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  • Blind Retrieving

    Thought I would pass along my technique for training a dog to blind retrieve. It served me well a long time ago. Might help someone else out there. Enjoy

    After clicking on the pdf file below you'll have to open the downloaded attachment manually. Look for it in "downloads" file or in a window at bottom of the screen (Windows 10).

    Training a Hunting Dog to Blind Retrieve.pdf
    Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 01-15-2019, 10:17 PM. Reason: Modified the attachment to read better

  • #2
    Honk good stuff, I have seen that approach before but it makes a lot of sense. I’m going to print it out and save it. Seriously good ideas thanks for sharing.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Pmacc60 View Post
      Honk good stuff, I have seen that approach before but it makes a lot of sense. I’m going to print it out and save it. Seriously good ideas thanks for sharing.
      Thanks for the kind words and you're very welcome. Glad to share. I cleaned up a few sentences and reposted the attachment.
      Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 02-04-2019, 10:23 AM.

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      • #4
        Honk what is your recomended waterfowl dog, and is there a difference between chocolate and black labs

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JasonT View Post
          Honk what is your recomended waterfowl dog, and is there a difference between chocolate and black labs
          Labrador retriever is hard to beat. There is a reason they are the most popular AKC breed something like twenty-seven years running. Wonderful disposition, hard workers, great family dogs, do-everything hunting dogs, and generally healthy. The surge in popularity hasn't hurt the breed too much, unlike goldens. Thanks to previously established broad popularity with hunters, the Lab gene pool was broad enough to withstand the pressure. I would stay away from the "silver Labs." Have heard some stories about them being goofy. "Red Labs" are simply yellow.

          My best dog by far was a Lab-golden cross (mother was a black Lab). Before her, my first hunting dog was "chocolate" from parents who both were black and all siblings were black. I remember one name way back in Cocoa's star-studded pedigree seemed to indicate an ancestor that was probably brown. The late great Black Pearl who died four years ago in March was from a litter that was all black whelped by a mother who was chocolate who had been bred to a yellow Lab (his mother was black). Opal's mother was chocolate, bred to a big black male. Half the litter was brown and half black. She has been outstanding from the get go and I knew she would be when I picked her. My wife was miffed that I didn't pick a brown pup to differentiate from Pearl. I told her I picked the pup for other more important reasons than her colour. My soon to be four year-old Lab Ellie came from a "red" Lab bred to a big male black Lab owned by my French Brittany's breeder. Four male pups were brown and five females were black. I was not interested in a male pup so that limited me to black. I really couldn't see anything in any of them that was special so my daughter picked our pup. Ellie is a wonderful dog that I love dearly ... but she was definitely "developmentally delayed" when it came to hunting. Turns out the wait was definitely worth it. She is truly a "versatile" hunting dog ... in the North American sense anyway. Good retriever (finally!) and excellent pointer (which is very unusual for Labs). In Europe "versatile hunting dogs" are also used to chase deer/boars. She might have been good for that but it's not kosher over here. None of my dogs have been allowed to develop an interest in chasing anything but birds.

