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Amazing Retriever Facts

Here's a look at several interesting facts that explain how dogs perceive the world and why they behave the way they do.

Saying Goodbye

If there are downsides to owning a retriever, the most painful occurs on the day when one has to say goodbye for the last time. This is never easy, regardless of the circumstance.

Gradual conditioning and proper nutrition can help avoid exertional rhabdomyolysis in duck dogs

Exertional rhabdomyolysis, also commonly referred to as tying up, Monday morning sickness and muscle cramps, is the muscle cell imbalance between energy needed and what is in stores. Keeping your duck dog active and in ideal body condition, as well as ensuring he or she receives proper nutrition, can help avoid the condition.

Retrievers: The Bottom Line

The decision to get a new retriever is seldom merely a matter of weighing the costs versus the benefits. Some folks can't imagine living without a dog, much less hunting without one. The choice often comes down to heartstrings as much as it does to purse strings. Nevertheless, all prospective dog owners should understand that the investment they're about to make will be significant. Here's a rundown of just some of the expenses you're likely to incur if you decide to take the plunge and get a new dog this spring.

Reducing Stress to Optimize Performance in the Field for Retrievers

As the owner of a hardworking dog bracing for the upcoming Light Goose Conservation Order season, you know that he is prone to stress from days spent retrieving in the field. The duration and intensity at which your dog retrieves, combined with cold weather, travel and exposure to other dogs in a new environment, are contributing factors to this natural stress that challenges a dog's gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Keeping Retrievers at a Healthy Weight Helps Prevent Joint Disease

Waterfowling is a demanding, high-energy sport, even for well-conditioned retrievers. Proper nutrition directly impacts a dog's performance in the marshes. By keeping your retriever at a healthy weight, you help prevent joint disease so that your dog can give you his or her all from the duck blind.

Good Manners

Helpful tips on how to raise a well-behaved retriever

Super Sniffers

Many years ago I had a German short-haired pointer named Nick. He was the runt of the litter, but he grew up to become 65 pounds of solid muscle. We were living in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago at the time, and I was a member of a small duck club that just happened to share a property line with a commercial put-and-take upland bird hunting operation. Pheasants, quail, and chukars that eluded the day-shooters sometimes ended up on the duck club property, where they became fair game.

Performance Dog Foods Give Retrievers Energy for Waterfowling

Waterfowling is a high-energy sport – especially for retrievers

Six Essential Commands for Retrievers

Here's a brief primer on 6 basic commands that will help set the stage for your retriever's future training and hunting success:

Photos: Duck Dogs of the 2014-2015 Waterfowl Season

This collection of waterfowl hunting dog images from the 2014-2015 season is an excellent display of a duck dog's passion for the field.

Cold-Weather Retriever Care

Most retrievers aren't afraid of cold weather and will throw caution to the brisk wind when hunting waterfowl, fetching birds in icy water and braving even the harshest elements. Properly conditioned duck dogs are built for the cold.

Building a retriever blind bag

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels explains how to build a blind bag for your retriever.

Top Ten Retrievers

Of all the unanswered questions about the history of waterfowl hunting, the most intriguing mystery involves retrievers. When, how, and where, exactly, did today's duck dogs first arrive on the waterfowling scene? Scholars have spent years researching the origins of just about every sporting breed in existence. Here's an exploration of 10 of the most popular retriever breeds, their histories, and the respective attributes that make them valued hunting partners and family pets. (By Gary Koehler)

Field Notes: Dog Blinds

Dog trainer Mike Stewart explains how to build a blind to keep your retriever hidden and comfortable. Visit ducks.org/DUTV for other DU TV Better Waterfowling Tips and more.

9 Essentials for Traveling with Your Retriever

Reduce stress on your retriever by following these nine tips.

Retriever Training Tip: Nutrition Essentials

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels discusses the nutrition essentials for an active gun dog. Proper nutrition for your hunting dog can impact performance in the field.

Off to a Good Start

Here's how to introduce a young retriever to the basics of waterfowling. By Gary Koehler.

Retriever Rehab

Expert advice on how you can get your older retriever back in top form in time for hunting season.

Pure Goldens

Golden retrievers have a long history as splendid gun dogs. By Gary Koehler.

