How to train a Weimaraner for waterfowl hunting?

how to train a weimaraner for waterfowl hunting

How to train a Weimaraner for waterfowl hunting? The dog must willingly enter the water and handle all hunting requirements of waterfowl hunting, wild ducks and wild geese. As a specific type of hunting, because of the water that is a characteristic hunting terrain, it is necessary to train the dog to be ready for this type of hunting.

In order for the dog to properly and effectively learn what to do, the following steps must be performed:

  • Introducing the dog to the water
  • Aport from the water
  • Bringing a hidden aport from deep water
  • Working on the trail of live ducks in deep water
  • Search for terrain overgrown with aquatic vegetation

How to train a Weimaraner for waterfowl hunting?

The goal of the breed was to create one dog that could be used in all types of hunting.

The main reason is that the habitat is diminishing over time and the ability of hunters to breed more different dogs for different purposes is diminishing.

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Accordingly, Weimaraner is a dog that needs to successfully hunt birds in the field, small hairy game, wild boar, and other large game to successfully work the blood trail.

Introducing the dog to the water

One of the segments of Weimaraner’s extensive and versatile training is waterfowl hunting.

Considering that a dog is a terrestrial animal, water in the early days is an unknown terrain. The dog needs to become familiar with the water over time to properly and successfully complete all tasks.

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To be successful in the water, it is necessary to familiarize the dog with the water from the earliest days.

Weimaraner is, by nature and in my personal experience, a dog who loves water very much.

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However, care should be taken to ensure that the young dog is properly introduced into the water so as not to create fear that will later make it difficult for him to master the challenging tasks.

This practically means that from the moment you take the young dog, in addition to all other training, it should start with water training.

At the very beginning of the training, I would call the introduction to water.

After purchasing a dog, puppy, and period of habituation to the new environment, you should start training dogs.

From the very beginning, this training should focus on all the disciplines that a dog needs to practice hunting.

I will focus on training a dog to work in the water and will cover other types of training in separate articles.

Several conditions must be fulfilled before the dog, a young puppy is taken to the water.

The conditions to be fulfilled are the following:

  • the puppy must know the water (if it was in the water before),
  • must know the basic command “Come”
  • to respond to the name
  • must rejoice in the owner, ie must have gained the owner’s trust.

These are prerequisites for all other training sessions, but they are especially important for water.

The first outing of the water should be a game with a puppy in which it should enter the water in the most painless way.

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Be sure to choose the hottest part of the day and the terrain where the dog will gradually enter the water.

An adult dog already accustomed to water can also be of great benefit.

The puppy would follow him and overcome all fears and prejudices towards a different environment from the land to which he was already accustomed by birth.

The most important thing is to carry out this procedure gradually and without any coercion. The puppy will love the water and express all that it should have, and once described the word “water-loving”.

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Aport from the water

After completing the first step, it is necessary to start with concrete training of dogs for working in the water.

The first thing to do after getting into the water and swimming is to bring a favorite dog item, which is in the water.

The term “deep water” refers to the water in which a dog must swim in order to bring the desired object. With the combination of these actions, we also combine what the dog had to learn first, which is the Come and Sit commands.

In this way, we develop the reflex in the puppy to bring every object he catches to his owner. He needs to leave the item in front of the owner and sit down.

Of course, this is a roughly described process that a dog needs to do. However, each dog is an individual in its own right, and the mistakes that a dog makes when bringing objects from deep water need to be corrected in different ways.

A dog needs a wild duck scent to do its part of the job hunting. With the help of Duck Training Scent, you will teach your dog what the smell is and how to find a shot wild duck.

Now I would not look back at fixing the shortcomings and fixing the flaws as this is a special topic that I will cover later in one of the articles.

Mastering this first step is an introduction to the next more complex one, which would characterize as finding a discarded object in the water that the dog does not see.

What needs to be done when training dogs to bring aport out of deep water is to get the dog used to shoot from a hunting rifle.

This is done in the following way, gradually like everything else.

First step – starter gunshot

When a dog overcomes bringing objects out of the water and his desire to bring objects is high, a shot is introduced as an action. First from a suitable starter gun and then from a real hunting rifle.

When the dog is about halfway to the object, a shot is fired from the starter gun, paying close attention to the dog’s reaction.

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The dog is used to shooting before, and this step is just one upgrade.

In my experience, dogs respond very positively to a shot because they somehow instill the need to always look for the object after the shot. Later it will not be a favorite object but a shot bird.

Second step – Hunting rifle shot

The next step is firing a hunting rifle. Just like when firing a starter gun, it is fired from a hunting rifle when the dog is halfway to the thrown object, paying particular attention to his reaction.

For most dogs, firing a hunting rifle will not elicit any particular reaction since they have already adapted to the shot from a starter gun.

Mastering these first two steps also requires the next step, which is to shoot the water in the direction of the object to be brought.

While practicing this step, the object is thrown into the line of sight of the dog and the dog is commanded to go to get the object.

After the dog enters the water, it shoots in the direction of the thrown object, first much further behind it and while the dog is at the very entrance to the water.

