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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have a pup, now 5.5 months and she is half black lab and half GSP (and a very adorable chocolate color)
Looking to get a training dummy. Canvas or hard rubber/plastic? White, orange or something else?

Any particular brand over another?

Thanks!

This is an older photo when she was 9 weeks old - she is now 37 pounds and growing
Dog Dog breed Textile Carnivore Comfort
 
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I have a pile of dummies of all sorts. I like the canvas mini ones when they're young, just make sure they don't snag and hurt their sharp pup teeth. No throw rope when they are young to avoid the bad habit of grabbing a bird by anything other than the body

Canvas are great in the winter (in Minnesota) and scent can be applied but they get dirty. Up here in below freezing temps, the plastic ones are so hard they can break teeth. I use the 2' or 3" plastic ones in the summer primarily because you can throw then forever and they clean up easily..

For colors--black/white and white are the most visible. They are great for younger dogs. As the dog learns to use their nose more, orange is better (and you can still see it). So if you want to teach lining, I use white (or black and white) but if I'm trying to throw into thick cover and force them to rely on their nose (or plant dummies), orange is what I use.

Other great dummies are DeadFowl (or ASD brand) real bird looking dummies. The dog love them and of course they mimic birds. Dummy launchers are also a great tool--it teaches the full bird experience and makes them excited for the gun blast (introduce them to gunfire using a starter pistol at a distance as you feed them first--then get closer till they associate the sound with something exciting).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome info, thanks! Coming when called and basic short retrieves are the order of the day - she has a stubbirn streak like her haf lab/half Ridgeback big sister
 

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MNGunner pretty much nailed it dead nuts.

When I need something from Gundog supply I will always add in some more bumpers. Steve and his wife have provided fantastic service to me over the years especially on the electronic collars. I use an Alpha on the Tollers even though they are flushers. I will not put a dog on the ground without one now, but I hunt in wolf country.

Anytime I make a trip to Scheels for something I can't leave the store without picking up a few more bumpers. Almost exactly a year ago and got a flat tire going into town. But feel guilty if I walk out without some bumpers for the dogs. Even though they really aren't that great or last very long.

 

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MNGunner pretty much nailed it dead nuts.

When I need something from Gundog supply I will always add in some more bumpers. Steve and his wife have provided fantastic service to me over the years especially on the electronic collars. I use an Alpha on the Tollers even though they are flushers. I will not put a dog on the ground without one now, but I hunt in wolf country.

Anytime I make a trip to Scheels for something I can't leave the store without picking up a few more bumpers. Almost exactly a year ago and got a flat tire going into town. But feel guilty if I walk out without some bumpers for the dogs. Even though they really aren't that great or last very long.

I don't have stock in Giun Dog supply, but I should given how much money I spend there!! I highly recommend GDS--they have all sorts of dummies in just about every configuration.

Cold Iron, you probably caught this story in Minnesota with wolves and a grouse hunter:


I can't find the pone in WI I was thinking of either, but see this:

 

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Awesome info, thanks! Coming when called and basic short retrieves are the order of the day - she has a stubbirn streak like her haf lab/half Ridgeback big sister
You're making want to get a a third dog! I am about due for a new pup. There is nothing like a well trained dog that YOU trained that flushes a bird, you hit it with one shot, they mark the bird and proudly strut bringing it back to you!

Gun Dog Supply has some great mini and mid sized canvas dummies. The minis are really small, so your girl might have already outgrown them. I use the minis the instant I bring home a 7-8 week old pup. I usually start in a hallway so that the pup has to go out and can only come straight back to you. Always keep the sessions short so that they end wanting more! Tons of praise to build confidence and excitement.

Another thing is I only ever throw dummies for my dogs to retrieve--no sticks or tennis balls etc. The dummy should have a special place in the dogs mind--it means both fun but also business as they get older.

Let us know how she's doing
 

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Fabarms L4s Initial Hunter Compact
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You're making want to get a a third dog! I am about due for a new pup. There is nothing like a well trained dog that YOU trained that flushes a bird, you hit it with one shot, they mark the bird and proudly strut bringing it back to you!

