If you’re in a rush and just can’t wait to find out what topped our review of the best gun dog training toys, then it’s the KONG – Dog Training Dummy. Like all Kong products, it’s made to last and the price makes it a great value option.
Some dogs like Spaniels, Retrievers and Pointers aren’t made for lives as a couch potatoes; their natural instincts are to hunt and retrieve that’s what they were bred for and the passion still remains in these breeds.
Gundog work will result in a happy obedient dog who is getting plenty of physical and mental exercise, and it will build a special bond and understanding between you and your best friend.
In this article, we will be reviewing:
We will also cover:
- What to look for when buying a dummy for a gun dog
- Tips on how to get a younger pooch used to a dummy
- Whether you need to pay for specialist equipment
Best Gundog Training Equipment
The best gundog equipment doesn’t have to be expensive, although there are plenty of specialist suppliers in the UK, such as the Working Dog Company, who do a range of accessories.
You can buy the basics, which are really are just a whistle, a clicker and a dummy on Amazon at a reasonable price.
We researched some of the options available and tested them with our resident retrievers here at Dogsbarn (they loved the plush pheasant just a little bit too much). Below are the dummies that made the grade.
Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
Best Large Dog Dummy – KONG – Dog Training Dummy – Floats for Water Fetch Play and Training – For Large Dogs
Kong isis a trusted brand for tough doggy toys, so it’s no surprise that their dummies are our favourite gundog accessories.
This tough example will bounce on land and float in water, making it perfect when getting puppies to practice retrieving.
With excellent reviews, UK pet owners obviously agree and it’s affordable too.
- Unfortunately, the rope may not be as strong as the toy.
Best All-Round Option – The Company of Animals Canvas Training Dummy, Floats, Highly Visible, Long Distance Throwing, GunDog and Puppy Training
Made by The Company of Animals, who also designed the original Halti harness.
This brightly coloured dummy won’t get lost in the grass and is ideal when you start to train a gundog. It floats and can bounce and the rope means it can be thrown long distances.
Canvas dummies are soft on the mouth, perfect for retrieving. The Clix training range also includes whistles, clickers, treat bags and dumbbells.
- Some reviews mention it may be too lightweight when used in the wind.
Top Choice for a Food Dummy – LEMONI Dog Food Dummy for Treats and Dog Snacks, ideal for retrieval training
Food dummies are a fantastic way to encourage your dog’s instinct to search for prey and you can’t go wrong with this one by Lemoni.
The long-lasting material will last even with intensive use in the shooting field and the special lining means it can be used with both dry and wet food.
The toggle means it can be thrown further and the size, which is 20cm x 8cm is suitable for most breeds.
- May not be ideal for dogs that chew
Great for Working Dogs – The Original Clone® Realistic Game Bird Dog Training Dummies – Pheasant, Partridge & Snipe Gundog Training Dummy (100g Snipe Dummy)
This set of three realistic dummies includes a 1/2lb partridge, 1lb pheasant & 100g snipe dummy; the realistic HD printed canvas is designed to resemble game birds and is an excellent sporting dog teaching tool.
It also has a toggle so that you can throw it further.
Not the cheapest option on our list, but customers love the quality.
- The price may be a bit much if you are just starting out.
Top Rabbit Skin Dummy – Sporting Saint Rabbit Training Dummy for Dogs (1/2lb)
Designed and constructed in the UK by Sporting Saint, it can be thrown by hand or fits all launchers. Made from real fur with an aluminium insert, it is a fantastic asset when teaching working dogs to hunt.
The shape makes it easy to snatch from the air or when carrying through the water and it comes in 2 sizes.
- Some may not like to use real fur
Top Choice for Plush Toy –House of Paws Plush Pheasant, Large
If you want a toy for a new puppy who is a potential gundog, this is great; it won’t stand up to heavy chewing, but what it will do is enable your pooch to get the hang of carrying prey; it even makes a quacking type noise.
Made from plush fabric in authentic colours, it’s not the most serious training equipment, but dogs seem to love it going by the reviews.
- Easily shredded if your pooch is a chewer
Most Realistic Working Dog Dummy – Dokken Pheasant Dead Fowl Trainer Gun Dog Training Spaniel Labrador Pointer
This realistic dummy looks like a pheasant and weighs the same which will get Fido used to carrying the real thing.
The hard head deters unwanted head swinging when retrieving and the body can be injected with scent for an even more life-like experience.
- Not the cheapest option on the list
What’s the Best Puppy Dummy?
A puppy dummy needs to be light and easy for your canine companion to carry; it’s a benefit if it’s brightly coloured so Fido can find it in the long grass and it also needs to float as lots of retrieving happens in the water.
Always be sure your pet is safe when exercising near water, though. At this point, you don’t really need anything too realistic any bright colours will d0; Shop around! It’s just a game they will come to love.
Rugby Ball or Specialist Equipment?
There are countless options for retrieving toys, and you may be wondering if you really need to pay for pricey lookalike pheasants.
It’s all down to personal choice; a rugby ball may suit some dogs and is great for a game; they usually float and many dogs will happily retrieve them all day long off lead.
However, if you are looking to enter competitions or take the hobby seriously, it’s worth investing in the best gundog training equipment, so shop around.
How to get a Young Dog Used to a Dummy
Before you start to train a gundog, you need an eager hound that understands the basic commands of sit, stay, heel etc.; then you can move onto canvas dummies.
There may be a few issues.
Treats and a clicker can easily address these.
Start by introducing the dummy, maybe even one filled with food and click and treat every time Fido approaches.
Keep sessions short, leave it a while and bring out the dummy again; repeat for a few days until he starts associating the dummies with rewards.
With perseverance, you will soon have a working pooch to be proud of. Here are some excellent fieldwork tips in the first year
Conclusion and Top Pick
Training a gundog isn’t easy and takes a lot of patience; having a good dummy is essential if you want them to learn.
All dummies are exciting, but it pays to get one that floats to introduce your pup to retrieving from water. Our number 1 choice was the KONG – Dog Training Dummy. Tough and brightly coloured, it does the job at a fantastic price.
As you move towards real game, you might want to invest in something more realistic like the dead fowl option from Dokken.
Tom Dokken has over 30 years of experience with retrievers; this book by him is a complete guide to Advanced Retriever Training.
So if you have a Pointer, Retriever, Setter, Spaniel or any working breed and want them to enjoy mental stimulation and physical exercise, why not invest in the best dummies for gundogs and take up some country pursuits.
A well-trained gundog is a delight!