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Author Topic: When to retire a bird dog  (Read 1040 times)

Offline Labs07

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When to retire a bird dog
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:14:13 AM »
So this was my dogs 10th year in the fields with me.  He is 11 now and still has lots of drive but is much slower than years past.... he has some trouble getting out of stream beds now and needs some help with that from time to time.  He is still in very good shape but doesn't recover very quickly from hunts anymore.  Just looking for some ages of dogs that you've retired in the past.  Thanks all!

Offline GoBeavs85

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 10:20:32 AM »
Great question! Looking forward to the responses.

I could see changing how long you hunt him and being careful about the terrain you take him to.


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Offline Special T

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 10:21:06 AM »
I think your hunting buddy is now a fair weather hunter.. fields, shallow ponds and moderate weather. He probably can accompany you on a few early season outings next year if you keep his weight in check, keep up on the glucosamine and such. My hunting buddy had to do that this year, so we have been hunting my dog, whom is getting long in the tooth at 8. Fortunately our other hunting partner has a 2 year old laberdudle whom is getting the hang of it. Hopefully she will be in her prime by the time I have to start over.

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Offline vandeman17

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 10:26:00 AM »
We started phasing out my folk's (mainly mine) bird dog when she was 8 and she was completely done by 12 or so. When we saw that she started to struggle a little bit and didn't recover as well, we just became more picky about the type of hunts we would take her on and how often. Towards the end, the only hunts she went on were with short hikes, easy swims and plenty of recovery time. She is now 2 months short of her 16th birthday and still going.
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Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 10:31:33 AM »
As you know some of it is breed dependent. My Brit is 10 and does well but has slowed down. He still does strong on our hikes but next grouse season it will not be an all day hunt like he's used to.

Offline BIGDOG253

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 10:37:44 AM »
I hunted with an 11 year old black lab this weekend in Othello. Grey faced an all, she had as much energy as a young pup. The guide said she hunts almost everyday and usually pretty tired by the end of the day, but the next morning she is excited and energized for the next hunt. I was very impressed with her, I think she has another year or two left before she is retired. We hunted for about 3-4 hours in 30 degree weather, you could notice her slowing down towards the end of the hunt, but she did retrieve 21 birds :)

Offline Johnb317

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 11:41:59 AM »
My labs started to slow down around 10 if memory serves. 
We did mostly upland, i just watched her and headed in when she was pooped.
Btw I carry doggie energy bars that I reward her with during the hunt.   
Old enough to know better.
Young enough to go for it.

Offline Labs07

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 02:27:12 PM »
Great information all!  Its evident that it is time to slow way down.... the good news is that I have slowed down too!  What are doggie energy bars? 

Offline GoBeavs85

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 05:51:33 PM »
My labs started to slow down around 10 if memory serves. 
We did mostly upland, i just watched her and headed in when she was pooped.
Btw I carry doggie energy bars that I reward her with during the hunt.

Do you feel they help? I always hear to hunt your dog on an empty stomach. They metabolize so differently than humans. But I always want to give mine a good snack to help giver her a little pick me up. Curious if you notice a little bump in energy after the snack or if it just makes you feel better. I sometimes give a little meat snack just because I feel bad hunting her hard on an empty stomach.


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Offline TVHunts

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 06:07:06 PM »
What a great question and a lot of interesting answers. 

My 68# female lab is 7 and not slowed yet.  But, I know it is coming soon enough.  Seems like at the 14-16 mile mark for her on her gps she is getting tired, we do all upland hunting.  At that mileage I have done around 5-7 miles myself and, by then I am getting a little tired and we head for the truck.  Throw a crippled bird chase into that mix and she tires quicker.  I am thinking next year is her last solid year and from there she will slowly go down hill, how fast is the question?   But, I have hunted with solid 10 year old labs for upland as well.  Genetics and weight play a huge role I think. 





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Offline HaydenHunter

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 07:13:08 AM »
\I carry doggie energy bars that I reward her with during the hunt.   


That's a great idea!

Offline vandeman17

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 08:21:04 AM »
My labs started to slow down around 10 if memory serves. 
We did mostly upland, i just watched her and headed in when she was pooped.
Btw I carry doggie energy bars that I reward her with during the hunt.

Do you feel they help? I always hear to hunt your dog on an empty stomach. They metabolize so differently than humans. But I always want to give mine a good snack to help giver her a little pick me up. Curious if you notice a little bump in energy after the snack or if it just makes you feel better. I sometimes give a little meat snack just because I feel bad hunting her hard on an empty stomach.


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I always go with a later than normal supper, a small snack before I leave the house in the morning and then she eats when we are done hunting.
" I have hunted almost every day of my life, the rest have been wasted"

Offline Johnb317

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 11:02:36 AM »
Last doggie energy bar I used was made by Purina.  Got it at the local pet store
I just cut it in pieces and would reward my lab as we hunted. 
She seemed to last a little longer.   
Also good to keep your dog hydrated, as we, and our dogs get older itís wise to stay on top of food/water intake   
Old enough to know better.
Young enough to go for it.

Offline eastsidemallard74

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2018, 11:11:30 AM »
My buddy just retired his after 15yrs, a yellow lab. Dog was deaf so it was an adventure getting her when your in big corn of ND, but that dog would always show up with birds in its mouth. She hunted waterfowl last season like a champ also. Than he had to put her down this summer.

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: When to retire a bird dog
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2018, 11:32:39 AM »
Probably one of his toughest things to do.

 

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