Tower shoots are the most fun a retriever can have, I believe. Definitely do not shoot, just handle your dog. I learned that lesson the hard way. Watching 200 pheasants one by one is great experience. They will mark a bird to the ground five or six hundred yards away. My dog was eight months old at his first one and it flipped a switch in him like I couldn't believe. It was just after we finished force-fetch. Looking back, he was too young and unsteady for that much stimulation, but I think the good he got out of it was worth it. We have done maybe a dozen since then and it's like training on 200 flyers , with probably 170 no birds in one day. Awesome for marking and steadying.
Many of the shooters do enjoy watching the dogs work, especially when your dog can dig out the money bird and bring it back to their station. They really like that!
Having done many, many shoots with my dogs I can catagorically state they are the worst possible thing, I mean the WORST possible thing you can do to your dog.
At great personal sacrifice, seeing as my dogs are already ruined, I'll take your place. No need to thank me right now, just post up time and directions.
HRCH Wind River's Frisky Whisky SH WCX - Thanx for the memories my friend
HRCH UH Red Devil's Risky Rascal WCX
HR Red Devil's Wild Wind River
SHR Red Devil's Ready Freddie
SHR Red Devil's Lambeau Leap
SHR YRP Grand Chien's Chase the Sunset
I have done it and will continue to do so when the opportunities are available. I cannot see a down side to it. Safety is always my biggest concern. Make sure the shooters understand safety rules first. Tower shoots are a great for training. You get blinds, No birds, doubles, short and long retrieves.
We do tower shoots at Shady Grove Hunting Preserve in Remington,Va. with Neil Selby and there is nothing more fun than going there. We usually have 5-6 guns and purchase 25-30 birds. The dogs love it and so do we. They throw them out 1 at a time, they fall and then we send one of the dogs. We only bring out 2 dogs at a time so they learn to honer and stay steady to the shot. It's alot of fun and a great learning experience. Check out his website and see the video. Oh,we take anything from 1 year old dogs to 10 year old dogs. It's a great time!!!!
I do quite a few tower shoots. The only thing i use them for is enforce skills already learned. My rules are as follows
teaching and enforcing no birds.
I dont run blinds during a shoot. I am always ready to correct a dog for the above rules. I also like to use it for exposing dogs to a lot of fresh killed or live birds. Where i do the shoots, safety is enforced. Never ever had a safety issue ever. You dont shoot unless you have sky in the backround.