          There's several breeds out there besides Lab to choose from if you're looking for a waterfowl dog. A lot depends on how much you want to spend and what your needs are. Boykin spaniels are a relatively new breed and seeing some popularity recently. They are pretty and not very big so the housewives like that. Standard poodles are a great retrieving breed and not so much hair shedding (which housewives also like!). They are smart dogs but I always found them to be kinda colourless personality. Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever has also seen a surge in popularity recently. Nice dogs but I would be concerned that their very limited gene pool will have trouble with the pressure. Sadly, golden retriever breed suffered badly after the Marley & Me popularity. Their gene pool was already weak. Now they are flooded with genetic problems, the most notable being epilepsy. And there's all that hair to deal with (ugh!). Flat-coated retrievers are simply long-haired black Labs. Pretty much the same disposition and handling assets, great noses, and beautiful to look at. For no reason that I can find, they just don't seem to be that popular. When I was shopping for a dog after Pearl died, flat-coated retriever was at the top of my list but I couldn't find any breeders, none with available pups anyway. I was then also very strongly considering small Munsterlander, a European "versatile" dog. Found some pups available in Michigan (very pricey!) but Coral's breeder roped me into accepting a pup in the litter produced by his Lab. Chesapeake retrievers were formerly recognized for their stamina and strength working under very difficult conditions. And they were also noted for being bullheaded one-man dogs that were too often mean with children and other dogs. However, a lot has changed with that breed. At one point Chesapeakes had all but disappeared but the breed is making a slow comeback. Temperament is notably better now. They are definitely an attractive hunting dog. Some of the setter breeds can be passable retrievers but not consistently. Tri-colour Llewellin setters (variation of English setter) are spectacularly beautiful and many are about the size of a large Brittany (though often larger). Noted for their fine disposition and of course pointing abilities, but not easy to find and therefore often pricey. Springer spaniel is a breed that has improved a lot over the years but watch out for the dog show side of the family. Stay away from those. In the past Springers were often high-strung high-maintenance dogs prone to roaming if not kept confined. Much better these days. I saw a pair of Welsh Springers in Minneapolis a few years ago that greatly impressed me. Seemed to have the mellow friendly disposition of a Lab. Springers are not a great big dog and hence most guys think they can't handle geese. But my Lab-cross Ethyl was quite small (maybe fifty pounds) and she was a helluva honker dog. If they fought her, she loved it all the more.

          Having said all that, the AKC's numbers don't lie: Labs are number one overall and they are top dog among hunters too. Been on that throne for a long time! Generally speaking Labs are easier on the pocket book too. There's a lot available so prices are often working-man friendly. Don't be too concerned about colour. Pick the pup for other reasons.
          Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 02-02-2019, 02:15 PM.

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          • #6


            Having said all that, the AKC's numbers don't lie: Labs are number one overall and they are top dog among hunters too. Been on that throne for a long time! Generally speaking Labs are easier on the pocket book too. There's a lot available so prices are often working-man friendly. Don't be too concerned about colour. Pick the pup for other reasons. [/COLOR][/QUOTE]

            I was curious as i'm not as familiar as I should be. I have a friend who I havn't talked to for a while, he is training a brittany now I need to find out how that is going. My friend I hunt with all the time has a red heeler that we started using the last two years. She is not the best dog to sit in a blind all day but she does retrieve. She is getting older though so I will be looking for a dog in the next year or so.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JasonT View Post

              Having said all that, the AKC's numbers don't lie: Labs are number one overall and they are top dog among hunters too. Been on that throne for a long time! Generally speaking Labs are easier on the pocket book too. There's a lot available so prices are often working-man friendly. Don't be too concerned about colour. Pick the pup for other reasons. [/COLOR]
              I was curious as i'm not as familiar as I should be. I have a friend who I havn't talked to for a while, he is training a brittany now I need to find out how that is going. My friend I hunt with all the time has a red heeler that we started using the last two years. She is not the best dog to sit in a blind all day but she does retrieve. She is getting older though so I will be looking for a dog in the next year or so.[/QUOTE]

              Brittany, like all setters (they are NOT spaniels), are spotty retrievers. Mine will do it if the Labs aren't around and the pheasant is still alive. But she is nuts about retrieving ducks from water, dead or alive, Labs or not. That I cannot understand at all. Red heeler retrieving birds? That does surprise me. Doesn't tear them up? Kinda cold work for that breed. Every one of those dogs I've encountered I really liked a lot ... or disliked a lot. Most in the latter category. Unpredictable and often ornery. It can take a couple of years to get a new retriever pup up to speed (e.g. Ellie) so you might not want to wait till you're empty handed.
              Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 02-02-2019, 02:16 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ontario Honker Hunter View Post

