Preparation for Hunting: Boats, Decoys, and Calls

Preparation for Hunting: Boats, Decoys, and Calls

Hunting always comes sooner than you expect. In order to get your dog ready for hunting, remember to spend some time doing specific training. Here are some ways to prepare your dog for hunting using decoys, boats, and calls.


Spend some time each day making your dog sit and stay. Walk a certain distance and make him come to you. Do this repeatedly at different distances to reinforce the mentality he should have during hunting.


Next, have him stay as you throw decoys. It’s important for him to be obedient and listen to your command before retrieving. Once he has retrieved it, make him come back to you. Always praise him, maybe even give him a treat, and make him feel appreciated.

Before you actually go hunting, take him on many trial runs. Expose your dog to the environment and surroundings that he will experience during the real hunt. Bring the decoys and have them retrieve them from the water and bring them back to you on shore.

Boat Hunting

If you’re going to be hunting out of a specific boat, give him the tour. Make your dog feel comfortable getting in and out of the boat on and off the water. It’s important for him to feel safe in the boat as well as coming back to it.

Before you have him retrieve from the boat while on the water, park the boat on land near the water. Have him get in and out safely while casting decoys. Once he is comfortable with his step, you can move the boat slightly into the water.

Once in the water, the boat is going to be less steady. Make sure the dog is aware of the sudden movements a boat can make. Have him jump in and out of the boat in shallow water before fully emerging him into the hunt.

One thing to remember is making sure your dog understands when it is okay to jump out of the boat. Many dogs get excited and jump at the wrong time. Training on land is key to making sure your dog only retrieves when he is told.

Use of Calls

Your dog is going to hear a duck or goose call before the gunshot. Make sure he isn’t afraid of gunfire and associates that sound with an action. Make sure you perform the duck or goose call before the fire and command.

While on the water, teach your dog to understand the sound of a duck or goose call. Make sure he knows what the sound means before the hunt. You should blow the call before he retrieves decoys from the water so he can associate the sound with the object.

Training your dog for hunting season is a process. You can make sure your dog is retrieving ready from lots of practice on land, in the boat, and on the water. Make sure he knows the sights, sounds, and the routine of his job. Retrieving can be both a rewarding experience for both you and your dog.

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