Gun Dog Supply has some great mini and mid sized canvas dummies. The minis are really small, so your girl might have already outgrown them. I use the minis the instant I bring home a 7-8 week old pup. I usually start in a hallway so that the pup has to go out and can only come straight back to you. Always keep the sessions short so that they end wanting more! Tons of praise to build confidence and excitement.

Another thing is I only ever throw dummies for my dogs to retrieve--no sticks or tennis balls etc. The dummy should have a special place in the dogs mind--it means both fun but also business as they get older.

Let us know how she's doing
I'm sure no expert but in my very limited experience-
  • No sticks. My dog can play 'tug', but ONLY with his rope toy. My wife knows this. Anything else and the toy must be carried gently and released immediately on command ("release!")
  • Mine LOVES his soft bouncy blue silicone ball that comes with a ball-flinging stick. I can throw that ball what seems like nearly 60 yards and it bounces and skitter... the dog nearly 100% can catch it in the air on the first bounce. That quickness makes him a machine at bringing back cripples and he loves the exercise. Of course he must RELEASE his ball immediately. We drop on the ground but you could train to the hand, of course. But Dog knows it's MAN'S BALL, not his ball. So does the man! (or woman. My wife is onboard with this training, too.)
-Mine was not into retrieving until one day when he was about 7 months old.. suddenly this was all he wanted to do- fetch and retrieve. No need to rush, it will come naturally.
- Once he learned to swim (a bit of a process of going in with him gently several times, letting him learn at his own speed, and then meeting some other Labradors that would jump off the low pier... he just needed to see the big boys doing it and he was all game to go. First efforts were pretty funny, but he learned. Then retrieving the dummy from the water was the best summer time game ever. I've dropped pheasants into water more than a few times and over a creek more than a few times, and Labradors are smart. They love to problem solve and retrieving over a creek is a great game, too.

-Tennis Balls... sometimes we're around untrained dogs that are "Getters and Stealers". In that case, there is another tennis ball in the pocket. Also.. sometimes a ball is lost. Another thing we practice is a well slobbered on tennis ball tossed into the thick grass in summer time to practice "Find It!" A big orange dummy is too easy!

As I said, I'm no pro at this but I do have a pretty amazing dog when it comes to a Flushing Retriever. His weakness is.. it's like murder trying to hold him back when he knows where a bird is. Our solution is to hunt the rough country where that's not an issue. He's 5 now and.. it took 3 1/2 years to get the Puppy in him scaled back! I can't imagine he would be any use at all in a duck blind or boat- he's gonna bring back the decoys no matter what.
 

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I can't imagine he would be any use at all in a duck blind or boat- he's gonna bring back the decoys no matter what.
I know you don't duck hunt with your dog but thought I'd throw this out there for those that do. After your dog loves to retrieve, set up a bunch of decoys in the field and want him through them on a leash with a choke chain. Let him smell the decoys but if he tries to mouth them, jerk the choke chain and say "leave it!" Do this several times. Then throw the same dummies you've been using (again this is an example of why I ONLY use dummies to retrieve!!) in the midst of the decoys--all on land in the field. Doi this drill quite a bit. My dogs have never touched a decoy during this

Next place anchored decoys with enough room to swim in a lake or pond and throw water retrieves (AFTER you dog is already very comfortable swimming in water!!) so that on the way out and back, they have to go through the decoys. Do this in an area that preferably does not have weeds or sticks or anything to spook the dog, The first time they hit a decoy line it may panic them so you want to take away anything that could inflict more harm to the process like the decoy getting tangled around them and the weeds.

My labs have retrieved hundreds of ducks and never once touched a decoy with their mouth...
 

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My dog is five, and we are still working on keeping him inside a canoe.
"There is water! I can drink it! Hey, do both sides taste the same? Yes! I can swim in that! MUST SWIM! SWIM!!!!" and it's a squirmy 75 pound dog that wants nothing more than to get in the water.

I don't know how to hunt ducks, although I am starting to see how we might jump mallards from the ground. No way my dog is going to sit still for longer than 30 seconds.. he's all go and no slow.

He's slowing down as he ages, so maybe when he's 8 or nine years old... but then again... our next step is grouse. Ducks are beyond me, I think. Not even talking about geese!
 

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I don't have stock in Giun Dog supply, but I should given how much money I spend there!! I highly recommend GDS--they have all sorts of dummies in just about every configuration.

