Can Labrador Retrievers Hunt? Training Your Lab For The Field

People have been using various dog breeds for hunting for a long time. But are Labradors good hunters? And how do you train Labs to hunt?

Can Labradors Hunt 1 Can Labrador Retrievers Hunt? Training Your Lab For The Field

Can Labradors Hunt?

Labrador Retrievers are intended to be hunting dogs. They can operate for long periods in various hunting environments, notably waterfowl and game hunting, and are excellent Retrievers. In both the Retriever Hunting Tests and Retriever Field Trials, Labradors consistently place highly.

We spoke to various hunting dog training experts to find out how to choose a hunting Labrador Retriever puppy. We also found out about how to train a Hunting Lab. Let us get into more detail about our findings in the following sections.

How to Choose an Excellent Labrador Hunting Puppy?

Labrador Retrievers are not only great family dogs, but they can be invaluable when hunting. A Lab might be an excellent option if you are a parent looking to adopt a hunting dog.

Before you can start training your puppy, you must pick the right one. Yes, we all know how careful and responsible we must be when selecting a puppy. But did you know you have to look for specific things when adopting a Labrador puppy that you will train and take hunting?

The Labrador Retriever pup should be chosen based on its history and general health. 

Look for a long-established, registered breeder that only provides puppies from Labs that have been line-bred for hunting for many generations if you are seeking a hunting Labrador that is all of those mentioned above and straightforward to train, motivated, committed, and focused.

Even though there may be a significant Labrador price difference, you will get a Lab that adores you, enjoys hunting, and is a willing and rapid learner.

 Something less is only a companion; you should never take dog hunting.

Consult with the breeder, confirm licenses and paperwork, and enquire about hunting characteristics and known hereditary health issues in the ancestry of your potential new Retriever.

Now that you know how to choose the right Labrador Retriever puppy for hunting, the next step is training them.

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Training Your Labrador Hunting Puppy?

No matter the training stage of your Labrador Retriever, it is essential to note that different dogs, even hunting ones, respond differently to training. Since each dog is unique, you must find ways to motivate your Lab and make the entire training experience pleasurable.

Doing so will ensure they are more motivated to learn and please; thus, the training will take a shorter time.

Be consistent with training and always take the required time for your dog to understand the commands and training before moving to the next phase.

Training should be broken down into several parts to make it easy on the dog and achieve favorable results:

Basic Obedience Training

Before you can start training your dog to hunt, you must perform obedience training. The biggest weakness is the lack of attention to obedience and calmness in the typical hunter’s gundog training regimen.

You should start basic obedience training early in your Labrador Retriever’s life. Take the puppy on outings as early as possible to teach and practice fundamental commands like “Sit,” “Still,” and “Stay.” The basis for future hunt training will be laid by these orders.

After basic obedience training, give your dog many opportunities to play in the water to help him grow accustomed to it. 

Install a kiddie pool in your backyard, or take the Labrador Retriever to the shore. Additionally, bring your dog to the gun range (when you are carrying out target practice) so that it can become accustomed to the sound of gunshots. Doing this will ensure gunshot sounds do not rattle the dog during hunting.

Training The Lab to Hunt

Teach the dog to come when called or given another instruction by using a specific term. Maintain this exercise regimen. Emphasize to your Labrador Retriever that they are only supposed to retrieve the prey after they hear the send command.

You do not have to use the send command. There are dog parents that will choose a different phrase. 

For example, consider utilizing another phrase as the retrieve cue if your Lab’s name starts with “S.” The “S” pronunciation of a reinforcing obedience order, like Stay or Send, may be mistaken for the Lab’s name. This tends to happen, especially if they anxiously await a send command to retrieve the prey.

Use scented dummies to help your dog locate and return the dummy birds during training hunts. Scents can be applied externally or injected directly into the dummy.

Decoys should be placed far away from the dog, and you need to praise them for focusing on the dummies instead than the decoys.

This teaches the Labrador Retriever to disregard other birds and animals and to concentrate only on the target during an actual hunt.

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Advanced Training for Your Hunting Lab

Proceed forward with water training after your dog is proficient at collecting dummy birds from the ground.

Throw a fresh dummy or teaching object into the water while giving your dog instructions to find and recover it. Repeat as often as necessary, and reward successful behavior.

Before an actual hunt, consider bringing the dog on a practice hunt to identify any weak points. If you recognize these weak points, you should train your dog so that they become even better.

Before taking the dog out hunting, ensure that they are adequately trained and can follow all the commands you will use during the session. 

This will also provide a smoother and more enjoyable hunting experience for you and your Labrador Retriever. It will also limit the risk of harm or injury to your dog, particularly when hunting in the wild.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a puppy from a line-bred for hunting.
  • Ensure you know the right way of training the dog.
  • If you cannot do the training on your own, you can seek the help of a professional dog trainer.
  • Ensure your Lab is well-trained before you take them out for an actual hunting session. 

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