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Does Your Hunting Dog Fish?

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June 12, 2009

Does Your Hunting Dog Fish?

By David DiBenedetto

I was a fisherman long before I became a hunter. And I still spend a large majority of my free time in a boat on the coastal waters. No surprise that when I was a kid my first pooch was a yellow Lab named Salty Dog. We spent our summers in a jonboat exploring the waterways around Savannah, Georgia. And that’s exactly what I want out of Pritchard. I want her to be as comfortable in a boat as she is in field.

That’s one of the reasons I chose a Boykin spaniel. Besides their love of water, their smaller size makes them a perfect companion for my center console boat—not to mention the duck boats we’ll be in this winter. There’s only one slight problem: whenever Pritch is in the boat she wants to jump out of it. Not in the get-me-off-this-thing sense, but more like “Please let me go for a swim! Now!”

So, I’m working on breaking that habit, and I take her out whenever I’m sure it won’t be too rough. At first I backed off barking too many commands as I wanted her to become totally comfortable, but we’re now working on better control in the boat. If you have any advice or just some good dog-boat stories I’m all ears.

And one other thing, it feels damn good to have a dog in the boat again.

Comments (16)

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from Levi Banks wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

My dog jumped off the boat as a pup, and was scared of swimming for a while after that. Now she can't decide if she wants in or out of the boat because she loves to be in on the fishing action. She doesn't care much for the fish in my hand, but coming in and if/when I throw it back she wants to retrieve it for me. She's been hooked once or twice because she went after the lure and she has cut her pad on a hook or a rock, so keep a close eye on your dog.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

My boxer tries to catch the fish she sees in shallow water. It's funny to watch. Good comment by Levi about keeping an eye on your dog when fishing--I've come pretty close to hooking Roxy several times.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Grandkids do it all the time, check out my pics!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pinopolis wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

we keep our pup leashed to the center console. the lead is long enough that she can walk around, but short enough that she can't go swimming. generally we keep her leashed when fishing (nothing like a belly flopping dog to spook the fish!) or if the water's rough, and let her swim when lines are out of the water.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Clay, I checked out those pics you mentioned. Funny stuff.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

My lab loves to fish, though he has ruined holes in his excitement on many occassions, as he cannot keep from jumping in after a hooked or released fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Glock loves chasing humpies. I keep him under control most of the time. He fetches humpies I'm trying to release. I have no trouble keeping him from messing with the silvers on the stringer. When we bass fish he is allowed to lick the fish before they go back into the water. He loves it. The first few trips are tough because they are having so much fun. By the end of the first year good dogs are totally under control.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Dave DiBenedetto

If I can figure how to upload a video of my Grandkids Dog Fishing it would really be a hoot! Of course watching one dive down to retrieve a fish would really be something!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nrrab wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Here's a sure fire way to train your boykin to stay right under your feet while on the boat. Turn it over -- not once, not twice, but three times should do the trick. We did and Apollo now is calm, still and under foot anytime we are on the water. He still likes to swim, but if we are moving, he is not.

Another tip -- secure all valuables before trying this.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

My old dog a viszla had a way of being an escape artist so one day were down at the lake fishing and we think we see a deer on the shore. Low and behold our brown dog came wading out and first tried to grab the baits then proceeded to get inside the boat and nearly tipping it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

P.S if there's any way you could post about ways to help train your dog to start swimming it would be quite helpful seeing as my little chocolate doesn't quite get it yet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

muskiemaster, I'm working on a post about the basics of teaching pup to swim. Look for it in the next few days. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Like they say, Man's best friend... there's a reason why, you can take him hunting, fishing, and just hang out all day. That is one hell of a best friend.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from psedlar wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

That is how my boykin started to swim. Jumped off of the bow of my 1548 Grizzly. I retrevied him by the time he was at the stern. I thought this might scare him from swimming but it didn't. Like I posted in the new blog he loves to swim!! I don't think much will scare him he is just so confidant. I just hope he can handle the cold waters of Colorado.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

