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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am training a retriever for my brother that will be used almost solely for goose hunting in Canada. The training an the retrieving part isn't a problem. We are go to go there. My question is, do you goose hunters do anything different with your dogs to prepare them for retrieving geese? Especially handling unhappy cripples.
Thanks!
Kyle
 

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Having a dog that at a minimum has been taught "Hold", and preferably properly force fetched will provide the tools needed to teach a dog to handle big geese. It's not uncommon for people to say their dog won't pick up geese, but I've never had a problem, or seen a properly forced dog that would not handle geese (field and water) with a little practice. I get mine started with a dead goose that I have brought home from a hunt.

I guess you could buy the goose Doken, but I would just save my money till I could get a real one.

Be very careful with a young dog and a crippled goose. Most bold retrievers with plenty of prey drive will tackle a crippled goose in a field, but a younger, more timid dog could develop a bad attitude in a hurry with a 12 pound honker hissing and flogging them! I would dispatch all cripples promptly until I was confident my young dog could handle them.

Also be sure to train for hunting out of layouts, dog blinds....anything unique to his style of goose hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks MD. He's FF'd and has been retrieving pigeons since a pup and more recently some ducks but never anything as big (and possibly as mean) as a goose. Thanks!
 

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Training a good goose dog sometimes takes some extra steps. You say your pup is FF'd, which will be helpful. It's often helpful to start out with retrieving a dead goose in water.. that way your dog doesn't have to figure out how to pick up the goose and carry it... it can just push it ahead of itself in the water. When you do get to land retrieves some dogs do have trouble figuring out how to carry a large goose. Working with them to pick the bird up by the shoulder using your FF command (and you right next to the dog helping to "fetch it up" on the shoulder). A dog that has confidence in already handling a large dead goose with enthusiasm will be much more likely to be willing to tackle a cripple when the time comes.
 

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for goose hunting you will need to teach the dog to sit or lie down in a mutt hut or similar type of blind if you hunt out of layouts....if you hunt out of a pit blind then the dog needs to stay in whatever concealment blind you have while you are in the pit...the problem is that most hunters will not teach a dog the actual logistics until the season or day of the hunt, and the hunt usually suffers and the dog gets blamed for not being steady or for flaring birds...

I practiced getting in and out of a layout blind in the garage, even though Mirk kept trying to climb in the layout blind with me, Kate figured out the game quickly ...contrary to an old wives tale, black dogs do NOT flare birds, poor concealment and movement flares birds
 

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I hunt alot of geese in fields, so having Fido steady in the mutt hutt is priority #1 for you IMHO. Our club will try to do a couple of days in later August where we have 3-5 layout blinds and with dogs in their mutt hutts; then we thrown about 5-7 dokkens pretty much around the same time to simulate a chaotic shoot at ducks (too hard to throw dokken geese from remote launchers). We practice like we hunt (as close as possible at least). Great opportunity to test the dogs and to correct breaking in such a scenario. We'll put some dokken geese (and ducks) out as blind retrieves as well

Practicing with a dokken goose decoy is good training for carrying the approximate weight of a goose (its my lab's favorite decoy to "play" with), but using a real goose is even better. I agree with starting retrieves from water with a real goose then moving to land, but don't wait for that as you can start that process with the dokken goose decoy - worth the investment.

Steady until released is absolutely required. As far as training for cripples, you can't really (without being unethical in your training methods and I don't support that). Outside of Mike's suggestion above, Fido will have to learn how to handle crips as he/she experiences retrieving in real hunting scenarios.
 

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I too use the Dokken goose to get dogs started picking up big heavy objects...I keep a snow goose in the freezer for the next step...big ole barn yard ducks make a good transition to live birds of big size....A live on one water can be a big shock to young dogs...just tie the feet together and toss in the pond...Steve S
 

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Kyle, I have a goose dokken if you want to borrow it. Could prob sacrafice a muscovy drake if you wanted real feathers.

