Summertime is the right time to whip your retreiver into hunting shape both in terms of conditioning and drills. However, ensuring the safety of your companion should be your top priority. Let’s see what Wingman Brandon Maskew has to say about summertime/off season training:
A good thing to remember is to practice how you hunt. Most of the time we hunt our retrievers in flooded timber from some type of dog stand. If you have ever hunted flooded timber you know that not every bird you shoot down falls in plain sight for your retriever to mark. While you can accomplish a lot with your retriever while working in the back yard, an old beaver pond or small water hole with over hanging limbs, tree tops and logs can make a work session feel more like a real hunting situation. I feel that it is very important to be able to cast Snoop on a straight line and direct him around any brush or obstacles that may stand in the way of him and his retrieve. This is not only important for success, but also for his own safety.
Whether you are hunting or just getting in a little work in the offseason, your retriever’s safety and well being should always be your top priority! I never cast Snoop or send him on a mark into a body of water without checking it out first. Make sure there is no trash or any obstacles underneath the water surface that could injure your retriever. Would you want to jump off of a diving board into a swimming pool that had sharp objects in the water? I didn’t think so! Living in the south snakes and alligators are something we have to keep an eye on as well. Warmer weather always seems to bring out the big ones (same for the West, just substitute wolves for gators). A trip to the local vet is something that I wish on no one. At the end of the day the most important thing is that you and your retriever complete a workout session successfully and return home safely!
With that said, we also cannot forget that all work and no play makes our dogs… bored!
Our retrievers work extremely hard during hunting season. It’s only fair that we allow them to cut loose and have a little fun during the off season. Owning a hunting retriever is not just a job that requires your time 60 days during the migration, it’s a privilege that becomes a 365 day a year passion!
Although our canine companions are only with us for a short time during our lives, they love and remain loyal to us their entire lives! When you get ready to enjoy the warm weather over the next few months, remember that “them ol’ huntin’ dogs” like to have fun too!