4. Introduce new gear to your hunting retriever
Surprises are great if you're talking about birthday gifts or Halloween pranks, but not so much when it comes to new gear for your waterfowl retriever.
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"If you've picked up any new hunting gear for your dog, be sure to introduce him to it prior to the season," says Clint Roby, an Avery Pro-Staff member, dog trainer and waterfowl hunter from Missouri. "This will eliminate any confusion when hunting season rolls around."
Roby says introducing a new layout blind or dog stand to your retriever can also be the perfect time to reinforce commands essential to maintaining peace in the duck blind.
What you don't want, Roby says, is to have opening morning turn into a training session.
"There are enough other distracting activities going on in the field that you don't want to be fighting your dog over something new," says Roby. "These are issues that can be eliminated before the season begins."