Springer Spaniel Lab mix puppies
Research the different breeds of water dogs. There are many dogs suitable for hunting waterfowl. Some of the most popular are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Springer Spaniels. Look into the different breeds and decide which one is best for you and your hunting adventures. You should also be mindful of the amount of care a particular breed will need. Some dogs require a lot of room to run, for example, while others are more sedentary. Choose a dog that you can provide a good home for.
Pick out a puppy. Although there are many adult dogs that are trained to hunt waterfowl, it is generally best to train your own puppy. Not only will a puppy allow you the time to train the dog for your hunting style, starting with a puppy will also ensure a loyal dog that is bonded and conditioned to its owner. Make sure you use a reputable breeder; you can research breeders online or at your local dog or hunting clubs. Animal shelters and animal controls often have lab and retriever mix puppies that are in danger of being put to sleep. Many mixes can be trained to retrieve ducks if proper time is spent training them. Ask a shelter if you can foster retriever mix puppies and find one that has a natural instinct to retrieve and likes water! Many times if dogs do not have a natural instinct you can help find them a home and work with a different puppy!
Introduce the puppy to water when they are little. Instill the idea that water is good, water is fun, and playing in water is a way to earn rewards and other positive reinforcement. You can start in a small wading pool at first, and in no time your dog will be ready for the open water.
Teach your dog to sit and stay. Although these are basic and cliché dog commands, they serve as the foundational commands for more complex hunting demands. Use food as a way to teach sitting. Hold food over the dog’s head. Give the command to sit while simultaneously pressing gently on the dog’s hind legs. As soon as the dog sits give it a treat. Repeat this over and over. Soon your dog will sit at the first glance of a treat. Eventually, he or she will sit without requiring a treat.
Introduce your dog to decoys and to the scent of waterfowl. It is important that your dog quickly understand the difference between a real duck and a decoy. You can utilize waterfowl scent and dummies to train your dog. Be sure to set decoys far away from the dog before throwing the dummy so they are able to find out where the dummy is and knows the difference between a real bird and a decoy.
Practice daily, if possible. Make waterfowl training a fun, rewarding experience for your dog.
Reinforce positive behavior with positive rewards. When you attach a scent to a decoy or training device, throw it in the water, and see your dog fetch the trainer and return it to you, make sure to let your dog know what a good job it has done. There is nothing a dog wants more than to please its owner, and to establish a lifelong hunting partnership it is important to let your dog know from a young age that retrieving game is something he or she will be rewarded for.