Gundog Dummies: The Different Types & Their Functions
One of the most instinctive and innate behaviours of a dog - and gundogs and working dogs in particular – is obviously to chase and retrieve something that has been thrown or moves ahead of them.
Naturally, this behaviour can be refined and trained via the use of a common ball. However, when it comes to seriously training your gundog in the retrieval of game animals, there are a number of specialised gundog dummies on the market that are worthy of your consideration.
From dummies in different sizes to match with your dog’s retrieval capabilities, as well as textures, designs and colours to help imitate game animals or enhance the game hunting environment. Here are just a few.
Canvas Gundog Dummies
These dummies are suitable for land-only. Dogs are naturally more inclined to it due to them being softer than plastic dummies, and they are excellent for holding scent. So, if you’re a gundog enthusiast who wants to condition their dog to respond to particular animal or game scents, this is the ideal type of dummy to coat in that scent.
Plastic Gundog Dummies
Suitable for both land and water, plastic dummies hold their colour and provide great visibility when throwing. Furthermore, plastic gundog dummies often come with ridges, intentionally designed for soft-mouthed dogs and discourages them from chewing it, as you would want when it comes to them holding birds or game.
Fur & Animal Imitation Dummies
For gundog training with hyper-realism, these dummies are the way to go. You can get dummies with complete or partial fur covering to remind and condition the dog towards real game animals.
Alternatively, you can go even further with more complete ‘animal-imitation’ dummies;
- Rabbit Dummies
- Duck Dummies
- Pheasant Dummies
- General ‘dead fowl’ Dummies
All of these are designed to physically resemble the animals/game a gundog is likely to pursue and/or be trained for retrieving.
The fun and popular training dummy for dogs. There are a number of ball dummy varieties – all are perfect for high-speed and long-distance throwing, which naturally makes hunting and retrieval more challenging for your dog, helping refine and improve its skills even further.
Although not a physical animal resemblance like the ‘imitation’ dummies listed above, the 3-part-hare dummy is an excellent conditioning/reminder dummy for your gundog. By picking up the central part of the dummy, with the other two sides hanging down from your dog’s mouth, it gives your dog the sense of carrying a real dead hare. Adding this sense of real hunting in their training can be invaluable for your dog.
As the name suggests, these dummies are designed with materials suitable for withstanding contact with water. And, with the oft-inevitability of real game prey landing in water, having a dummy that can replicate this action can be a good lesson for your dog.
These dummies are more so for the benefit of the dog-owner. They come with a toggle for longer launches, but by way of throwing the dummy longer and faster, it encourages a more challenging hunt training session for your dog.
Marking Dummies have a direct contrast of colours to give your dog the impression of movement, which in turn instills steadiness in your dog’s approach. These dummies are also heavier in weight, so youthful gundogs can grow accustomed to a heavier retrieve.