Over on the FlyTalk blog, Mr. Deeter and Mr. Romano often write about “stuff that works.” And we’re going to give it a try today on Man’s Best Friend. After a weekend in the duck swamp I can tell you that I’ve never used a finer dog vest than the Avery Boaters Hunting Dog Parka. I love it for a variety of reasons.

First, it comes in sizes that will fit the smallest Boykin (XS) and the Largest Chessie (3XL). This was especially important last year when Pritch was a pup, weighing in at a whopping 30 pounds for the duck season opener. A set of grab handles allows you to easily reach down and hoist a dog aboard a boat or into a blind. And a properly placed set of D-rings lets you leash the dog quickly and eliminates the need for a collar. The vest is also tough as hell (the 5mm neoprene is covered with DuraStretch), and can be customized to fit your dog. And I like that the zipper pull is big enough to get a grip on with gloves.

Best of all, at around $40 the vest won’t put a dent in your bourbon fund. For my money, it can’t be beat. But whatever vest you choose, plan on working your dog in it a time or two before heading to the blind.

If you have a favorite vest, or a good vest story, share it with gang.

For the record, Pritch had a shaky first day in the swamp–shaky in that she was about as steady as a leaf in a hurricane. But when day two dawned I thought I had brought a different dog into the swamp. She sat calm and cool right next to my leg, proving that sometimes the best form of training is actually giving the dog some real experience in the field.

Finally, starting this week I’ll be joined by a few other writers on the Man’s Best Friend blog. This will allow us to provide even more coverage (from upland to waterfowl) for all of you gun doggers. Be sure to welcome them the new guys when you hear from them.