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Discussion Starter #1
My girlfriend has been wanting to get a dog for quite some time now. Considering the work involved I have managed to resist, perhaps up until now. It would seem that the dog of choice for her is a Husky. Since October and November are spent fishing everyday it would be important that such a pet would be comfortable in Steelhead Country.As I have no experience in the matter I thought I would enlist your help if anybody has experience with Huskies as fishing companions, especially in wet weather, on rivers, in rafts, around bears and anglers prone to afternoon streamside dozing.
Thanks,
Brian Niska
 

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Had one as a Lad, Hal Eckert has two now.

Wonderful pooches.

fae

Too bad Hal's abandoned the Board. If you send me a e mail I'll shoot you his 'address.'

fae
 

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Have owned both Huskies and Malamutes I found huskies to be high strung and were a bit to excitable to take fishing, on the other hand Malamutes were more sedate love people and make a great fishing companion. As for problems with bears an old guy I met on the Stamp river on the Island told me after an encounter with a bear that bears smell dogs and if possible stay clear of them, he always had his Lab with him when he went fishing and had never run into a bear. In his defense I have never run into a bear while travelling in the woods with a dog but have had many encounters while travelling and fishing without one.
Hope this helps in your decision.

Ian
 

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Just one problem....

Their idea of "catch and release" is catch it now, eat it, and release it as a pile tomorrow! They LOVE fishing.....

PS - Hal's computer crashed, so he has to replace it. You can't get ahold of him on the internet right now. I hope it doesn't take him as long to buy a new computer as that Sage 5120 - he still hasn't bought the durned thing!!!

BobK
 

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Huskies

Brian,
My family has two huskies and they are both great dogs. The female is fairly high strung and would not sit still long enough to allow me to fish, but the male is a very different dog and would probably make a fine fishing companion. The only problem that you may encounter with a husky is that they are a little too tuned into their ancestral hunting instincts sometimes. We were told by numerous breeders, including the breeder that we got both dogs from, that no matter how well you train the dog, when confronted by a prey item, ie a rabbit, they have atendency to ignore all stay commands and instead choose to chase and all advised to leash the dogs at all times when not in an enclosed area. According to the breeder we bought from this has included several of her dogs that have escaped from her property and have been found running through fields miles from her home, as well as a customer of hers who's husky was a 12 year old, obedience and show dog champion, who while off leash walking through a park with his owner spotted a rabbit or a squirrel and chased it, ignoring the commands that had been its entire life, into the street and into the grill of a car. It was not a happy ending for anyone involved.

Its not to say that all huskies will not listen to stay commands when trained properly, but I have not heard of any other dogs acting in the same manner, and the fact that four or five different breeders said the exact same thing definitley raised flags. Another issue with our dogs is that they are not swimmers. We probably introduced them to the water at a bit of a late age, but they still never took. The female, who is short hair is terrified when she can no longer feel her feet on bottom, and the male who has longer fur looks like he is going to sink when he gets too deep and then takes a day or two to dry off.

With that said, they are great dogs, and I think are fantastic family dogs and as well they are extremely intelligent. If dogs can problem solve, then huskies are definitely in this class. I hope this helps,

Mike
 
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Although not a professional trainer, now, I was a trainer for the Army. We trained security and scout dogs, mostly German Shepherds. I have since trained many dogs for myself. My Rotty mix does a fair mix of tricks and is thoroughly disciplined to both verbal and hand signals. Anyway, take this with a grain of salt:

IMHO, there are few breeds of dogs as difficult to obedience train as the Husky and Malamute. Their independence streak runs very strong. They bolt easily and respond poorly to command once they bolt. They wander and are not a dog for use without direct leash control in areas requiring close control (i.e., city parks). With that said, they are an incredibly loyal dog, stout of heart yet very sensitive and, require a soft hand in their owners.

As beautiful as they are, I found their independent side a liability.

Now the bears - Most any dog will fill your needs as most will give you ample notice of any bears in the area.

mmm
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys, I appreciate your insight. My main areas of concern were:

-Huskies not being good 'water dogs', and taking forever to dry

-Being prone to chasing Bears etc.

-Huskies enjoying wandering off while I'm too busy to notice

-Not being good on rocks and in boats

From your experience, it sounds like I would have to spend a lot of time traing, as well as lucking out with ther right puppy, to get a good fishing dog. ANY IDEAS FOR ANOTHER BREED, THE PERFECT FISHING DOG? I was thinking a black lab, but please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks in advance,

Brian Niska
 

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Black Lab

I had a dog as a kid that was a cross between a Black Lab and a Spaniel of some kind. It liked to chase cars (city dog) and rabbits when we were out in the woods. We never thought about any kind of obedeance training back in those days. It loved the water and was a good companion. Judging from all the pictures you see of Black Labs as hunting /fishing dogs, they must be O.K. They arre mostly used as retrievers for ducks and geese so I would think they could handle the cold weather and the water.
 

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I'd definitely stay away from any of the Northern breeds for a fishing companion for all the reasons already stated. Huskies would be the worst of the lot and a Samoyed the best, but still too independent to have much trainability and none are good at all around water... in fact most have a natural fear of it (You don't want to get wet in the Arctic!)

You will have a hard time finding a breed that will match a lab for what you're looking for. I'd recomend a female.

pescaphile
 
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The Lab in any color phase is an outstanding dog and a smart choice. Reliable, loyal, bright, loves water, and very easy to train. I believe they are America's number one breed of dog. Great temperament, strong swimmer, good nose, attentive...

