According to KEMPO, the Labrador Retriever is the second-best dog for hunting, as the name says itself, their main job is to retrieve shot animals and get them back to their handler. They were discovered when the British saw their agility in retrieving fish that escaped the net. Labradors were bred specially to hunt and retrieve birds and waterfowl.
The webbed paws help them become good swimmers, water-resistant skin keeps them warm in cold water, and the retrieval instincts, are the attributes that make Labrador retrievers good at duck hunting. All of this was the result of purposeful breeding over generations
Labradors are excellent bird dogs. They were bred to be sporting and sturdy working dogs, to fit in the environment, they have developed a thick fur that protects them from hot and cold weather, and the strength in their bones helps them to stand long hours of work. Labradors are intelligent, agile, and tough. These qualities are essentially makes them good bird dogs.
Apart from pheasants, ducks, and quail, Labrador retrievers can also be trained to help hunt deer, hogs, and squirrels. Their main job in hunting larger game is to track these animals' scents.
Labradors’ hunting style is based on:
As mentioned before, labs are capable of tracking scents from long distances. This is the reason why they are used by law enforcement for sniffing out drugs at the airports.
Often, the birds will tend to hide in marshy and tall-grassy areas, where the labs will track and scare them out as a signal for a clear shot.
Retrieving is the most common feature that makes them a famous dog. A Labrador will track the prey and bring it back to your hands without causing any additional damage to the prey.
Dogs naturally have the desire of chasing and capture small prey, some are very harsh depending on the breed. Labradors are likely to chase and kill a rabbit when they are not well socialized, but when they are, they would chase the rabbit with no urge to kill but to bring it back and safe to its owner's hands. This means he is a half prey drive dog.
The 4 basics steps to train a Labrador for hunting are:
Obedience is the most important step in every kind of dog training, the dog must understand and follow your commands in a positive way. It is important to play fetch or give-and-take games so the dog may learn to offer things to you, in a gentle way and straight from their mouth. As an example, you could use a duck fetch toy.
Though not all labs love water, to make labs good at duck hunting, you have to teach them to love water while they are still puppies. So they may love swimming after ducks when they are grown.
To get the labs used to gun’s loud noises, start by firing the gun far from them. Increase the gunfire volume over and over until they feel relaxed around them.
This is all about the balance on the boat as Labradors are large dogs and can easily tip over small boats. They need to learn how to maintain balance inside the boat while they are still puppies.