Hunting Q & A

Should I leave my lab at home late in the season?

Should I leave my lab at home late in the season?

Q: My lab really enjoys waterfowl hunting and is a determined retriever. Is there a point in the late season, due to ice or cold weather, when I should leave him at home for his own safety? -Mike Bisping

A: Great question and I appreciate you being concerned about your lab.

In my experience most larger retriever breeds will do well under some pretty tough conditions, but handlers need to take great care in watching the dog and not sending dogs into dangerous conditions. I, for one example, will not work my dog in extremely cold river situations where current, and ice flows can be a problem.

Also, I use a neoprene vest on my dog almost all year now, recognizing the benefits of flotation and extra warmth the vest provides.

In addition all dogs handle conditions differently and hunters need to pay attention to signs that the dog may be getting tired and cold, and either cut the hunt short or make retrieves another way. We do have a responsibility to be careful of the conditions our dogs are working in and make sure that we take care of them!

Good hunting!

—John Devney