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Thread: How do you introduce a dog to decoys

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    Junior Member amotley's Avatar
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    Default How do you introduce a dog to decoys

    I'm trying to get ready for the season I know I'm jumping the gun with my pup but I'm taking her out on Saturday for the opener how do u get a dog ready to swim through decoys

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    Senior Member winger's Avatar
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    If you know your jumping the gun you probably shouldn't jump
    Started mine out in the yard with decoys.

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    Have them run through them on the ground first. Use them in training.
    "Force fetch isn't about retrieving as much as it is conditioning a dog to handle pressure, in a very controlled environment. It's about putting a dog in the position of having to figure out how to turn off pressure by finding the correct response. This translates into numerous areas in training." Sharon Potter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
    Have them run through them on the ground first. Use them in training.
    Exactly right, and if the dog has never seen them before you go to the field it can be a little tricky. Try setting them on the ground on the way to a mark that is clearly past the set up several times, then toss the bird into the set up. Build confidence on land then do the same on water. I have seen some dogs freak out when they got tangled in the lines and it is better for them to not also be freaked out by the decoys, too. If you rush things it could endanger your dog in my opinion.
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    Senior Member Meleagris1's Avatar
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    Agree with Dman, I just introduce them when running land marks, then land blinds, then water marks, water blinds etc. I use both stationary and mojo decoys. Didn't take long for my guy to figure it out. Whatever you do . . . don't introduce them on opening day, your just asking for trouble, especially since you have doubts about your pups readiness.

    Regarding decoy lines, they can flip a dog out if they get caught in them, so I would recommend standard, individual lines for now.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dustin D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amotley View Post
    I'm trying to get ready for the season I know I'm jumping the gun with my pup but I'm taking her out on Saturday for the opener how do u get a dog ready to swim through decoys
    Sounds to me like after this weekend, you could have more to fix and concern yourself with than getting a puppy socialized to decoys. How old is this pup?

    Many a man has squashed his dog through his own foolish ambition - True Story

    Regardless all introductions and socializations should always occur where pup is most comfortable. In most all cases that's the yard in which he lives in daily.

    Here's what I've done and remember this advice could be worth exactly what you paid for it.

    Grab you a sack of decoys while he is out and about.
    Let him watch you take them out and place about 4-6 in the yard spread out pretty good.
    He may or may not act a little spooked. He may even belly crawl to them for a sniff.
    Don't stand over them and wait for anything to happen, just leave them there and let him do whatever he wants to with them besides pick them up.
    Leave them there for the next week while tossing whatever it is you toss for him to retrieve in and around the perimeter of the decoys. Now don't confuse him. Spread the decoys out enough where there is like a clear lane for him to go through to pick up the bumper.

    Pup should have no problem.

    Now after a week of him running around these decoys not picking them up.

    You can do the same set up in a local pond with one slight difference.

    I actually went out previously and threw the decoys in the pond, then bought pup out to the pond for some Water Marks near the decoys. Maybe once or twice he would swim next to them just to bump them but he's never bought one back. He shouldn’t b/c you didn’t let him on land.

    Now mind you my pup was crazy about retrieving bumpers, nothing else, so there was no confusion on what to bring back. Pup is to bring back what I've thrown out right? not just anything.

    This is why for the first time it's good for socialization for pup to see you handle the decoys placing them out in the yard.


    For the pond, it's best to NOT let him see you throw them out into the water. May cause confusion.

    After a week of him seeing all this, then you can move on to the special decoys in a similar fashion. Like the moving one's, the Wind Sock Geese Decoys should also be done with caution in the yard. Windsock decoys that move with the breeze can easily spook a dog.

    Always remember puppies have to learn to be comfortable around things they are unaware of. Their affirmation is you rubbing them down. When pup does something good, you tell him good and rub on him. When he does an undesirable act, as a pup, the discipline should be stopping the behavior with a ‘NO’ and removing whatever it is from pups reach and show NO LOVE.

    I’m an amateur trainer myself, but I like MANY here will tell you the number one problem puppies face is their handlers, US! And most often b/c we RUSH THEM!
    Always just take your time but remember, some things you do, they might can be undone, but it also might take you a lot of time a headache to fix.
    You know your pup, weigh the odds and make a decision.
    Without knowing your pups training level and age it’s hard to say what we’d do.




    /
    Last edited by Dustin D; 10-10-2012 at 07:58 AM.

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    Senior Member MooseGooser's Avatar
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    I just leave a couple a old faded ones in the yard layin around all the time.

    I will have a couple in the shop ,so when the pup is in there with me they is part of the decor.

    Perty soon, they just become boring to them. They pay no attention at all..

    well,, at least until somebody throws a mark near em..
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    Senior Member JS's Avatar
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    Like this?

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    Senior Member KwickLabs's Avatar
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    First of all, I don't take "puppies" hunting until they are ready. This means the pup must be "into" transition first. I have older, experienced dogs that eliminate the temptation to rush a pup.

    Here are some examples of the sequence in "decoy" exposure.

    Daisy at 11 weeks old


    lining drill


    ”hunting” land session


    ”hunting” water session


    journal entry for water session:
    trained at the Square Pond and did the "Hunting Drill" focusing on patience, steadiness from the Ultra Low dog hide using duck calling, popper gun, an HRC bucket, two wingers for two marks with a Dokken & an Avery ATB teal, delayed retrieves, a "dry shot" & two OB sessions spread out over about 30 minutes routine, includes 100 yard OB walk at heel to the blind, placed in the hide and followed by five minutes of sporadic duck calls and finally a dry shot, after another ten minutes the long single is "shot" with no immediate retrieve, another five minutes passes & the second mark with a Dokken splashes up close in the decoys with a popper shot, after a few minutes pause the dog retrieves each mark and then does the second part of the OB drill by walking (off lead at heel) to each winger and remaining at sit while I reload the two wingers, the drill ends with a 100 yard walk (off lead) back to the van to get the next dog

    This pup is ready to hunt.
    Last edited by KwickLabs; 10-10-2012 at 09:59 AM.
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    Senior Member Brokengunz's Avatar
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    I took mine out first time, pond with 3000 decoys......she didn't dare touch one....
    she was outnumbered. Was hard to even see a dead one in that group.

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