Cold Iron, you probably caught this story in Minnesota with wolves and a grouse hunter:


I can't find the pone in WI I was thinking of either, but see this:

I know right where the one in Isabella happened. I used to hunt that area for a couple of weeks every year. It is off a 10 mile loop of a NF road.

The antenna for my truck is still someplace down that road.



About 6 years ago moved to Cook County to hunt and have standing reservations at a cabin there for the first 3 weeks of Oct. No shortage of wolves there either, had one cross the Gunflint Trail early one morning and at first my friend and I thought it was a deer. But there are very few deer in that area. Because wolves.

The GPS will occasionally show me a few of my marked spots by Isabella and as the Raven flies only ~18 miles away. But with the Boundary Waters between it is more than a 2 hour drive. The wolves and moose don't have to take the roads but they do often run them.

You're making want to get a a third dog! I am about due for a new pup. There is nothing like a well trained dog that YOU trained that flushes a bird, you hit it with one shot, they mark the bird and proudly strut bringing it back to you!

Gun Dog Supply has some great mini and mid sized canvas dummies. The minis are really small, so your girl might have already outgrown them. I use the minis the instant I bring home a 7-8 week old pup. I usually start in a hallway so that the pup has to go out and can only come straight back to you. Always keep the sessions short so that they end wanting more! Tons of praise to build confidence and excitement.

Another thing is I only ever throw dummies for my dogs to retrieve--no sticks or tennis balls etc. The dummy should have a special place in the dogs mind--it means both fun but also business as they get older.

Let us know how she's doing
If you're looking for a pup this morning just finished AKC registration for a breeding in Duluth that my oldest stud muffin sired and dropped 2 weeks ago.



He asked again if I wanted a pup or stud fee but already have one of his sons who just turned 2. Too soon, I'm still recovering LOL.

Tollers are a handful and can't imagine having 3 but really was torn. Then I came to my senses. But after looking pictures finding the Stony Loop road came across some of the oldest and thought hmmm....

This was very close to where the wolf attack occurred. With my 16 ga. FAIR



Cook County with another FAIR and barrels are twisted the other way



I think his son is going to be even better yet. Couple of months ago, speaking of retrieving.

 

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My dog is five, and we are still working on keeping him inside a canoe.
"There is water! I can drink it! Hey, do both sides taste the same? Yes! I can swim in that! MUST SWIM! SWIM!!!!" and it's a squirmy 75 pound dog that wants nothing more than to get in the water.

I don't know how to hunt ducks, although I am starting to see how we might jump mallards from the ground. No way my dog is going to sit still for longer than 30 seconds.. he's all go and no slow.

He's slowing down as he ages, so maybe when he's 8 or nine years old... but then again... our next step is grouse. Ducks are beyond me, I think. Not even talking about geese!
It's something called obedience that you need to instill in your dog so it becomes a responsible passenger in a boat, canoe, kayak, truck, car, etc. I learned that decades ago with my first labs then the various pointing dogs, including setters and Pointers, as well as mutts that came along later. Teach the dog to sit or lay down properly - that they do so until YOU release them from the command, and not when they want to release themselves. It works in many other situations too, besides riding in a conveyance of some sort. It is really a simple and basic step in the obedience continuum.
 

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It's something called obedience that you need to instill in your dog so it becomes a responsible passenger in a boat, canoe, kayak, truck, car, etc. I learned that decades ago with my first labs then the various pointing dogs, including setters and Pointers, as well as mutts that came along later. Teach the dog to sit or lay down properly - that they do so until YOU release them from the command, and not when they want to release themselves. It works in many other situations too, besides riding in a conveyance of some sort. It is really a simple and basic step in the obedience continuum.
Place. My guys are on a place board by 6 months. Or small rug in the house which is their place.

Even though I have trained and been owned by a lot of dogs over the years I still take them to puppy classes then obedience classes. Even gone to Rally after obedience I and II with one dog, he loved it. I've always learned and picked up something in every class I have attended. Dogs and people are never too old to learn something new.

Over the last half dozen years or so they have started teaching Place as an obedience command. My first thought when they started teaching it was how cool is that?! That right there is a hunting dog command, I don't care who you are.
 

