Charlie is a very useful Golden Retriever. True to his name he retrieves downed ducks that his owner shoots when they fall, no matter where they land--thick brush, ponds, or swamps. He then brings them gently and unmangled, so his handler and family can enjoy a delicious duck dinner.
Golden Retrievers were bred to do just that, retrieve! Duck hunters train Retrievers to get their downed game, as ducks shot on the wing, that is in the air, can end up landing hundreds of meters away, over rough terrain or in water. A good Retriever can prove invaluable to his handler in locating and returning game, preferably in pristine shape, that means not chewed beyond recognition, so that the hunter can use the game for food. Retrievers have been bred for many generations to instinctively perform this duck hunting task well, however training your Retriever so that he obeys off leash commands and recall, waits safely for game to be downed, and marks or follows the game location, so that it can be retrieved, is necessary to have a really successful duck hunting Golden Retriever.
Although Golden Retrievers have been bred to instinctively “fetch” downed game, they need to learn several skills in order to be a good hunting companion and useful tool for their handlers. You will need to get your Retriever used to hunting situations, such as the sights and sounds of hunting, the smell of game, and the hunting environment, so he can accurately perform his tasks in the field. Your Retriever needs to learn to wait safely behind a duck blind or with his handler until game is downed and he is commanded and released to retrieve the game.Retrievers should be paying attention to where game lands and learn to mark the location and proceeded to it in a direct, straight line, not being distracted by other game or activities in the area. Another very important aspect of duck hunting with a dog is to train your Retriever to handle game gently, and not chew or damage the duck so that the meat is not edible. This combination of skills can take some time to train even a motivated, fast learning Golden Retriever, and there is really no substitute for practice in the field.