Use Promo Code Randy for 20% off OutdoorClass

Bumpers For Retriever Training

AlaskaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,442
Location
interior Alaska
Bumpers...They typically will last for many years. Plastic or canvas, orange, white or black & white?
Bumpers.JPG
Here are some thoughts on bumpers.
I like canvas for quick training sessions in the yard when its super cold up here in Alaska. The canvas bumpers are warm from being inside and I think are a better reward than plastic bumpers that can quickly cool to below freezing. An alternative to canvas for winter training is to encase plastic bumpers with thick black socks. But canvas bumpers do shed snow more easily than the black socks trick.
A couple disadvantages of canvas are they get muddy with water training and they are typically more expensive than plastic bumpers.

Plastic bumpers and Blind Retrieve Training.
Canines have di-chromatic vision so they do not perceive orange as well as humans. We use plastic orange bumpers for blinds because we want to develop a heads-up run to the end of the field attitude. With white bumpers, a youngster may be confused the first time he runs a water blind in a pond full of white water lilly pad blossoms or a field with white rocks. 2 inch bumpers work well as they are less expensive and easier to transport compared to lots of 3 inch orange bumpers.

We typically don't use birds in blind because we don't want drag-back scent which would promote a youngster to go into "hunt mode" instead of thinking run long to a distant destination at the end of the field.
Also it is easier to see a orange floating bumper in weedy water so the handler sometimes knows the exact line to the blind.

If I want instant success at the end of the water blind with a youngster, I will use a big 3 inch orange bumper floating in weedy water. I also like 3 inch orange bumpers for walking baseball where the handler needs to know the exact location of several bumpers and casts are typically long.

Marks.
Our club typically uses dead ducks for marks in group training because they are a better canine reward than bumpers. For youngsters, I like to run last so there is lots of duck scent in the area of the fall from previous throws...that way when the youngster achieves the area of the fall, lots of duck scent to keep him persistently hunting until success. For youngsters we also typically walk up closer to the thrower so the retriever learns to focus and run to the mark location and not to simply run to the thrower and hunt.

The biggest problem with birds is expense...they cost over $30 per frozen duck up here in Alaska. So we typically use-freeze-reuse many times and a duck can last for many training sessions if wrapped in newspaper before freezing and used in land marks. I use a cardboard beer 12-pack box which fits 4 ducks perfectly. That way they stack nicely in the freezer and a quick count of cardboard boxes times 4 = total ducks left.

On non-club training days, we typically use black & white bumpers for marks because the black portion contrasts with the bright sky while the white portion contrasts with the dark forest backgrounds. 2 inch bumpers work fine.

For super long marks we typically use 3 inch black & white bumpers with black & white ribbons that flutter as the bumper is falling. For super long marks, when the challenge is the line getting to the area of the fall, we will sometimes "salt" the area of the fall by pre-planting several bumpers in the area. That way when the retriever gets to the destination there is quick success in finding a bumper.
To help teach a retriever not to head swing to a shorter thrower, we often will have the super long thrower throw a mark, and at the handlers hand signal repeat throwing a second bumper to the same area of the fall. That promotes focus on that super long thrower instead of head-swinging to the next shorter thrower.

I will use an orange bumper for a very short "check-down" mark where the lesson is to hunt carefully and with great persistence.
 

OntarioHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
4,290
I note no mention of Dokkens Dead Fowl training dummies. My brother gave me one and it's been hanging in the garage for years. First, they are soft and may promote chewing on the dummy. Hard rubber bumpers with nubbins are good for preventing that. More importantly, the Dokkens things eventually get holes worn/torn in the surface and then the foam core soaks up water like a sponge. They never dry out, core gets moldy, and the things stink to high heaven! Hence, why mine is hanging in the garage!
 

okie archer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
492
I don't have any good info to post concerning the op. Just wanted to post a pic of my pup from yesterday's training. Btw, the bumper is a 2" plastic/vinyl bumper. I am trying to build up his retrieve desire but I have him on a long lead because he is excited to go get the bumper but doesn't always want to bring it back and give it up right away. I plan to continue to build his retrieving desire while I wait until he's a bit older to collar condition him to here.
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot_20220225-212330.png
    Screenshot_20220225-212330.png
    1.4 MB · Views: 1

AlaskaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,442
Location
interior Alaska
Posting a pup picture is not fair! Dang that makes me part of me want another one. The smarter side of me says to wait
Skeeter_pup.jpg

One potential problem with waiting is sometimes it takes years to get a pup going with a reputable breeder and health clearances.
For example, living in Alaska I always get a spring pup and a female.
Year 1 put a deposit down with a reputable breeder for female pup. Number 3 on the list.
There are only 2 females in the litter.
Year 2 put a deposit down with another reputable breeder for female pup. Number 1 on the list. Litter is all males.
Year 3 put a deposit down, number 2 on the list. Only 3 pups in the litter, 1 female.
Finally got a pup in year 4.
So I start putting down a deposit when my oldest is around 6.
 

Buffs35

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Messages
737
Location
Highlands Ranch, CO
I find both useful. I also like the plastic ones molded like a duck, helps to teach them not to pick it up by the head. I also had tremendous success with my last lab while using a DT bumper launcher. She was gun shy and getting to retrieve a canvas bumper was reward enough to get used to the sound of a shot.
 

cwitherow

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2017
Messages
326
Location
MN
I agree with canvas for winter. Hard plastic is nice for summer, especially if we head to the lake.
 

Salmonchaser

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
1,229
Dang it, both my girls are 10 and I should have a young dog finished but I’ve been procrastinating. Great pics guys, I have always used the canvas ones… that’s what I learned on so I stuck with it for no better reason than that.
 

mtmiller

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2001
Messages
10,997
Location
Montana
51330506569_d128fa6a42_3k.jpg

[
51329992458_849f748989_3k.jpg
 

AlaskaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,442
Location
interior Alaska
Cute pup!

When those 2" Avery hexabumpers first came out, I bought a dozen because they have no valves to leak.
At that time they were pretty hard and if they hit the water wrong they would dive deep into the marsh mud and stick,
in 1-2 foot deep muddy marsh water. Maybe once in 100 water marks. Other softer brands with valves never had that problem.
I lost about half the hexabumpers that way with big water throws and learned to toss them gently for water marks.
The 3" Avery hexabumpers did not have that problem due to larger surface area upon water entry.
 
Top