Drake the DU Dog: A First in Conservation and Waterfowling

More than two-thirds of Ducks Unlimited members own dogs, but as the organization's official mascot for 13 years, Drake belonged to every DU member. Along with his owner and trainer, Mike Stewart, Drake regularly appeared on Ducks Unlimited Television (DU TV) and ducks.org. Stewart and Drake traveled widely, hunting waterfowl across the United States and Canada and attending numerous DU national conventions, outdoor festivals and other events.

Ducks Unlimited K9 Club

Enroll your dog in the all new Ducks Unlimited K9 Club, and he will be part of an organization committed to ensuring that the future of waterfowl hunting is brighter for generations to come.

Retriever Training: Pigeons on a String

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels explains how he uses live pigeons on a string to teach his retrievers basic obedience, steadiness and crucial hunting skills.

Preventing Hard Mouth

Advance preparation is the best way to keep your retriever from mangling birds

Favorite DU Photos: May 2013

Member photos of the day from the month of May

Retriever Training: Shed hunting

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels explains how to get your retriever to find shed antlers.

Retriever Training: Using Bird Feathers

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels explains how to use real bird feathers to train your retriever.

WF360 Retriever Photo Contest

AJ Layton's photo received the most votes in this year's WF360/Winchester Ammunition Retriever Photo Contest and will receive a prize package worth $1,000 from Winchester.

Retriever Training: Finding birds deep in the woods

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels demonstrates retriever training tips for your dog. Featuring Deke the DU Dog.

Retrievers: Remote Control

The ability to direct your retriever with hand signals is invaluable in the field

Retriever Training: Getting your dog to focus

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels offers trainers a few lessons in getting your retriever to focus on you for commands.

Retriever Training: Look to the sky

Mike Stewart, of Wildrose Kennels explains how he trained Deke the DU dog, to look towards the sky for birds.

Canine Communicators

Understanding, then applying the principles of canine communication is fundamental to achieving performance, compatibility, and excellent behaviors in any dog, whether it is for sport, working, or family companionship.

Retriever Training: Steadiness on a Stick

Mike Stewart from Wildrose Kennels explains how he trained Deke, the DU dog, on steadiness by using a pigeon on a stick.

Retriever Training: Deke versus the Heat

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels provides tips for keeping your dog from overheating during summer training exercises. Keep your hunting partner cool while getting ready for opening day with the help of Wildrose and Deke the DU Dog.

Retrievers: Retrieving to Hand

Expert advice to prevent your dog from stopping short or dallying during bird delivery

Tips to Shoot Quality Retriever Photos

Shooting quality retriever images takes knowledge, skill and cooperation between dog and photographer.

Retrievers: Hazards Afield

During the late season, protect your retriever by teaching him to be aware of likely hazards.

Retriever Training: Working a Lower Stand

Mike Stewart, Wildrose Kennels, explains how to get your retriever ready to hunt a dog stand, beginning with a lower-level stand.

Retriever Training: Steadiness

Mike Stewart with Deke, the DU Dog explains an enjoyable way to teach steadiness.

Preseason Retriever Conditioning Tips

Even with opening day fast approaching, it's not too late to get your dog in top shape

Retrievers: Healthy Choices

Developing a sensible routine will help keep your retriever in top condition

Picture Perfect

Stunning images from the winners of our 2nd annual Ducks Unlimited magazine photo contest

2011 Honorable Mention Retriever Entries

Enjoy the Honorable Mention entries from the Retriever category in the 2nd Annual DU Member Photo Contest for 2011.

Retrievers: All in Good Time

Chris Akin of Webb Footed Kennels explains that patience is key a virtue when training a young dog.

Ducks Unlimited Hunting Dogs Screensaver

We hope you enjoy the Ducks Unlimited hunting dogs screensaver, celebrating those loyal canine companions that follow us each morning into the field.

Photo Essay: Retrievers

A photographic tribute to our favorite hunting companions from the 2013-2014 waterfowl season

Picking the Right Retriever

Retrievers come in all shapes and sizes. Temperament and trainability also vary from breed to breed. Think about your lifestyle, and exactly what you are looking for in a retriever, before taking the plunge and purchasing a waterfowl-hunting dog. This simple exercise could save you considerable anxiety later on.

Dangers of Dogs and Ice

Having your retriever prepared for icy hunting conditions will help you and your dog avoid the dangers of ice.

Fetching Divers on Big Water

Diving ducks are incredibly tough birds. This is when a retriever is an invaluable asset.

