesitation...time to call it a year for him.

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gonefishin11

My lab hunts best when its 20 degrees out and its snowing. The dog will be fine.

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311Hemi

Each dog will be different and you will have to watch your dog. I am working through this right now also. My lab is an indoor dog and has a thin coat. I use the vest on him in cooler weather and I dry him off each time he comes out of the water (bring lots of towels).

It's hard for me to tell if he is shivering or if it's just he is anxious....because he shivers in the duck blind when it's 60*-70* also. I know that it is just him being anxious in the warmer weather.

He looked like he was shivering more this weekend when it was windy and snowing, and about 32* so I kept him dry and tried to keep him out of the wind. If there would have been land by us I would have let him run around also.

From what I have read if the dog is shivering non-stop and then stops shivering all together it is a bad sign...unless of course the dog stops shivering because it warms up. A lot of times I think the dog may tell you if it's too cold by just not wanting to work anymore or get in the water......or being all balled up on the floor like it's trying to keep itself warm.

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schr0563

I should have added that this past weekend he made a retrieve and was shivering afterwards. Previous retrieves he didn't do it. It only lasted 10 minutes so I didn't worry. Sounds like I just need to watch him. I'll also plan to try and dry him off a bit after taking the plunge.

Thanks for the feedback.

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trailratedtj

trust me, get him out a few times and see how he likes it. My pup is 9 months and is also a house dog. if i grab anything max-4 he knows whats up, i havent seen him walk outside and even glance back, not even once. granted he's only been on 2 hunts were the temp was below 34 degrees or so. he handled it well, the first time out on a cold hunt he jumped in the water first thing, he didnt the second time. also on the first hunt he shivered a little but he didnt have a vest on and it was his first encounter, still he made 5 good retrieves with the rest of the birds being 100-200 yards sailing cripples. Second cold hunt i had a vest on him, he still shivered but it wasnt from cold, but from axienty and boredom.

I do highly recommend a vest. once you get one on him or her in a cold day you'll see how good they work. i put my hands under my dogs vest serveral times that last cold hunt he went on, it was suprisingly very warm. i actually kept them under a few seconds so it could warm my hands. it helps with their core temp. remember to check his or her face and tail end.

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art321

My German Shorthair breaks ice for me to retrieve ducks. Sure he's probably cold but so am I and it's just for a few hours. I don't push it. I've got a blanket for him in the boat and he wears a vest. If he's cold he sure doesn't care when the next bird goes down. He's in!!!!! I don't think either one of us would have it any other way.

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09ultra

I have heard that shivering is one way the dog actually keeps himself warm any response to this or is it a so called wives tail?

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trailratedtj

its how alot of animals and humans do to stay warm. Its a natural response.

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LovenLifeGuy

My pup had no problems on tuesday morning when the temps were in the teens and winds at 40mph. It was the first time I had to break the frozen water off of him and he didnt seem to mind. I do think all dogs are different and my dog has a thin coat of hair.

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schr0563

It has been a while since I originally posted. After considering what was said on here, I did take the dog along on the day before Thanksgiving. 10 minutes after legal shooting hours down goes a duck and in goes the dog. Unfortunately, the duck dove as the dog approached and only resurfaced when it was 50 yards away. This one was retrieved with the boat. Back in the boat I dried him off the best I could - he was wearing a vest. It didn't take long and he started shivering - I could actually hear his teeth chattering. His fur had icicles all over it. After about the first hour he kept trying to crawl under the seats, blind, gun cases, anything really. I ended up letting him cozy up next to me to try and stay warm. Fortunately the shivering stopped after two hours and we never shot another duck so he never went back into the water.

All of this didn't seem to phase him too much, he wanted to come with the next morning but we left him at home because it was another 10 degrees colder.

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