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Dog in the duck blind

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I was just wondering if anyone had any secrets to keeping an 8 month old female lab to sit somewhat still in the blind? I am not expecting a statue, but a little less jumping and yelping and whining would be nice. Should I expect this to decrease each year? She is my first hunting dog.


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One of the problems most guys run into with their dogs is they expect them to act when out hunting like they do at home. Think about it once....how excited are you on the opener as noon rolls around...the anticipation is very high for us as hunters, now put an inexperienced dog in there picking up on the vibes and the fact they are in a new situation and you can imagine why they are anxious in the blind. The other reason I see this behavior is because you have a young dog that is bored because there is not enough activity to keep her interest up. This because they have never been EXPECTED to sit still for long periods of time. It is no different than a young child on a long boring trip trying to sit still in a car. It has taken us a year of working with our son but we now have him able to sit through the 4 hour trip to our cabin, he now knows what is expected of him.

There are 2 ways to combat this...one way is to give up a couple hunting trips yourself. This doesn't mean you don't go hunting, it means you don't get to hunt. You go out with your buddies and they get to shoot while you concentrate on working with your dog. You cannot get on her to hard, you have to show patience and show her what you want her to do. Use calm words and re-inforce what you expect. The problem with trying to do this training while you, your- self is hunting, is, you are letting her start the behavior up, (because you are concentrating on hunting) then you get frustrated with her antics, then you start yelling at her trying to correct her, then it just elevates from there, and the whole process keeps cycling throughout the day.

The other way, which I prefer(as it doesn't cut into my hunting time) is to put her in a hunting situation often. This doesn't have to be out at a pond or lake, it can be done in your yard. Sit her in a boat or canoe, then throw out some decoys reinforcing her to sit and saty while you do that, then sit with her for 10-30 minute periods with a little sporadic calling and a little moving around in the boat etc. Every once in a while (not to often, we are working on steadiness and blind etiquette, not retrieveing) throw a frozen bird or dummy out in the decoys, but do not let her break right away to retrieve it. Hold her in the boat and reinforce her to settle down. When she sits calmly for a minute or two let her finish the retrieve. Work on her coming back to the boat with the bird and give her lots and lots of praise. The sit her back down and repeat. A few sessions of this and she'll understand what is expected of her while out hunting. The pressure is off both of you when working at home and you don't miss any gunning time yourself.

Hope this helps....Good Luck!


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I am having the same situation with my lab. I am not sure if I expected to much the first time I took her out or if I just did not realize how long it would take to get her ready. My lab seemed to really get it at home with the decoys and practicing with the boat. I think is was the water she loves the water and could not understand why I would not let her go swimming.

Since the ducks were not really flying we spent a lot of the time in the field that morning actually training. I have been working with her since thne and can not wait to see how her understanding has improved.

Good Luck and do not get to frustrated.

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That's great advice Ken!

I did exactly what Ken explained and it worked great. The first year or two were difficult and frustrating. Deal with it and keep working your dog. It takes time and every year is better, if you put in the effort.

I honestly don't remember what it was like to hunt without my dog. It's half the work for me now! smile.gif

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