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What are two things that a gun dog trainer can never have enough of? Undoubtedly, what else, but dummies... and more dummies! However, that can present a problem. How to keep oneís training gear handy, organized and ready to go at a moments notice?

Flambeau Outdoors has the answer.

Long known among the retriever crowd, water fowlers, turkey and big game hunting fraternities, Flambeau Outdoors manufactures some awesome camo gear, game calls and a wide selection of decoys.

Their durable, high-quality, dog training accessory bag is a great solution. From itís molded, hard plastic bottom, to itís sturdy fabric construction, itís built tough to last for many years to come.

This highly functional tote is generously loaded with pockets and compartments of every description. The attractive, dark green with blaze orange accents exterior offers roomy zip-close storage space on the front, both sides and the top. The back sports three sturdy, mesh dummy pockets. Moveable Velcro dividers allow for customizing the spacious interior, fully lined in nylon with a hard plastic base for easy clean up. The top and sidewalls are thickly padded. A removable carry strap which is adjustable and padded, serves well to protect your shoulder from a heavy load.

But thereís more. Theyíve also included a roomy, mesh fabric clip bag which attaches to the outside of the dog training accessory bag to conveniently dry dummies, the leash... or even your socks! And theyíve even thought of your spaniel - providing a large, foam core, blaze orange dummy, a place to stash dog food or treats and a combination food or water bowl with a drawstring - toggle clip closure.

The Flambeau Outdoors dog training accessory bag is one that youíll wonder how you ever did without.

By now, most gun dog enthusiasts are familiar with the Dokkenís dead fowl trainers - having seen or heard of the product - if not already including some among their dog gear. Tom Dokken, owner of the Oak Ridge Kennels, is a well respected retriever and gun dog trainer headquartered at Northfield, Minnesota. He developed, tested and patented this product line out of their own training needs. The idea took root from a desire to "build a better mousetrap", or in this case, a better training dummy. And they did. The Dokken dead fowl trainers are realistic game bird dummies - from doves to geese and encompassing everything in between. Chances are good that if you hunt it, they build it. Not only are they designed to look like the "real thing", but they are weighted to feel like it so as to teach the dog how to properly retrieve game birds. Further realism can be added to the product by injecting the body with scent, if desired. The bodies are made of a durable, floatable foam material with hard plastic feet and a head attached by rope - which allows it to swing. This is a great deterrent for dogs who shake their birds. Down to the smallest detail they are designed to familiarize dogs with specific gameÖ the ducks even come with metal leg bands!

Yes, they are "cute" but do they work? You bet they do! The dog soon discovers that itís most comfortable to pick the bird up by the body - and they absolutely LOVE it!

Making a great product even better, Dokken now offers duck wing accessories. These are made of the same, durable foam material as used in the bodies. A pair can be attached quickly and easily to any full sized duck dead fowl trainer with the elastic straps. Simply loop one end of the elastic over a foot and the other, over the head - and youíre good to go.

With itís wings, the duck sits a bit differently in the water. Young, inexperienced dogs may try to nudge it with their nose, then grab on to a wing. Thatís fine because the product is tough enough to allow for wing retrieves without suffering any damage. However, within a few retrieves, the young dogs figured out how to work around the wings and grab on to the duck body.

Hands down... the Dokken mallard with wings has become my dogsí favorite. Itís the next best thing to duck hunting.

Have you ever thought about adding a fishing pole and spinning reel to your summertime dog training bag of tricks? Well, maybe your should! Dokken has two additional new products on the market: the skimmer and the diver. Both are smaller sized teal type ducks. Without feet, they are made with a special rigging that allows them to be cast into the water with a sturdy fishing pole using non-stretch line.

Before heading to water, you may want to practice with it on dry land. Casting is a little different as if you swing back too far, the "O" ring may pop off the embedded hook. A gentle touch is all thatís needed. Both products come with easy-to-follow direction cards, detailing the assembly and with tips for their use.

We recommend having an assistant man the fishing pole so that you can concentrate on your dog. Stationing the assistant far enough away to the side will help keep the dog away from the line.

Once it is cast out and the dog is approaching, wind the reel fast because if your dog is a strong swimmer, he may just catch the duck. The skimmer skims along the surface as you reel and the diver, of course, dives beneath the surface. Both simulate the wounded duck - elevating the dogís excitement. A sharp jerk on the pole - as you would normally set a fish hook - releases the skimmer or diver so that your dog can make the retrieve.

This is incredible fun... for you and your dog!

What better way to spend the hot summer months than water training with your dog?

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Loretta Baughan

Loretta Baughan is the Founder, Editor and Publisher of Spaniel Journal. She is an award winning professional photographer, webdesigner and owner of the Autumnskye kennel. She raises, trains and hunts her English springer spaniels. She is an active member of the Northeast Wisconsin Spaniel Club. Loretta resides near Merrill, Wisconsin, with her husband, Steve, and their three children.

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