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Down here in Georgia our geese are resident Canada Geese and they are huge.

I've only seen one dog who could pick them up and cradle them anything like a duck. She was 95 lbs. (not fat) and had a huge head. Retrieving them in swimming water is a piece of cake because they just float along in front of the dog but on land it is a chore.

My first lab was a tall rangy guy over 70 lbs. After a few tries his preferred method was to grab them by the wing bone right against the body. But then the other wing hanging down in front of him would cause a problem. He would step on the other wing unintentionally and it would pull it from his mouth. As he learned to adjust his eventual method was to grab by the wing bone right next to the body, hold his head as high as possible and somewhat to one side so he wouldn't trip over the wing.

My current dog was 82 lbs. in his prime. He learned to somewhat cradle them. He would grip by the upper breast, right in front of the wing but with his nose angled in toward the center of the chest if that makes any sense. That works better than the wing bone grip IMO.

I think your dog will figure it out if she has the desire to do so.
 

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I knew a guy who was an HRC judge. I haven't seen him in many years, so I don't know if he is still judging, still in HRC or even alive anymore. He longed to judge a test in SC and use nothing but those big Canada Geese just so he could hear the Boykin owners howl! Now before everyone jumps in with all the stories about what tremendous goose dogs their Boykins are, I posted this in humor. Also consider that as a group nobody whines and complains like a group of handlers at a test. I remember one test in which dogs were having to go over (or around) a floating log to get to the bird. It was floating at a depth where it would roll and it was deep enough that the shorter dogs were going to have a hard time getting over it and would have to go around one end. Watching the set up dog and test dog, some of the handlers were having a fit because they didn't think their dogs would/could do it (naturally they weren't phrasing it quite like that). Finally I spoke up and said that if my dog wouldn't do it I wasn't even going to give him a ride home and they became a little less vocal. Some dogs did it and some didn't.
 

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...before everyone jumps in with all the stories about what tremendous goose dogs their Boykins are, I posted this in humor.
Guess I see the humor in the "cradling" exercises and apparent goose size differential below the Mason-Dixon Line - below it, being far below our standards, apparently...

Our cradling exercises are measured not by Fitbit but by Goose-Fit - you know, as in our dogs getting their gobs properly suited up for the task at hand, "huge heads" or not...





breed irregardless -



- but none of 'em above 60 pounds on the retrieve, and the first two, respectively, less than half that weight and 20 pounds shy of it.

Now, do you want to "howl" about quantifying desire and delivery, too?;)

MG
 

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Guess I see the humor in the "cradling" exercises and apparent goose size differential below the Mason-Dixon Line - below it, being far below our standards, apparently...

Our cradling exercises are measured not by Fitbit but by Goose-Fit - you know, as in our dogs getting their gobs properly suited up for the task at hand, "huge heads" or not...

breed irregardless -

- but none of 'em above 60 pounds on the retrieve, and the first two, respectively, less than half that weight and 20 pounds shy of it.

Now, do you want to "howl" about quantifying desire and delivery, too?;)

MG
Crap, I wasn't trying to offend anyone. I know there are smaller dogs of many stripes, including many Boykins who do a great job on geese. As a matter of fact I was just encouraging the guy in this thread that his smaller dog will figure it out. All of the dogs in your photos are doing good work on big fowl and those are some nice pictures too.

Maybe you don't run hunt tests but when you get a bunch of handlers together at a test, I can guarantee you that there will be a number who will be whining about the test before it even starts. I've seen it over and over again. They complain about the distance. They complain about the cover/terrain. They complain about the factors. They complain about having to put on boots to keep from getting their feet wet. They complain if they have to slog through any mud. It just goes on and on. This particular judge apparently felt that there was a subset who complained too much and wanted to stick it to them. As far as I know he never did.

I don't know what you are talking about with your comments about fitbits, delivery and desire. I told the guy with the smaller dog that if his dog had the desire she would figure out how to carry the birds and I'm sure she will.
 

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No harm, no foul (plenty of fowl, though - and that's what it takes, experience, to make a goose dog). So, basically, I'm agreeing with you about figuring it out for themselves when given the opportunity.

Would still like to see photos of Mr. McCracken's dogs retrieving geese though - can't say that I've ever seen but one AWS in living color (and that by photo) that would pick black geese. Lots of references over the years to "easily handling" them by certain parties but documentary evidence would make the case...

MG
 

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Don't happen to have a picture of a Canada goose, but here's one of a Speck (I know, much smaller) I used in training. MG, I guess you'll just have to take my word about AWS and black geese.........or not.
 

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Some dogs it just takes a little time. I have a 105 lb choc male who carries geese like a stick. He's retired. I have an 8 yr old british blm that is about 68 lbs. Short and stocky. He is the best goose dog Ive ever seen. We shoot around 200 a yr I am the only one with a dog so he gets his practice. I also now have a 1 yr old yellow female. Took her out on opener. It was shaky. We killed 18. She half retrieved a couple and did run down a couple runners but she did what you described. Didn't know what to think of that size. First exposure, I'm not too worried. I've been throwing some around the yard and she does well. The more she gets exposed the better she'll be. I'm sure she'll be a goose pro soon enough.
 

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My 45# American Water Spaniel "Logan" has no problems with them.

 

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Here's one of a my Lady, 31#'s finishing a 55 yard retrieve of a cripple. Tenacity!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
So I was going back through some of my old posts and happened upon this one from several years ago when Delta and I were first starting out and didn't know a darn thing. It's funny how you don't realize how far you've come until you look back at where you used to be. Needless to say that little dog has learned a thing or two since I made this post. I couldn't even hazard a guess at how many birds she's picked up over the last 7 seasons. And she absolutely lives to take down crippled geese!
Plant Dog Grass Terrestrial animal Agriculture

Snow Bird Vertebrate White Mammal
Snow Beak Freezing Ice cap Terrestrial animal
Snow Carnivore Freezing Terrestrial animal Working animal
Bird Terrestrial animal Grass Beak Livestock
Grass Terrestrial animal Armadillo Soil Wildlife
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