Alison
 

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Kyle, I have a goose dokken if you want to borrow it. Could prob sacrafice a muscovy drake if you wanted real feathers.

Alison
here you go ...take um up on the offer.....Steve S
 

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Just to add on the steadiness issue....ain't no shame in staking a young (or even old) dog out in his dog blind. Hard to duplicate 2 dozen honking longnecks back peddling in a pups face!
For sure, nothing can undo time well spent training then a goose hunt with all the commotion of the geese, calls, flags. We try to make sure that they are really ready to handle it by setting up training with everything we use in the field adding a CD of geese to expose them to the sounds. We set up wingers for crossing and incomming shots in and outside the decoys. When we do take them out its one guy doing the shooting one bird at a time at first. We also shoot crips before sending the dog and even to go as far as picking up birds ourselfs from time to time just to reinforce steadiness and that not everything is a shoot and go idea. One other thing we do, is not send the dog from their blind but call them to heel to the layout blind and then send them, it seems to help with avoiding breaking from the dog blind and later if we need to send them on a crip then we can take care of that first. Everything is set up in the best interest of the dog to the best of our ability.

Almost time to dig everything out again!!!!
 

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Just to add on the steadiness issue....ain't no shame in staking a young (or even old) dog out in his dog blind. Hard to duplicate 2 dozen honking longnecks back peddling in a pups face!
Word


Preach on brutha....
 

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Keep his safety as priority #1. He's really not necessary in the field, so if you're going to put him in that very risky situation, keep him safe.

I'm not saying by the way that he shouldn't be trained or that taking a dog in the goose field shouldn't be done. I take my dog regularly with parties I trust not to shoot him if he breaks. He's a nice steady dog but we often let the first few birds touch down before calling the shot and he just can't take that! I agree with he no shame in staking him out argument.

I would also teach him to voluntarily retrieve geese, but I would force on them also, just to make sure things were totally clear in his mind on game day.
 

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I agree with all of the above:
When training my pup on geese he was reluctant to begin with.
I had him sit and sent his sire to pick up the goose that he just fooled with. After he saw the old man pick it up and deliver to hand a couple of times he was right on it.

They learn by example.
 

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Steadiness is a big deal for sure. Before my dogs first goose hunt I used a Dokken Goose to get him used to the weight and that worked out fine.My dogs first goose came down in LA and it was a Speck so that made it easier on him. Not quite as big as a Canadian. It was a rather lively cripple and it bowed up and hissed at him as he ran to it. My dog hit him like a linebacker and it was on from there. He had the bird by it's shoulder. One wing was covering his face and flapping and the goose had ahold of my dogs ear. So my dog was blinded and could hear a thing with that goose going at his ear. It was pretty funny watching him try to bring it in. He had no clue which way to go to get back to me and could hear my whistle or yelling to him. My dog kept going in a big circle. I finally had to go out and get him. There was no way he was going to drop that bird and try to reposition it so he could see. We were all laughing watching the show go on out in the rice paddy.
 

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for goose hunting you will need to teach the dog to sit or lie down in a mutt hut or similar type of blind if you hunt out of layouts....if you hunt out of a pit blind then the dog needs to stay in whatever concealment blind you have while you are in the pit...the problem is that most hunters will not teach a dog the actual logistics until the season or day of the hunt, and the hunt usually suffers and the dog gets blamed for not being steady or for flaring birds...

I practiced getting in and out of a layout blind in the garage, even though Mirk kept trying to climb in the layout blind with me, Kate figured out the game quickly ...contrary to an old wives tale, black dogs do NOT flare birds, poor concealment and movement flares birds
I can't tell you how many geese I've killed that were attracted to the set by a dog running through the decoys picking up birds.

Why is it that most people don't teach their dog the "down" command?
 

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I can't tell you how many geese I've killed that were attracted to the set by a dog running through the decoys picking up birds.

Why is it that most people don't teach their dog the "down" command?
Because they don't goose hunt like you, I and others here. ;-)
 
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