gear guide for spring training
04-09-213 mins read
Great retrievers are built in the offseason, and proper gear can help you make the most of spring training with your dog. So we turned to Bob Owens of Lone Duck Outfitters & Kennels for his recommendations on gear.
Training Tips

Gun Dog Training Equipment

Spring is in the air and if you’re spending half the time thinking about turkey season, the other half is probably spent thinking about spring training. Plus, if you’re like me, then you want to be as prepared as possible with the most effective gear to help with your gun dog training. Because of that, I put together a gear guide for anyone looking to boost their spring training this season.

Bumpers

One question I always receive is what kind of bumpers do I prefer to use when training. If you’re going to invest in bumpers, I’d highly suggest purchasing three-inch bumpers: 6 black and white for marks and 6 orange for blinds. I prefer the three-inch bumpers because they’re easier to see at a distance. Plus, they’re closest in size to carrying a real duck!

Dog Stands

Adding realistic scenarios to training is extremely important when preparing your dog, so it’s great to incorporate a dog stand. Personally, I keep a Momarsh Final Stand in the dog trailer so each dog is accustomed to working from a dog stand, as they might in the field. After trying several dog stands, I’ve found this to be the most durable and steady stand currently available, no matter what breed of dog is perched on top.

Pro Tip: Live birds are ideal for teaching your dog. You can order various species of game birds from this website and add more realism to your training.

Wingers

Most people train their dog by themselves and that means they’re throwing bumpers from their side, which can limit how far the dog gets to retrieve. If you’re constantly tossing bumpers from your side, rather than having your dog look out and see it fall from a longer distance, the dog will likely break down early and begin hunting for the bumper around 35-40 yards because it only gets retrieves from that distance. 

How do we fix this: the Zinger Winger. These handy training tools slingshot bumpers, birds or dokkens into the air using a remote control so you can time your mark. You can also get Thunder Launchers, but I prefer Wingers because then I’m not limited to only throwing bumpers.

A Dependable E collar

While some trainers choose not to use an e collar system for various reasons, I find them to be an invaluable training tool, if used properly. Personally, I’ve used Dogtra collars for over a decade now and they’re extremely reliable. They’re easy to use and the level of stimulation used to which you correct the dog can be scaled. Since every dog is different, the ability to change their stimulation levels while knowing that the stimulation will be precise each time, is ideal.

Pro Tip: Sportdog has a pealess whistle that’s ideal for training because it doesn’t freeze in extreme weather.

A Steady Tab

These are super helpful during training and you can even make a steady tab at home. Steady tabs are six inch leashes meant to be a handle in case the dog breaks after a mark is thrown. Why can’t you just hold their collar? Because you want them to be patient and if they feel like you’re holding them back, they’ll lean into it and want to pull even more. So, holding a loose steady tab attached to the dog’s collar is extremely helpful, especially when training a younger or inexperienced dog.

Primer Pistol

Many people forget these when training their dog because it’s one more item to buy, but I’d highly recommend one to anyone who is serious about gun dog training. Primer pistols can help to properly introduce your dog to gunfire but also help add realism to a training scenario.

Ultimately, the best gear you can have ready for spring training is a well-defined plan that you’re committed to (it’s even free!). Every single dog is unique and therefore, requires a unique training plan. Use your plan to build confidence through positive experiences with your dog and slowly build your pile of training gear over time. 

A Safe Dog Kennel

Last but not least, a sturdy, safe kennel is ideal for any dog. In fact, you should choose the safest dog kennel for your truck, which is why I always recommend these dog kennels for my clients. Since the kennels are double-wall rotomolded, I feel comfortable putting my dog inside them when I’m traveling, whether it be a short ride to the vet or a long haul down the east coast.

Bob Owens from Lone Duck Outfitters & Kennels

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G1™ KENNEL
Regular price
499
Sale price
499.00
5 Star Crash Tested. The original.
Double-Wall Rotomolded. 2x impact protection.
Lifetime Warranty. All kennels.
American Made. No corners cut. View More Details
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Color:Gunmetal
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TIE-DOWN STRAP KIT
Regular price
79
Sale price
79.00

GUNNER strap sets are the only ones that we recommend, and have met each of the brand’s crash test standards. They are the straps that the Center For Pet Safety recommends using when anchoring your crate to your vehicle for 5 Star Crash Test certified safety.

Our new & improved tie-downs are made with an extra-thick custom cam buckle for additional break strength and a synthetic material that ensures you can leave these out 24/7: better guarding against fading and stretching, and perfect for high abrasion environments.

Read why it's important to use GUNNER straps for safe travel.

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Strap Color:Blaze Orange
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PERFORMANCE PAD
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Starting from
89
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89.00

This GUNNER tough-skin insert provides a 3/4” pad of cushion for the crate, as well as waterproof comfort for the sporting dog’s tired joints on the ride home.

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GUNNER FAN KIT
Regular price
229
Sale price
229.00

Your dog works hard for you – this fan works hard for your dog. The GUNNER Fan Kit is a high-powered device designed to mount easily to the crate, with a stainless steel mounting rod and custom tensions bolts. Built to provide significant ventilation, especially while kennel is stationary. A durable structure, just like our customers are accustomed to.

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Fan Color:Black
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499
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499.00
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79
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intermediate_black
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99
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99.00
black
Regular price
229
Sale price
229.00
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BM
07/05/2021
Brandon M.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Gun or Bird Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
It’s like an insurance plan….

This is by far the best kennel made. I use mine daily and they take lots of abuse. They never even seem to wear at all. Hose them off with soap and water and they look brand new. I encourage all of my puppy buyers to get them as well. It’s like an insurance plan for your best friend!

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06/14/2021
Kris T.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? TravelHomeHome & Travel Equally
Wow, Just Wow

Wow, this kennel is the Yeti of dog kennels! everything about this kennel is first rate. Yes, there are cheaper, but none can compare to a Gunner kennel.

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05/31/2021
Alec L.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
Amazing travel kennel

This thing is built like a tank. I have no doubt this will protect our little guy if we are ever involved in an accident. We recently completed an 800 mile road trip with him in the crate. It was well worth the money. This was the first time he was calm in the car and not whining. He slept easily during the drive. We felt calm know he was secure and comfortable. Cannot recommend this crate enough!!

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05/08/2021
Angus O.
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  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
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Unlike any other crate I have seen

I purchased two Gunner kennels, a medium and a small, for my pups. Immediately, you understand this is a different level of product compared to what you’ve used before. The construction is fantastic and legitimately heavy duty. I feel so much better knowing I’ve done everything I can to keep my dogs safe in case of a worst case scenario.

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03/18/2021
Patrick K.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Gun or Bird Dog
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Best purchase for my best friends

I’ve been buying cheap kennels for the four years I’ve owned my dogs, none of them seemed to hold up. I’ve wanted a Gunner for a year now, and the more I read stories of how they have saved dogs lives, it made me think of how losing my best friends would damn near **** me. So I made the purchase and will never look back. It is one solid kennel and I will not let the kennel hold me back from traveling farther to hunt anymore. It’s well worth the investment. I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for, and this will not let anyone down.