mine got out for the first time when he was about 10 months old. it is difficult at first, so i would really recommed that you go out by yourself or with just one other person who understands what is happening and is ok with it.
some other things to consider:
don't "gang shoot" around your dog until he is comfortable with hearing shots.
keep it positive..and keep him busy. i tried to only take shots that i KNEW would result in a dead bird. ie: sluicing teal at 20 feet. lol. that way the dog figured out that after the shot...came a retrive..and that was a good thing. soon he started looking when the guns came up and that helped him mark more birds.
anyway, there is tons of things to get advice on. just take it easy with him/her the first few times and then work into the bigger hunting scenarios as the dog is ready for them.
I hunted my dog last year in the upland field. This year I'm taking her to the duck blind and boat with me. Before you duck hunt with her, take her in the boat, set everything up the way it will be on opening day. This way you won't have to get her used to knew situations during duck season. Sure some will come up, but if you can eliminate most of them, it will be for the better.
I would try and do some dove hunting before season too. This is going to be my biggest practice for live hunting situations. It's alot easier to correct stuff on land while dove hunting, then in the water while duck hunting. Good Luck and remember you have plenty of time.
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