I have a very old Boykin male that we found in a parking lot. He has been here with us for about 9 years now. When people come over the house to fish Jo-Jo goes down to the pond with them. He will sit on the bank and watch corks while people are fishing. When the cork goes under he will turn and look at you as if to say " are you going to pull in that fish or not"

We have a group of older ladies that come fishing very often and Jo-Jo meets them on the damn and will stay there as long as they want to fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Having just spent two days on the river with my dog, I can now report, sadly, that no, she is not a fishing dog. I would say, though, that to train a dog to fish has to have positive reciprocal benefit on the hunting side. KD

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Levi Banks wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

My dog jumped off the boat as a pup, and was scared of swimming for a while after that. Now she can't decide if she wants in or out of the boat because she loves to be in on the fishing action. She doesn't care much for the fish in my hand, but coming in and if/when I throw it back she wants to retrieve it for me. She's been hooked once or twice because she went after the lure and she has cut her pad on a hook or a rock, so keep a close eye on your dog.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from seadog wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

My boxer tries to catch the fish she sees in shallow water. It's funny to watch. Good comment by Levi about keeping an eye on your dog when fishing--I've come pretty close to hooking Roxy several times.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Grandkids do it all the time, check out my pics!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pinopolis wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

we keep our pup leashed to the center console. the lead is long enough that she can walk around, but short enough that she can't go swimming. generally we keep her leashed when fishing (nothing like a belly flopping dog to spook the fish!) or if the water's rough, and let her swim when lines are out of the water.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Clay, I checked out those pics you mentioned. Funny stuff.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

My lab loves to fish, though he has ruined holes in his excitement on many occassions, as he cannot keep from jumping in after a hooked or released fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Glock loves chasing humpies. I keep him under control most of the time. He fetches humpies I'm trying to release. I have no trouble keeping him from messing with the silvers on the stringer. When we bass fish he is allowed to lick the fish before they go back into the water. He loves it. The first few trips are tough because they are having so much fun. By the end of the first year good dogs are totally under control.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Dave DiBenedetto

If I can figure how to upload a video of my Grandkids Dog Fishing it would really be a hoot! Of course watching one dive down to retrieve a fish would really be something!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nrrab wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Here's a sure fire way to train your boykin to stay right under your feet while on the boat. Turn it over -- not once, not twice, but three times should do the trick. We did and Apollo now is calm, still and under foot anytime we are on the water. He still likes to swim, but if we are moving, he is not.

Another tip -- secure all valuables before trying this.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

My old dog a viszla had a way of being an escape artist so one day were down at the lake fishing and we think we see a deer on the shore. Low and behold our brown dog came wading out and first tried to grab the baits then proceeded to get inside the boat and nearly tipping it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

P.S if there's any way you could post about ways to help train your dog to start swimming it would be quite helpful seeing as my little chocolate doesn't quite get it yet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

muskiemaster, I'm working on a post about the basics of teaching pup to swim. Look for it in the next few days. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Like they say, Man's best friend... there's a reason why, you can take him hunting, fishing, and just hang out all day. That is one hell of a best friend.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from psedlar wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

That is how my boykin started to swim. Jumped off of the bow of my 1548 Grizzly. I retrevied him by the time he was at the stern. I thought this might scare him from swimming but it didn't. Like I posted in the new blog he loves to swim!! I don't think much will scare him he is just so confidant. I just hope he can handle the cold waters of Colorado.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

I have a very old Boykin male that we found in a parking lot. He has been here with us for about 9 years now. When people come over the house to fish Jo-Jo goes down to the pond with them. He will sit on the bank and watch corks while people are fishing. When the cork goes under he will turn and look at you as if to say " are you going to pull in that fish or not"

We have a group of older ladies that come fishing very often and Jo-Jo meets them on the damn and will stay there as long as they want to fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Having just spent two days on the river with my dog, I can now report, sadly, that no, she is not a fishing dog. I would say, though, that to train a dog to fish has to have positive reciprocal benefit on the hunting side. KD

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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