Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

How Do You Ready a Retriever For Hunting Waterfowl From a Boat?

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

Man's Best Friend
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

July 13, 2011

How Do You Ready a Retriever For Hunting Waterfowl From a Boat?

By Chad Love

OK, all you boat-owning waterfowl doggers: I need some training advice...

I have always been a walk-in duck hunter. In fact, I've never even owned a boat. But two things happened to me recently to help bring some change to my waterfowl hunting techniques.

One, I turned 40, which means I am now officially decrepit and therefore can no longer pack in gear on a walk-in hunt without imminent threat of heart attack. Two, last season I very nearly drowned in, oh, about two feet of water and ice while busting through thick reeds with way too much decoy weight on my back. I had a "You're kidding me? I'm gonna die like this?" moment. I didn't. At least I'm pretty sure I'm still alive. Then I had the obligatory "I'm too old for this, uh, stuff" moment.

It was obvious I needed a boat. The places I normally hunt were simply getting too thick to reach by foot. Not only that, I've really been wanting a boat to take my boys and wife (who's a fishing fiend) out on local lakes. So I started cruising Craigslist and when I found the right boat at the right price, I bought it. It's a 16-foot Carolina Skiff J16 (sort of in pieces at the moment) and I'm hoping it will be perfect for my needs. I'm getting ahead of myself. First, I hope it floats. Once that's been established, then I'm hoping it will be perfect for my needs. I'm not a recreational boater. I just wanted a good, stable, basic boat for fishing and hunting, and I think I got it.

But here's the deal: I've duck hunted out of boats, but always as a guest and never with my own dog. Tess has never been in a boat, so we've got a little "get-used-to-the-boat" and "learn-to-use-the-dog-ladder" training to do before October rolls around. This is just as much a learning experience for me as it is for her. Do you have any tips or tricks for getting a retriever used to launching off and getting back into a boat? Anything to watch out for (like the dog jumping out of the boat at full-throttle)?

Comments (7)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Buck Stewart wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Warning: B.O.A.T. = Break Out Another Thousand !!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Dont all stand on the same side of the boat that he jumps off. If you do you better have a bucket with you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

If your dog obeys you on foot, he will obey in the boat. You know what tempts him, give a command before he is tempted. Glock fishes and hunts with me all the time. Sorry about your age. It doesn't get any better. I'm a canoe man myself. I dread the day when I can't paddle the canoe with the decoys and dog and stuff into the wind and snow.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

How bout a proper boat not just a pram??
I found what im gonna get.. suvi 440 is the perfect size and unsinkable..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLp1pdAuk3M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O8o6DD2Wqw&feature=player_embedded#at=15

And it only weighs 102 kilos so u can actually flip the boat upside down and carry the f-cker if u should need it ;)
And its pretty cheap too starting at 2335.75 us current conversion rate brand new from factory..

I should probably get one soon myself be4 they go up in price :P

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Besides having a dedicated dogharness that u only use for boat retrieval work for the dog makes it very clear that u expect something new to the dog. preprogrammes the dog kinda to this being something else/new... something like this:

http://www.fordogtrainers.com/index.php?main_page=popup_image&pID=3605

And u also get a nice handle to pluck the dog out of the water with withouth too much thrashing about.. if your dog likes to fetch and likes to swim there really is no need to expect trouble.. just relax and make it fun for both u and the dog and it should do just fine :)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