                I was curious as i'm not as familiar as I should be. I have a friend who I havn't talked to for a while, he is training a brittany now I need to find out how that is going. My friend I hunt with all the time has a red heeler that we started using the last two years. She is not the best dog to sit in a blind all day but she does retrieve. She is getting older though so I will be looking for a dog in the next year or so.
                Brittany, like all setters (they are NOT spaniels), are spotty retrievers. Mine will do it if the Labs aren't around and the pheasant is still alive. But she is nuts about retrieving ducks from water, dead or alive, Labs or not. That I cannot understand at all. Red heeler retrieving birds? That does surprise me. Doesn't tear them up? Kinda cold work for that breed. Every one of those dogs I've encountered I really liked a lot ... or disliked a lot. Most in the latter category. Unpredictable and often ornery. It can take a couple of years to get a new retriever pup up to speed (e.g. Ellie) so you might not want to wait till you're empty handed.[/QUOTE]

                Yes I know red heeler right. We didn't have a dog and she is well behaved so one day at a pond by his house we shot 2 ducks left them on the water and went back to get the dog. We through rocks out by the birds to get her attention she swam out and came back, si we did it again that time she brought the bird. She has been hooked sense. And yes we don't put her in the water after its cold.

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                • #9
                  Honk this is the red heeler I was telling you about.
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the share Honk. My Boykin is no field trial champion by any means, but he’s become a capable gun dog. Taught him hand signals with a slight variation to the baseball method you shared. He’s not 100% with the hand signals, but he has enough natural ability to find birds as long as I can get him somewhere in the area.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Outlaw View Post
                      Thanks for the share Honk. My Boykin is no field trial champion by any means, but he’s become a capable gun dog. Taught him hand signals with a slight variation to the baseball method you shared. He’s not 100% with the hand signals, but he has enough natural ability to find birds as long as I can get him somewhere in the area.
                      He's still a young dog as I recall? Did you come up with the training technique on your own or from a publication? I'd like to know how far off base my idea was (pun intended) from other sources that may be out there. Thanks.

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                      • #12
                        He’ll be 2 in a few months. My training method came from a combination of Game Dog by Richard Wolters and Smart Works by Evan Graham. Most of the force fetch stuff in the smart works book wasn’t really needed, but it provided some great practice scenarios to put the dog through. “Baseball” is brought up in Game Dog but I believe it’s with dummies rather than treats.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Outlaw View Post
                          He’ll be 2 in a few months. My training method came from a combination of Game Dog by Richard Wolters and Smart Works by Evan Graham. Most of the force fetch stuff in the smart works book wasn’t really needed, but it provided some great practice scenarios to put the dog through. “Baseball” is brought up in Game Dog but I believe it’s with dummies rather than treats.
                          Thanks for that. Wolters book comes up quite a bit here but I've never read it ... or any other training book. Guess it's good to know the idea might have originated somewhere else. I see that Wolters first training book Gun Dog came out in 1961 and first edition of Game Dog published in 1985 just eight years before his sudden death from heart failure. I trained Ethyl with this method in 1978. If Gun Dog included the "baseball method," then Wolters obviously came up with it first. If it first appears in Game Dog, we both may have devised it independently close to the same time. It's immaterial since the person who copyrights first has the right to claim it as his. I don't want anyone, particularly crm3006 (or Mr. Wolter's estate) thinking I'm a plagiarist. Wolters was by all accounts a great man. And also a kindred spirit Renaissance Man it seems. Like me he chose to explore life to the fullest.
                          "Mr. Wolters worked as an atomic scientist, fine-arts teacher, photographer, and as picture editor at Sports Illustrated. His sporting interests included hunting, angling, bobsledding, ballooning, and soaring in sailplanes, in which he held the highest rating."

                          I would have liked to have met him. Here's a good bio: http://www.familydogs.com/who-is-richard-a-wolters.html


                          Note to Admin: Right indent in the text edit menu works but the left indent does not and therefore margins cannot be restored after obligatory right indent for long quotes (actually it's supposed to be double indent but not having that option is understandable for a forum). Please fix left indent.
                          Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 02-04-2019, 10:20 AM.

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