Retriever Training

Tips, tactics, video and more from expert dog trainers. Your ultimate resource for retriever training tips.

A Lesson in Limber Tail

Most of the time, hunters can tell when their dog needs to stop, but this troublesome condition seems to show no signs in the field. Learn more about limber tail.

Air Travel With Your Retriever

For any hunter traveling to hunt this season, it's important to be prepared for airline travel with waterfowl dogs. Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels shares essentials tips for making sure you and your dog make it to your favorite hunting destination this season.

Retriever Training Video Tips

Mike Stewart, owner of Wildrose Kennels in Oxford, Mississippi, demonstrates retriever training tips in this video series starring Deke the DU Dog.

Shooting Dogs...With a Camera

Getting a few good photos of your best friend can add to the great memories of your hunt.

River Dogs

Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels outlines advice for developing and training your river-hunting retriever.

Summer Drills for Retrievers

The months leading up to opening day provide time to hone your retriever's skills. Gary Koehler provides diagrams and tips for summertime training drills for your retriever.

Duck Dogs and Doves

Warm weather requires handlers to use common sense when dove hunting with their retrievers.

New DU Dog Has a Name!

Offiicial announcement of the new DU dog's name: Deke, chosen from 3,500 submissions.

Pre-Season Training Tips

A summer workout program will help get your dog ready for duck season

Gun Dog Gear

Products that will improve your retriever's performance this season

10 Retriever Tune-Up Tips

Prepare your dog for the season and keep him sharp all year

Summer Retriever Training: Avoid Heat Stroke

Understanding how to avoid heat stroke and what to do in case of emergency can make all the difference when training your dog through the hot summer months.

Retriever Training in Summer

Take different approaches as the mercury rises this summer

Retriever Training: What Not to Do

11 things to avoid during training

10 Tips to Prepare Your Dog Hunting Season

With hunting season just around the corner, it's important to make sure our retrievers are ready for action. The following is a brief refresher course, per Mike Stewart's instruction, on how you might start readying your dog for what everyone hopes to be a banner hunting season. Most tips best apply to retrievers that have had at least some previous training.

Four Common Problems and Solutions in Dog Training

These four tips will help your dog overcome common problems during training.

Canine Encounters of the Wrong Kind

What to do if your dog gets sprayed, quilled or bitten

Adding Polish and Style

Instilling confidence in your dog during training will result in top performance in the field.

The Essential Golden Retriever

Whether in the duck blind, field-trialing, or competing in hunt tests, this breed is more than capable of holding its own

Better Blind Retrieves

One trainer insists that straight lines are essential

The Unholy Time Schedule

One of the biggest mistakes a dog owner can make is being too rigid in training

Retriever Training Plan

Make a plan and constantly evaluate

5 Key Points for Training Your Retriever

The most common deficiency in the average hunter's gundog training program is a lack of emphasis on obedience and steadiness.

The Top Ten Practices That Interfere with Training

Avoid these major culprits

Puppy Selection Tips

How to select the best pup from a litter

Introducing Pups to Guns

Have a friend with a dog help show your pup the ropes when it comes to guns and shooting.

Delivery to Hand

Develop a gundog that always delivers undamaged birds to hand

Steadying the Retriever

Among the most important attributes of a quality retriever is steadiness to shot and fall of game.

Prepare Your Retriever for Duck Hunting

Too often we don't think ahead and expose our dogs to these normal hunting conditions. And it costs us. You don't want to be training during a hunt. You want your dog at peak performance at all times during the hunt.

10 Tips for Starting out on the Right Paw

Get Rover Ready for Duck Season

Puttin' on the Polish

The development of the polished retriever is largely a factor of time invested in a dog of average or above-average aptitude.

10 Pitfalls in Retriever Training

Top pitfalls trainers face and how to correct them

Marking off the Gun

It has been said that great markers are born, but the marking skills of any gundog can be enhanced through practice.

Marking Enhancement

Among the most valued skills of a retriever is his ability to effectively mark fallen game

Tips on Caring for Your Senior Dog

A senior dog doesn't equal a slow dog; there are merely a few more precautions you can take.

Balance in Training

Successful training methodology involves balance in its structure.

4 Fundamentals of Blind Retrieves

One of the most exhilarating and rewarding aspects of developing a finished waterfowl retriever is training the dog to run blinds, that is to pick up birds the dog didn't see fall.

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