How to steady the dog in a boat. Easy. Put her in the boat (after you get it seaworthy) and do some cruising to let her become accustomed to the new experience of the boat. Odds are, she will love it.
One of the dog steps that hook over the gunwale will make re-entry a snap and this should be introduced on dry ground (in the yard) or water shallow enough that she can walk to it and step up on the lowest step with no problem. Do this the first couple of time on a lead so she will get the idea of what you want and won't simply jump into the boat, but rather 'take the stairs'.
After she is comfortable with this, take her into deeper water and through some birds to make sure all your training has been learned. If not start over and teach her again. I understand Tess is a Chessie, but she should be able to learn this your way in a session or two.
I assume you will have a boat blind installed, so make sure that a port is cut away in the material so she can watch the action and mark falls. This will help keep her in one place in the boat throughout the hunt.
I question your choice of boats, but the Carolina Skiff may be suitable for where you hunt. We are better served with a 14-16 foot heavy aluminum boat with at least a 60" beam. They are lighter and tow better.
Good luck with your venture, a boat has made my life duck hnting much more enjoyable.
PS: Learn how to negotiate rough water before the temps fall before freezing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhbeard wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

To start, if you can get the boat next
to some stairs or put something like a platform next to the boat, put her food in the boat for awhile and use the command you use for getting her in the truck or kennel. I do this with a jon boat, but am able to just lay that boat down in the yard.

Also, if you can borrow another boat happy dog to go with you the first time, it might help.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

How bout a proper boat not just a pram??
I found what im gonna get.. suvi 440 is the perfect size and unsinkable..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLp1pdAuk3M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O8o6DD2Wqw&feature=player_embedded#at=15

And it only weighs 102 kilos so u can actually flip the boat upside down and carry the f-cker if u should need it ;)
And its pretty cheap too starting at 2335.75 us current conversion rate brand new from factory..

I should probably get one soon myself be4 they go up in price :P

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Besides having a dedicated dogharness that u only use for boat retrieval work for the dog makes it very clear that u expect something new to the dog. preprogrammes the dog kinda to this being something else/new... something like this:

http://www.fordogtrainers.com/index.php?main_page=popup_image&pID=3605

And u also get a nice handle to pluck the dog out of the water with withouth too much thrashing about.. if your dog likes to fetch and likes to swim there really is no need to expect trouble.. just relax and make it fun for both u and the dog and it should do just fine :)

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nebraskahunter18 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Dont all stand on the same side of the boat that he jumps off. If you do you better have a bucket with you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

If your dog obeys you on foot, he will obey in the boat. You know what tempts him, give a command before he is tempted. Glock fishes and hunts with me all the time. Sorry about your age. It doesn't get any better. I'm a canoe man myself. I dread the day when I can't paddle the canoe with the decoys and dog and stuff into the wind and snow.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

How to steady the dog in a boat. Easy. Put her in the boat (after you get it seaworthy) and do some cruising to let her become accustomed to the new experience of the boat. Odds are, she will love it.
One of the dog steps that hook over the gunwale will make re-entry a snap and this should be introduced on dry ground (in the yard) or water shallow enough that she can walk to it and step up on the lowest step with no problem. Do this the first couple of time on a lead so she will get the idea of what you want and won't simply jump into the boat, but rather 'take the stairs'.
After she is comfortable with this, take her into deeper water and through some birds to make sure all your training has been learned. If not start over and teach her again. I understand Tess is a Chessie, but she should be able to learn this your way in a session or two.
I assume you will have a boat blind installed, so make sure that a port is cut away in the material so she can watch the action and mark falls. This will help keep her in one place in the boat throughout the hunt.
I question your choice of boats, but the Carolina Skiff may be suitable for where you hunt. We are better served with a 14-16 foot heavy aluminum boat with at least a 60" beam. They are lighter and tow better.
Good luck with your venture, a boat has made my life duck hnting much more enjoyable.
PS: Learn how to negotiate rough water before the temps fall before freezing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhbeard wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

To start, if you can get the boat next
to some stairs or put something like a platform next to the boat, put her food in the boat for awhile and use the command you use for getting her in the truck or kennel. I do this with a jon boat, but am able to just lay that boat down in the yard.

Also, if you can borrow another boat happy dog to go with you the first time, it might help.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buck Stewart wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Warning: B.O.A.T. = Break Out Another Thousand !!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

bmxbiz-fs