Would You Lease a Gun Dog?

November 14, 2011 | By | 4 Replies More

The always reliable (meaning good) Chad Love of Field & Stream blog and Quail Unlimited blog fame semi-recently raised a similar question in a brief post. Riffing on it here because we think it’s an interesting, appropriate but possibly unrealistic topic. Meaning:

1. We’ve actually talked about this in the field, wishing we had a dog on this or that jaunt when hunting dogless. We’re sure we’re not the only ones with some issue that prevented us from having a dog on a non-local trip and who didn’t want to hire a guide at all or the entire time we were there…but did want the services of a good nose.

In our case, for example, we usually don’t want a guide. In our experience, if you’re not a regular customer you don’t get taken to the best spots, and some spots we go to we know don’t have the stuff we want to see.

2. Seems that one of the biggest barriers to bird hunting is the time and now cost commitments of owning a bird dog. These critters ain’t cheap, and back in the pre-web/email days folks had a lot more time. So theoretically this could be a way to get more folks hunting who don’t own a dog, don’t want to own a dog but do want to bird hunt (yes, these folks do exist).


3. We wonder at the wisdom of doing this. Even if it’s possible – meaning a dog encounters strangers and hunts for them well – we’re not sure who would be comfortable leasing their dogs to strangers. You can sign all the papers you want, but if you don’t know the folks – how they hunt, where they hunt, their personalities, how they shoot, how they feel about dogs, etc. – this sounds a bit nuts.

Nuttier, in some ways, than guides who put themselves and their dogs very close to total strangers armed with shotguns and who have a limited time to “get their birds.”


Here are a few comments in response to Chad’s post, with comments by us in brackets.

I don’t have a dog because my yard is small and I am not home enough. However, I do like to bird hunt a couple of times a year and if it were available in my area, I would seriously consider this.

The real essence of bird hunting is seriously degraded without the personal bond between the hunter and HIS dog. Reduces the sport from soulful art to a mechanical craft. Give me the personality of my four legged companion over the precision of a well trained stranger.

No one can properly handle a strange dog. Hire a guide….

The only reason I hunt birds is because I enjoy taking my dog out and working her. Dealing with rescue dogs daily, I can tell you how hard it is mentally and emotionally on a dog to be bounced back and forth between people. There is serious long term damage being done to these dogs.


1. Would you or anyone you know ever consider being the lessor or lessee here?

2. Would a dog need different training to hunt for total strangers – or maybe how long would it take for a dog to acclimate to total strangers?

In case you think both are far-fetched, note that dogs are now being leased as pets (one example), and at least two kennels offer hunting dogs for lease: one in Texas, another in California.


Category: Dogs in general

Comments (4)

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  1. Chris Nielsen says:

    I would question the treatment that leased dogs get from their owners. The whole idea smacks of profit at the expense of a dog, and IMHO thats not the point of having a hunting dog, who is much much more then just a dog for hire when it is a beloved member of your pack/family.

  2. Kurt Herriman says:

    I have a few friends I would trust with my dog, but thats about it. We put too much time and love into the handling of our dogs. Everyone trains a little different. First for safety reasons( i go over a set of rules with everyone who hunts with me) and secondly confusing the dog. We all know the right commands or whistle toots or hand gestures to keep our dog working as a team. My dog will listen to people who hunt with him regularly, but he is obviously tuned into what I am doing. Besides…I would be too jealous if Molson( my Brittany) was hunting without me!!

  3. Adam Aerni says:

    I have never been a hunter. As a 14 year guardsman I have a great deal of weapons experience. This year we bought a Springer-Spaniel for a pet and my son read about them being gun dogs and he wants to bird hunt. I am working with a local trainer and have found out it doesn’t matter if you have a small yard bird hunting dogs are extremely well behaved and make great pets. If a dog can flush a bird, wait for you to shoot, and bring the bird back it can just as easily be a great house pet and deal with a small yard. People should not use yard space as an excuse not to get a dog. Time is the big issue because you have to train every day and give exercise.

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