"Honey, forget the mini-schnauzer, we're getting a Lab."

mmm
 

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As owner of a 125 pound husky mix, I'd heed MMM's words... these dogs are NOT models of obedience and are still very connected to their wolfen ancestry. He doesn't dare disobey me within the confines of the house but once he breaks the screen door down (literally) he is out terrorizing the world until he realizes his food bowl provides better tidbits than the things he could kill or scrounge in the neighborhood.

As a recent owner of a 100+ pound shepard / Golden mix, I'd say go for a lab or golden. The golden will turn an animal hater into a dog lover, it's name should refer to the color of the dog's heart and not just it's coat. The lab is content, obedient, and able in the water. The shepard has a strong sense of obedience but it may translate into defensively confronting wild animals with it's protective instincts.

Good luck with your choice.
 

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Another breed to consider

is the Flat Coat Retreiver. They are very intelligent and easy to train, love water and people.

Rich
 

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LAB.
 

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Just some words of advice.

Don't get me wrong. I am a dog lover. I have had a dog of one type or another for at least the last 45 years.

But dogs do not make the best "fishing companions". They are always either barking or growling at people, or following them to get petted, barking at animals and chasing them, jumping into the river and distubing fish, helping you land fish whether you want them to or not, deciding that your fish is a shore lunch, and, best of all, rolling in either dead fish or fish guts which seems to be instinctive. In general, they enjoy being a pain in the a$$ and the attention they get out of it. Leave 'em home, or back at camp.

Small kids require less attention and make better companions - at least they try, and are cute about it!

Perfect companions are good buddies, whether old friends, family, kids, wives or sweethearts.

But dogs are way down on the list. Now for hunting, or even for camping, they are great. But fishing, no way.

BobK
 

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BobK, I got lucky and had a fishing dog like no other recently. He was half golden, half police shepard. The mother was being prepped for breeding (purebred) and the state policeman across the way had a police dog. Well, they got together and there was a bit of a feud until the puppies were born then they were friends again. We got one, Cody.

I could train him to do anything -

When I strip the line out of my spey reel, it mean go lie down on the bank and stay. And he would, except for a few steps to stay close to me.

When I would turn around and reel up the line, he would jump up as if I grabbed his leash for a walk after a whole day penned up indoors. Not to be mean, but I would test him by pulling the line back out and sure enough, he'd hang his head and go lay back down on the bank. He was the most excellent fishing dog.

And come meant come, heel meant heel, and no leash was required even in the hustling city street or forest path. I sure miss that dog!

The one I got now is a bonehead but part of the family and my wife thinks he's "too handsome to get rid of". He is pretty good looking but dumb as a stone and very close to his ancestry in the woods.
 

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A point of agreement....

Yeah - mixed breed dogs seem to be smarter for some reason - but I will probably get "trashed" from the "breed connosieurs". And that is just stating facts. (All of my dogs have been registered pure breds). But "mutts" are just smarter. Better temperament, too!

BobK
 

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I love my pure bred Golden Retriever. He is the 5th one I've owned over the years and each day he lets me know why they are my favorite breed. Gentle to a fault (like all Goldens), eager to please, social, loves to be with "his people", and loves water, etc. I have not yet taken him fishing though because my kids (12 and 16 still at home) want to throw things in the water for him to retrieve, and needless to say that is not conducive to fishing.

Juro, couldn't agree with you more about a Golden's ability to turn a dog hater into a dog lover. Goldens make superb family pets and love kids too.

Labs are another great fishing companion. Heck, any of the retriever breeds make fine fishing companions and pets. All are loyal, gentle, social and eager to please.
 
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Some comments about the above posts. Flytyer, I agree with you with one major exception. I would not consider a Chesapeake retriever to be a family dog, nor would I consider one to be a fishing companion. BobK, though I generally agree with your comments, especially regarding temperament, there are too many exceptions to make it a rule of thumb. Part of the reason that purebreeds seem to not be as smart is because they are often bred for confirmation. The same argument that hunters make about the hunting instincts being bred out of breeds like the Irish and Gordon setters ( and many others) also seems to apply to intelligence. When dogs are bred only for confirmation with no consideration to other traits, good confirmation is likely the only positive you'll see.
 

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Dear Brian,
I'm with flytyer on this one wholeheartedly! My Golden, Hailie has been fishing on the back of a pontoon boat, riding in sleds, and been a constant companion, fishing buddy and friend for the past 4 years. She made her first trip on a pontoon boat crossing the Deschutes when she was just 12 weeks old. She minds extremely well, doesn't chase deer, or any other animal for that matter, and very rarely barks, unless startled. This past fall she spent every day on the back of a pontoon boat drifting the Thompson with no problem that I can remember. The only downfall I can think of with regards to Goldens are their long fur, so they do need to be dried off occasionally in extreme cold. Heck she's been coming to work with me everyday since she was a pup, and I think my customers would rather talk to her than me! LOL! Goodluck on your decision! I would also agree with flytyer with respect to the retrivers, although they can be considerably more hard headed!
steve
 
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And I'll take a very unpopular stance on the Golden Retrievers, they would NOT be a choice because of the bear criteria. I raised Goldens in the early '70s and although a great (and I do mean great) family dog they do not have the temperament to stand down any bear. Oh they might bark or they might run away. GR are not noted for their heart just their easy going attitude.

$.02

mmm
 
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