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It's something called obedience that you need to instill in your dog so it becomes a responsible passenger in a boat, canoe, kayak, truck, car, etc. I learned that decades ago with my first labs then the various pointing dogs, including setters and Pointers, as well as mutts that came along later. Teach the dog to sit or lay down properly - that they do so until YOU release them from the command, and not when they want to release themselves. It works in many other situations too, besides riding in a conveyance of some sort. It is really a simple and basic step in the obedience continuum.
That sounds great, and maybe the best trainer can train a pit bull to retrieve pheasants, but I could not. I believe some dogs have natural talents and natural proclivities. This Labrador- he has an overpowering desire to go in the water. Yeah, he's got a solid "stay." and "place". Just not in the close presence of a pheasant or a chance to go swimming. We're good with that. It's a partnership.

It didn't take much to train him to have no interest in rabbits or squirrels, but I sure don't want to spoil his desire to swim. that's a skill we use as we hunt creek beds and he's swum across the creek quite a few times to complete a retrieve, and a couple times to pheasants that went ker-plunk! And he is a murder-missle in insane brush after his bird, I don't want to lose that.
 

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Place. My guys are on a place board by 6 months. Or small rug in the house which is their place.

Even though I have trained and been owned by a lot of dogs over the years I still take them to puppy classes then obedience classes. Even gone to Rally after obedience I and II with one dog, he loved it. I've always learned and picked up something in every class I have attended. Dogs and people are never too old to learn something new.

Over the last half dozen years or so they have started teaching Place as an obedience command. My first thought when they started teaching it was how cool is that?! That right there is a hunting dog command, I don't care who you are.
My wife was using "Place" with her Schutzhunds when I met her 30 years ago but she morphed it into remaining in place however the dog wished. It could stand, sit, lay down or any combination as long as it stayed there. She started with the dog going to a particular spot but it would get confused if in a different location. It was hard for the dog to jump onto its Ottoman in the corner when they were at a hotel 1000 miles away.

I have no need for"Place" (or "Stay" for that matter) as I train my dogs to hold Whoa/Sit/Lay Down until released. It is always a bit humorous to see a newer handler add "Stay" to a command where it should not be needed. The chagrined look on their face when it is pointed out to them is priceless as it is the reflection of how we looked when the same realization dawned on us. The retriever people I do water work with are far less gentle in this but they are thicker skinned at least. They are a great group but a far less genteel than the pointer crowd.

My wife takes all our puppies to the various obedience classes. I think it is to see the other puppies and kibitz with the owners but I like it as the pups get even more socialization with other pups, people, and places as well as riding in the car. That really helps in the prevention of car sickness. The only thing if don't like about it is the increased potential of disease but that is what vaccines are for and a little luck I guess. Of dozens of dogs over the years, I've only had one catch a form of kennel cough that is not covered by the vaccine. Fortunately, it was a mild case and responded well to treatment. And the other dogs did not come down with it either. That is where the luck part came in.


A well trained dog is a pleasure to hunt over/with and there a lot of ways to get there. It's why I train with various clubs and people as you are correct, learning never ends.
 

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That sounds great, and maybe the best trainer can train a pit bull to retrieve pheasants, but I could not. I believe some dogs have natural talents and natural proclivities. This Labrador- he has an overpowering desire to go in the water. Yeah, he's got a solid "stay." and "place". Just not in the close presence of a pheasant or a chance to go swimming. We're good with that. It's a partnership.

It didn't take much to train him to have no interest in rabbits or squirrels, but I sure don't want to spoil his desire to swim. that's a skill we use as we hunt creek beds and he's swum across the creek quite a few times to complete a retrieve, and a couple times to pheasants that went ker-plunk! And he is a murder-missle in insane brush after his bird, I don't want to lose that.
That you are satisfied is all that matters but, for future reference and for those who read this and wish to correct this trait, it is not difficult. Unless one takes a 2x4 and beats the dog into submission it will not decrease its drive in any way. If anything, it may increase it. All one needs is a bit of thought to devise a plan, persevere through the ups and downs, and have the patience to see it through. When finished one can have a dog that is a pleasure to take into a boat or will stay at one's side when sneaking up on some ducks or will wait for you to catch up when it gets out of range on a runner.
 

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Sigh. Well... this is a new thing for ME to learn. I am on it, soon as the water gets warm enough for ME to get all wet!
 

