Bird Dog & Retriever News

June / July 2003 issue Page 20

 "The Dead Fowl's soft foam body has the 'weight,' and 'feel,' and 'odor' (when scent is injected) of a real bird which means a dog can be taught to hold and fetch it in yard training," Dokken points out. "Because the head and feet of the Dead Fowl are 'hard' plastic, any dog will automatically avoid putting it's mouth around those parts of the Dead Fowl bird and will instead naturally prefer the soft, more comfortable foam body."
"This way the dog' teaches himself' how to properly pick-up the DeadFowl in the center, a lesson that will carry over to fetching a real bird," Dokken points out. "For those dogs inclined to shake a game bird when retrieving it, the loose head on Dead Fowl will hit the dog on the muzzle when the shaking takes place.... Though this doesn't hurt the dog, the rap on the muzzle is hard enough to make the shaking experience unpleasant. Again, the dog teaches himself, in this case not to shake a bird, a lesson better learned on his own rather than being forced on him by a trainer," Dokken emphasizes.
Few gun dog owners have enough time to spend with their dogs while out hunting much less at home in those long months between hunting seasons. So, every minute training or exercising a gun dog is important. Getting the most out of these precious moments is more likely with the best equipment. All these "smarter dummies' need to be considered for that reason.
"A dummy is a dummy. And a dog doesn't care what it retrieves," according to one gun dog owner who had a loose and careless collection of home-made and commercially-manufactured "bumpers" that he threw when training and exercising his kennel full of hunting canines. "Dogs don't know the difference between a stick or one of those expensive "high-tech" synthetic gizmos when it comes to fetching up what I throw out for them," he added.
Given all the dogs he had, of both the retrieving/flushing and pointing breeds, I expected a more sophisticated and insightful understanding of modern dummies and the important characteristics that make each type so well suited to specific purposes. As gun dog owners, we can sometimes be a little reluctant to change our ways in regard to training and exercising our hunting dogs. And we can sometimes resist new developments in dummy design and in dummy use as just so much gimmickry and advertising hype to sell new products to gullible gun dog owners.
Despite any suspicions we may share, there are plenty of "smarter dummies" on the market, retrieving devices that have been created, developed, and manufactured by gun dog people who well know the needs of hunting canines when it comes to effective, efficient training methods and healthful regular physical activity."
Every gun dog owner needs a dummy, no matter what kind or breed of hunting dog that person may have because every gun dog can get some good out of a dummy. Whether used to improve retrieving skills or to give regular exercise, the right kind of dummy is an essential tool in every gun dog owner's training program and every canine health maintenance system. With all the "smarter dummies" now available and all the training and exercise programs to which they are adaptable, there is no acceptable excuse not to be using one or several of them to make your pooch a better hunter and healthier gun dog.

Jerry Thoms hails from Brookings, SD


Most of these training dummies are available at

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News May 2003
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
Maintained by Dennis Guldan e-mail
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