The air is still, the grass is long, and your shotgun rests in your hands as you see a duck on the pond ahead. You take aim, exhale one long and steady breath, and pull the trigger. There is a flurry of feathers and the scatter of nearby birds, but you found your target. The problem is, that target is floating in a pond and you’re not in the mood for an early morning swim.
What makes it more frustrating is that you have an old dog at home who might not be as energetic as he once was, but he’d still make for an awesome hunting companion if you could only train an old dog new tricks. Well, you can! Older dogs still have what it takes to hunt by your side, and with the right training, you’ll never have to worry about losing a duck, because your dog will retrieve it for you.
You might be surprised to see how much your dog is still up for a challenge, and definitely one that involves hunting prey like ducks. What does training your dog to hunt ducks look like though? It involves perseverance and patience. Old dogs are often stuck in their ways, so training can take months.
It will entail familiarizing your dog with ducks and other animals. It will involve rigorous obedience training and use of numerous commands. It will also involve basic retrieval training before you venture out into the wild. The training will, therefore, need to be done in stages and consistency will be essential. All of this will be challenging and time-consuming, but it will save you losing a kill and time spent wading through water for your prize. Although the challenge may seem big, you and your aging dog have the history and this experience will bring you closer than ever before.
Before you begin training you will need to ensure you have several things. You will need toy ducks and raw meat or duck scent to help familiarize your dog with the prey. You will also need enough outside space to practice in, free from distractions, plus access to a pond or lake. In addition, for one method you will need a rope and an anchor. Note that all methods will require a serious amount of treats!
Apart from that, just come equipped with a hard-working attitude and a serious amount of patience.
Now you’re armed with the essentials, it’s time to do battle with the duck!