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Sorry, I forgot to mention anything about bumpers.

I use or have used anything commercially available along with frozen birds, homemade bucks, balls of various sizes, and whatever else strikes my fancy. My favorites are the Dead Fowl goose dummies (the dogs really strut when bringing them back), canvas bumpers in various sizes, both canvas and plastic dummies for the launcher (plastic launches further so it takes fewer to wear the dogs out), and a larger than normal tennis ball I use to teach running a line. These latter fit better in the bird launchers which toss them higher than canvas bumpers giving the dogs a better visual cue.

I don't use frozen birds very often but I do use them as I run my dogs in hunt tests. The birds used can get pretty ragged and some dogs will be reluctant and sometimes even refuse to bring back a bird that may be rather bedraggled. One might be able to contest the bird and get a second try but I do not trust my luck.
 

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I've got a gym bag full of dummies a couple of hand launchers for walks along the shore among other things. I prefer canvas but have a bit of everything and size. I actually washed shot bags put a pill bottle of spent primers in then stuffed them with cheap pillow fiber and zipp tied em shut. they're great for ladder drills,T's and blinds. Use vanilla extract for scent. My current pooch is a Lab/wirehair cross. I've always had very well bred AKC labs,setters and one wirehairs as waterfowl and or upland dogs. This guy has turned out to be the best of the bunch.
Dog Vertebrate Carnivore Mammal Wood
 

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Sigh. Well... this is a new thing for ME to learn. I am on it, soon as the water gets warm enough for ME to get all wet!
Why wait?

Start with a kids sled on the driveway, parking lot, or other solid surface. Or you can use a training table which will get the dog used to being off the ground. That is the crucial step. Have the dog step in and then command it to sit, lay down, or whatever you want it to do. Make it remain for a few seconds at first then work up in time. When it is doing this well, move the sled into the yard or where there is a smooth surface of snow. Less than knee deep is preferred and I like a couple inches over the ankle as it gives some instability but not too much and it doesn't slip over the boot tops and get my feet wet and cold.

Have the dog hop into the sled. It will probably want to jump out as the sled will tilt due to the snow but rightened the sled and keep trying. You may have to grab the collar to help steady the dog but keep at it until he realizes he won't get hurt and doing so makes you happy. The first time he doesn't immediately try jumping out is a good time to stop for the first attempt. As he becomes comfortable jumping in and out of the sled, extend the relit ions and duration of being in the sled.

When this becomes easy for the dog, go back to the hard surface and add in moving the sled. This will require two people with the puller being able to start the sled moving without tugging.Go slow and work up from small successes. A buddy uses aRadio Flyer wagon but I haven't found one cheap enough yet.

After the dog is comfortable with a moving sled, go back and use your canoe on land. This should go quick as it isn't much different than what has already happened. I might even skip the sled for the canoe but they can be harder to move on snow as pulling them on a hard surface can damage them.

Before moving to open water you will need to get the dog under your control. That is basic obedience. Put him on a lead, put him on heel, and walk him toward the water. I'm betting the dog will break for a frozen lake but, if not, wait until there is some open water. When he breaks, draw him up short and make him. Hold his head up with the lead or by the collar and push his butt down with the other hand if necessary. When he is sitting, praise him, release him, put him at heel, and walk away. Repeat until he gets to the point he sits when commanded. This may take a while as he has had 5 years of being the boss. You will have to undo that and instill that you are the boss which is a lot harder with an adult dog.

When he sits reliably, walk closer to the water and repeat whenever he be begins to break. Don't let him in the water until he remains on heel and sits at the water's edge. When he does this correctly, take him off lead, release him from sit, and let him swim. I personally would work on the dog sitting on the edge off leash until released but it's your call.

At this point you can introduce the canoe in the water. Stay in the shallows where it is easier to control. Have the dog jump in and out of the canoe as well as sitting or laying down. Tow the dog and canoe in the shallows in the shallows until the dog is comfortable staying in the canoe. Then hop in and do short jaunts with the dog building up in time.

I did this with a 3+ year old Pointer and he became my best boating companion. It took about 2 months of 1x week day, twice weekend sessions to get to that point with most of the time being taken up with obedience and adjusting to moving/unstable situations. Getting sedan of a floating boat was a couple sessions.
 
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