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.