How to train Labs to hunt

Did you know that the Labrador Retriever, or Lab for short, is the most popular breed of dog in the world!  Labs are particularly intelligent and gentle , making them popular pets in many countries, and their ability to learn quickly has also made them a popular breed for assisting those with disabilities. However, the Lab is actually a retriever and a hunting dog. For those who enjoy hunting water fowl, such as ducks and geese, or those who enjoy hunting upland birds, such as quail or pheasant, the Lab can not be matched. All it takes is a little training and you will have a Lab that is both a loyal companion and an anxious hunting partner.  Here are six easy steps on how to train Labs to hunt.

Select your puppy. Although adult Labs can be secure, it is helpful to obtain your dog at a very young age so that it will develop a stronger bond and loyalty to you. Even more important in your selection is the background of the puppy. Puppies that are born from Labs that have been house pets for generations are less likely to develop hunting skills than a puppy who comes from stock that actively hunts.

  • Step 2

    Begin basic obedience training for your dog at an early age. Sit and heel are probably the single most important commands for your dog to learn. It is difficult to hunt when your dog is roaming the area. Your Lab should learn to sit in place until it is time to retrieve a bird. This will not only make your hunting easier, but will make it easier for your Lab to spot where the falling birds land.

    Familiarize your puppy with water from an early age. As a puppy, teach your dog to play in a child’s wading pool, and reward that play time with a treat. Your Lab should learn to think of the water as a fun place to be and develop a natural desire to be in the water. What starts at a wading pool as a small puppy will continue on to have your Lab swimming in large rivers and lakes as an adult dog.

    Train your Lab to not be gun shy. Since you will be using your Lab for hunting, it is important to get the dog use to guns being fired so that he will not be frightened when on a hunt. Simply take your Lab with you when you go target practicing, from the time that the Lab is still a puppy. The firing may be someone frightening to the animal at first, but it doesn’t take very long before the Lab becomes use to the sound and stops reacting to it.

  • Use dummies with bird scent for the type of fowl you normally hunt. You can use a launcher to toss the dummies, starting out with short distances, then farther. It may help to start in grassy areas where your Lab will need to use a larger degree of scent to home in on the dummies, and then move to water retrieval after your Lab can find and retrieve dummies on land.

    Create simulated hunts with your dog during the off season. Using dummies during the off season, you can launch the dummies and then fire around of ammunition to signal your Lab to retrieve the dummy. Performing in situational training scenarios will hone your Lab’s hunting instincts and help him to perform like a seasoned pro when performing in an actual hunt. It is important to train as often as you can, particularly in the time leading up to your Lab’s first real hunt.
    Wow, could training your lab to hunt be any easier than six easy steps?   It is hard to belive that those six easy steps can have your Labrador retreiver a great hunter in no time,  I hope you have lots of  love, care, and most of all FUN training your lab.    Thanks,  Adam


    2 Responses to “How to train Labs to hunt”

    1. mallgirl Says:

      I’ll have to try this! The other day there was a bird on our diveway, Jed had to get down really low, and creep towards it. He never got it, but he was close!

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