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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I like to use 2 sleds stacked together in my duck hunts.
I purchased made-in-USA sleds for $40 each on clearance at the local hardware store.
( typically I see them going on clearance sale in Feb...)

I like sleds in my Alaska duck hunts because:

1) Most importantly it helps keep my dog dry...I put a ridgerest sleeping pad in and
turn over the sled to drain it after a few retrieves. No muss, no fuss.

2) I can use it in heavy cover hunting next to my dog, or put it back in the willows
while I layout in a mudflat in the other sled.

3) If I need to change a prop or water pump, I can float the sled under the outboard
to catch any bolts or washers or small parts I might drop.

4) Puppies learn the "place command" in the sled in the yard, so
they are comfortable with retrieving from it and
they have been conditioned to be steady from it for future duck hunts.

5) Since we always camp out on our Alaska duck hunts,
the sled is handy for hauling camp to and from the boat.

6) The sled is perfect for holding decoys, setting up or picking up
with the boat stashed in heavy cover a couple hundred yards away.

7) These sleds are durable..serve to haul firewood at -30F at home for 20 years,
and strong and I can hunt 2 labs, each in his own sled.

8) I can layout shoot in a few inches of water using natural cover from a sled.
My favorite hunts are shallow water layout shoots for pintails and teal.
Pintails.JPG
9) If it is really cold, I can knock the ice out of the sled and ridgerest pad to keep the retriever warm and dry.

10) If I shoot a moose I can easily deal with it.
This year I shot a bull in knee deep water and the sled was invaluable
for dealing with the ~>100 pound quarters.
moose_sled.jpg

I hunt very shallow water, typically laying in the sled with my lab back in the willows in another sled.
If you hunt flooded timber,here is a sled that apparently works well in deep water:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2GMGIupYUY
 

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Very nice. I have had and used the same type for over 16 years. Never got a chance to shoot a Moose though. Dedicated waterfowler, Works as you describe over 3,000 miles east. :)
 

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We've no moose in South Louisiana, just whitetails and water:


But if you really want a versatile sled, adding a freight harness can make it a third hand:




 

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Using a sled harness like that and a sled with gradually increasing weight was one of the ways I got my dog back into shape after a bad tendon cut. Boy will it put the hamstrings on them. Similar to underwater treadmill but more stress to the back, and going uphill makes them drive with their shoulders. Just one of several different type of exercises I used, but easy to do. Before next hunting season comes around will likely do it again, and I will pull a sled along side her as I will need it as well!!
Been doing some upland hunting at a club and it takes 2 passes thru the field before she really starts hunting well. Just too excited to find them as fast as possible, maybe I should try this to wear her down a little first--LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Using a sled harness like that and a sled with gradually increasing weight was one of the ways I got my dog back into shape after a bad tendon cut. Boy will it put the hamstrings on them. Similar to underwater treadmill but more stress to the back, and going uphill makes them drive with their shoulders. Just one of several different type of exercises I used, but easy to do. Before next hunting season comes around will likely do it again, and I will pull a sled along side her as I will need it as well!!
Been doing some upland hunting at a club and it takes 2 passes thru the field before she really starts hunting well. Just too excited to find them as fast as possible, maybe I should try this to wear her down a little first--LOL
Question for you Nate, since your a vet. When would you start a puppy pulling with a harness?

I read somewhere that not until their growth plates are fully developed ~2 years old? Same for agility??

I have skijored with labs in harness before, but they have been at least 3 years old before I started them.

Thanks. --Skeeter
 

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I used to do weight pulls with my dogs - I started them in harness at 8-10 months - no serious weight however - I did not start 'serious' training at 'peak' weights until they were 2.

Freight harness is a must for any dog pulling a fairly heavy load - esp if there is a lot of friction.
 

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I used to do weight pulls with my dogs - I started them in harness at 8-10 months - no serious weight however - I did not start 'serious' training at 'peak' weights until they were 2.

Freight harness is a must for any dog pulling a fairly heavy load - esp if there is a lot of friction.
I would agree with this. Let them mature without too much heavy stress. Growth plates are essentially closed at 10-11 months of age, but does not mean they are ready for heavy work. They still are not mature until 18-24 months depending on the dog.
 

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how a properly fitted harness helps a dog put its head down and work using shoulders. This is my sweet Dayzee - she won this even for her weight class, as I recall. She was destined to be a great weight puller except she died the following summer. :(
 

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