A I’m shooting in Scotland next month on an estuary near Inverness and the guide has told me some birds invariably need retrieving from water.
My dog’s a good swimmer but I am not sure how he will cope with a big bird in the water. Should I leave him at home?
The only way to find out is to take your dog out wildfowling with you and see how he fares.
I think you will be surprised how quickly he cottons on to things – a Labrador is an excellent wildfowling dog and they have loads of power in reserve to lift and bring big geese to hand.
Where he gets hold of the bird when he’s in the water isn’t really an issue here, it’s when he gets back on land that he will have to work out for himself where it needs to be gripped for easy carrying.
The more retrieves he gets, the sooner he will master the art – and he isn’t going to be able to do that back home and left in a kennel!
If you’re still unsure then go and buy a goose-sized training dummy and try him on that before the time comes to travel north.
I think, though, you will still find you cannot beat a retrieve or two on the real thing.