Smart Practices for using Dog Training Dummies

Whether you are a hunter training your dog to hunt or an owner who would like your dog to get involved with retrieval competitions, dummies are a tool that can be incorporated during training processes. Coastal Pet Products’ Water & Woods® collection offers a variety of training dummies, scents, and fowl trainers for any retriever training situation.

What are training dummies?

Training dummies are used when teaching dogs to retrieve. They are helpful for hunters who would like their hunting dogs to retrieve birds, or dog owners who want their dogs to be involved in competitions like dock diving.

Training dummies are good to use in repetitive drills to train a dog to handle objects at a distance. The dummies float encouraging dogs to get into the water to bring them back but are great for dry land situations as well. Vinyl dummies often have knobs, ridges, or grooves on them to make it easier for dogs to pick them up.

For more realistic training, there are dummies that are comparable to the size and firmness of a real bird. Our Water & Woods® collection offers foam fowl dog trainers that come in a variety of styles and sizes to assist dogs in learning how to properly pick up, carry, and hold game birds.

Does color matter?

Training dummies typically come in orange, white, or combination black and white varieties.

A white training dummy is great for the dog to see against a dark background like swampy water. An orange dummy is more for the dog owner, as dogs cannot see the color orange as well as humans can. Orange trainers are often used with scents to help train a dog to use its nose while retrieving instead of relying on sight only.

Owners and trainers should consider the training environment and overall goal when it comes to selecting training dummy colors.

Why are there different materials?

Training dummies come in vinyl, canvas, and foam. It is up to personal preference of the owner which material is used.

Vinyl is easy-to-clean for those muddy or swampy training sessions. Canvas training dummies are durable and the material can absorb natural scents or training scents. Foam fowl trainers are the most lifelike in feel and weight.                     

Should scent be used?

Scents are helpful in training a dog to hunt for a bird using their sense of smell when a real bird is not used in practice. Training scents can be used with all dummy types. Owners can simply apply scent to the vinyl or canvas dummy or inject it into a foam dummy. Depending on your hunting plans, Water & Woods® training scents are available in multiple options.

For owners just getting started with hunting or retrieval training, our Water & Woods® Training Kit has everything you need including an eight-page techniques booklet, canvas training dummy, training scent, multi-function dog whistle, leather lanyard and 25-foot nylon check cord.  

Training a retriever can be a rewarding experience for both dog and owner. Coastal Pet has all the products you need to start the training journey out on the right foot – or paw.