Gradually the dog is allowed to enter the water deeper. The shooting distance is reduced to the point where the dog is halfway to the thrown object and the firing point is very close to the thrown object.

The dog should not have any reaction to this action except that it may accelerate swimming in the direction of the thrown object.

In this way, the dog is tested for fear of gunshots, which is a disqualifying defect in dogs that need to be bred.

The absence of fear of shooting is, in addition to calmness to shooting, crucial when young dogs are tested to determine their breeding value.

Bringing a hidden aport from deep water

Finding a thrown object in the water for the unseen or bringing a hidden aport from deep water is a discipline I would describe in the following way.

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Put the dog in a position where he cannot see the surface of the water.

We take our favorite item to bring and throw it into the water for some decent distance that the dog can’t see so easily from the shore and yet not too far for the dog to find.

After that, we take the dog and bring him to the shore, release him and command him “search for aport” or something similar that the dog will recognize as having to search for something lost.

At first, and depending on the dog’s handling, we can use a variety of aids, such as tossing small stones in the direction where the thrown object is.

We use this in combination with certain hand movements so that over time the dog can recognize the command given by hand.

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On this basis, it is possible to instruct the dog later in the water to find the object faster and easier.

This exercise is done first in open water and later made difficult by throwing the subject into deep water overgrown with vegetation.

At the very beginning of the exercise, it should be as easy as possible for the dog to find the object or game object.

In this way, we will develop the habit of looking for objects in the water rather than treating it as a place for swimming and for cooling.

This is where the handing over of the found object is perfected, and the habit of a sitting dog brings the object out of the water.

As in the first step, not all dogs will respond in the same way to assigned tasks, but as I said before, I will not refer to this text to correct the deficiency.

From my personal experience, I can say that if everything is done gradually and without coercion, dogs will be able to master the required tasks very easily.

This development is highly desirable as it creates a sense of satisfaction for the dog owners and gives them new strength to work even more.

During the training of the dog from my personal experience, it turned out very well that after mastering the grounds, instead of the object, the game is thrown into the water.

In this way, the dog develops and strengthens the will to work in the water.

Working on the trail of live ducks in deep water

The previous two disciplines are the foundation for the upgrade, which is the very top of training a dog to work in the water.

The main goal is to look for a live duck and work on its trail in the water.

The dog has already mastered the actions of having to get into the water and look for something. After finding, he has to bring the animal to the hunter and thus perform the entire task assigned to him.
Now the subject is moving, he swims, runs, can dive to fool the trail and the like.

To begin with, ducks are used that bind one foot to prevent them from escaping as quickly as feathers on their wings that are shortened so they cannot fly away.

Originally released near the shore, they were forced to walk as far away as possible and sheltered from the aquatic vegetation.

The dog, at that moment, is sheltered in a place where it cannot see the wild duck.

The dog is brought to the water and released into the water and ordered to search for a wild duck.

What the dog is looking for is a scent that the duck leaves on the water and which dog should start following it.

This tracking is an inherent trait and all my dogs I trained immediately began to follow the trail.

Of course, not all dogs are the same, and some individuals need help to understand what is required of them.

A little help is initially needed for the dog to understand what is required of him. After that, the dog should start using the sense of smell to accomplish the task required of him.

Of course, not all dogs are the same, and some individuals need help to understand what is required of them.

A little help is initially needed for the dog to understand what is required of him. After that, the dog should start using the sense of smell to accomplish the task required of him.

After catching the duck, the dog must bring it without injury to the owner and hand over, after which he takes a sitting position.

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Of course, this exercise also becomes difficult over time by releasing a duck to which the foot is no longer tied and by throwing it further away from the shore to make the trail it leaves more complicated to find.

In hunting this way with my dogs, I have found a large number of wounded wild ducks, which is the ultimate goal of any training we do with our Weimaraner.

Search for terrain overgrown with aquatic vegetation

There is one more discipline I want to address.

Searching for terrain overgrown with aquatic vegetation should be no problem as the dog has already been trained on water.

He was taught to seek only now that the terrain was combined and overgrown with vegetation and the water was periodically deep, shallow, …

In fact, this type of training is also the first practical hunt for a bar game where there are fields covered with vegetation that are rich in a game.

Because they are underwater we are not able to visit them on foot, but that is why our faithful helpers are.

This type of bar game hunting is probably the most interesting and dynamic, so it will be a real pleasure for both the dog and the owner, especially if there is enough game in the area.

Finally, I would like to point out that all of the above is the basis for passing the breeding exams, which was also prescribed by the Weimar Bird Club’s breeding club.

Dogs should be able to master this by the age of two and confirm it in the autumn breeding exam, where working on the water is practically half of that exam.

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It certainly represents a combination of both the work and skills of the owner and the dog’s innate traits.

So one gets a general picture of that dog who will be a faithful helper to its owner for many years afterward.

In the end, I can say from my personal experience that working with dogs is a certain obligation but also a great pleasure.

Dogs are getting better every day and I, as an owner, will be filled with a sense of satisfaction after successfully training.

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