"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
"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,"
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 Guldans.com