How Cold is too cold to hunt a lab in water?

Discussion in 'Ask the Vet' started by ihateroboducks, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. ihateroboducks

    ihateroboducks Well-Known Member

    I'm sure this question has been asked 10000000000 times on here, but I was looking for a vet's point of view. I'd never hunt my dog in ice for fear that he'd get cut, but I was wondering how cold is too cold in the realm of canine hypothermia. Also, does adding one of those neoprene vests really allow your dog to hunt in colder weather. Thanks in advance for your reply.
  2. Levi

    Levi Well-Known Member

    I have hunted mine in 0 degs many times and only problem is keeping feet from sticking to meal boat I use a cloth for them to sit on......:up:

  3. Eagle Dad 44

    Eagle Dad 44 Well-Known Member

    Sorry about the delay in answering your question.
    If the Lab is adjusted to weather already them typically hunting them during really cold weather is ok as long as they seem to be enjoying it. They will typically "shake" off excess water from their coats after a retrieve. If you give them something to sit on like a towel or blanket that helps keep them from losing body heat to the boat or seat. Neoprene vests are great but some dogs will not tolerate them. My GSP loves to eat the darn things off while sitting there!! They also seem to rub him in his armpits, but my GSP's don't have the coat of a Lab. They also make some fantastic "boots" for hunting dogs, for the trip out in back in to your hunting spot. They should not wear them duinr the hunt though! My dogs personally hates them and developed a weird case of "paralysis" when I tried to make him wear them. He acted like it was an insult to wear them.
    I always towel my dogs off after we are done hunting as well.
    In general, I will not hunt my dog in the water if it is iced over. I see some nasty injuries from that.
    Finally, a good thick coated lab can probably stand it better than we can out there in the elements.
    Hope this helps you

  4. rchunter

    rchunter Well-Known Member


    I just returned from a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota, and hunted my GSP in below zero temps and snow one day. I put a neoprene vest on him. I trim the leg holes out a little so that it doesn't rub him raw as I have had that problem, too. I hunted him two other days as well but it was 17 and 30F for highs. The coldest day was about as cold as my gsp could have handled and I kenneled him in a good kennel in between stops.

    I'm just curious. Do you use your GSP's as retrieving dogs in place of a lab while duck hunting? I have thought of trying that.
  5. Eagle Dad 44

    Eagle Dad 44 Well-Known Member

    Yes sir I have. I love to Pheasant hunt and I will just occasionally duck hunt with friends. My ole dog will do just about anything I ask him but he has gotten too old now.
    What I have found with the GSPs is that if they will retrieve on land most will retrieve in the water.

  6. rchunter

    rchunter Well-Known Member

    My gsp is only 18 months old, but he did great this weekend. We limited out 3 days in a row. He pointed quite a few birds that held as the weather was so bad. He also retrieved every bird that I wanted him to retrieve, but he stops about 5 feet short of bringing it all the way to me. He then wants to bite just a little bit too hard when he picks it up, and after he stops to let me have it. Any pointers on fixing those two issues?
  7. Eagle Dad 44

    Eagle Dad 44 Well-Known Member

    Man that right there is bringing back memories of my Jake. He ended up being the best bird dog I have ever owned. Honestly, time and repetition will typically fix most of that with a young dog. He just needs more retrieves under his belt. He will get better with time. I would not stress out too much about what he is doing right now. Just keep praising him and working with him.
    I am extremely biased obviously but GSPs are a wonderful dog to hunt with in my opinion.

    Enjoy yours