By Guy C. Billups
On a late season hunt John Murphy, trainer, Wildrose Texas, and I shot down two pairs of mallards on an icy morning. Captured above. June and Mojo were able to demonstrate the convenience of a double dog retrieve. Double dog is when two dogs are out in the field making retrieves simultaneously. They should not interfere with each other, switch birds or try to steal the other dog’s bird during the course of the retrieve. As with all advanced skills, there is an intentional progression during training to lead up to dog’s ability to execute the skill while out in the field on a hunt.
It all starts with group obedience work as young pups. Teaching the dogs at an early stage to work and stay focused among other dogs instead of seeing the other dogs as playmates. During this influential stage it is important to introduce the dog to group settings with group obedience work rather than allowing them to run around the yard playing tug of war with sticks.
As the distraction of other dogs diminishes, we can start doing trailing memories back to back, then work up to sending your dog as the other dog is coming back with a retrieve. In the beginning, as with any skill development, make haste slowly and stay successful. Using an older, experienced dog will help to eliminate any issues if your young pup decides to play instead of staying on job.
Once your starter can consistently run past another dog returning from a retrieve you are ready to starting adding distractions, from gunfire to birds until you are ready to put the new skills to work out in the field. All of your hunting buddies will surely appreciate the speed at which two dogs can clear the spread and get everyone back to hunting.
Guy C. Billups