As mentioned, I believe it's all subject to the dog and their grasp of the concepts that have been introduced. I would have no issue taking a young dog, say 6 months old, that has been introduced to birds and gun fire, that is fairly steady, and has basic obedience down. That being said, I know that I couldn't take that dog on a hunt with more than a few people and that I have to work the dog and put my gun down for the hunts, which I have no issue with because my passion has changed from shooting ducks to watching my dogs work. Small ponds, small groups, and moderate temperatures would be ideal. Make sure the birds are dead so the dog doesn't have to chase or dive for the bird and I think everything would be alright. Just don't expect the dog to do more than a single and carry a bag full of rocks with you incase you need to show him where a bird is.
Well said^^. We have a early nuisance goose season that comes in the end of August here on the lake we live on and we will be hunting my brothers dog, she will be 13 months old when it comes in. That should be fun. My little man is going to have to sit that one out. Geese are a whole different story. I doubt my brother little female will retrieve a goose. That is one thing I am looking forward to with my dog, he is a big dog. Probably going to be 90-100lbs and has a blocky head so he won't have a problem picking up geese. If I can just get him out this lanky growing stage. 2013-05-24_16-56-45_624.jpg That's him at 2.5 months