Comprehensive Training With a Tri-Tronic Collar – Part 1

When you’re training your gun dog, there are few better methods to use than the Tri-Tronic Collar. A book called them Tri-Tronics Retriever Training Book by Jim and Phyllis Dobbs with Alice Woodyard could best be described as the bible when it comes to using this device. The company has been so kind as to allow us to reprint this comprehensive piece.

We’ve broken it down to three parts. And once again, many thanks to the maker of the Tri-Tronics Inc. collar for giving us the opportunity to share this series with you. While this is a condensed primer, we urge you to purchase this essential book as you begin to get your gun dog ready to become an indispensable partner when you take to the wild.

Part 1

The three-action introduction lays the foundation for your dog’s future training with the Tri-Tronics collar. The three-action introduction teaches the dog that it can turn off mildly unpleasant electrical stimulation by performing three already familiar commands. The commands represent three distinctly different actions: come to the handler, go away from the handler, and become stationary.

The dog’s understanding of this concept is the foundation for all future collar training, because most commands you will reinforce with the collar are an extension of one of these actions. The three-action introduction also teaches the dog in a controlled setting that it can prevent electrical stimulation through its own prompt compliance. A dog with this understanding maintains a positive attitude about training.

The dog is ready to start the three-action introduction as soon as it is responsive to the commands “Here” and “Sit.” The dog should also know a command that means “get in your dog crate.” (We will use “Kennel” for this command.) The dog does not need to be reliable off leash on these or any other commands. In fact, the ideal time to begin the three-action introduction is before the dog is reliable off leash.

Teach the dog to bend; or change direction, by pressing the low button and using a command, which tells the dog to turn. Release the button the moment the dog changes direction and starts toward you. When you begin the three-action introduction, follow the steps described here. You should spend about a week on each of the three actions. Each week’s work should include at least five sessions in at least five different locations before you begin work on the next action. After the first week, most sessions should include a few repetitions of the preceding lessons to keep the dog in balance.

Spend the first week working on the action of coming toward you. This week includes bending the dog toward you and the “Here” and “Heel” commands. Spend the second week working on the action of going away from you. This includes “Kennel,” casting the dog into a crate and the “Place” command. Spend the third week on the action of becoming stationary, which includes “Sit,” the “Sit Whistle” and steadying. If you are training your dog as a hunting retriever, this is also the time to start teaching it to sit to flush.

When you start the three-action introduction, also begin working on the trained retrieve program. That way, your dog will have the skills it needs before you start to steady it and to teach it to sit to flush at the end of the third week.

The three-week time frame is an estimate, of course. Your dog’s own learning speed and the amount of time you can devote to training may dictate lengthening the schedule.

Make sure your dog really understands the three-action introduction even if it takes longer than three weeks.

While you are training the three-action introduction, use the Tri-Tronics collar to reinforce only the commands that you have already covered in that program. If you need to reinforce other commands during this stage of training, use methods other than the Tri-Tronics collar.

Week One – The First Action (Moving Toward the Handler) – AKA Training the Dog to Bend with the Collar

Go for a walk with the dog in a large field, away from traffic. Let the dog move off freely on its own. After a little while, and when the dog is about thirty feet away, change your direction. Say nothing to the dog. Watch to see if the dog changes direction to follow you. If it doesn’t, press the low button and give whatever command you will use to indicate to the dog that it is to turn. (If your dog does not know a separate command for this action, use your command “Here”).

Release the button the moment the dog changes direction and starts toward you.

Let the dog overtake you as you continue to walk along in the new direction. Do not stop walking or give the dog any verbal encouragement as it runs past you. Praising the dog will attract it to you and you want it to continue running past you across the field.

Follow the dog for a short distance. Following the dog’s direction keeps it freed-up and prevents it from just sticking to your side.

Change your direction when you see that the dog has become distracted and has begun to investigate something other than bird scent. After you change direction, watch to see if the dog will adjust to your direction without use of stimulation. Any time the dog does not bend on its own, press the low button as you give it the command to turn. Keep walking and release the button as soon as the dog turns toward you. After a while you will see the dog begin to pay attention to your location as the two of you walk through the field. Now the dog will begin to hunt with you instead of running independently.

“Here” means come all the way to you and don’t run past you. So stand still as you call your dog. Release the button the moment the dog heads toward you.

Training the Dog to Come With the Collar

Start this exercise in an enclosed training yard, not in the field. With the dog off leash, let it wander about in the yard. When the dog is headed away from you, press the low button and command ” Here!” Remain stationary and release the button the moment the dog starts toward you. The first few times you do this, bend over and praise the dog to entice it to come all the way to you.

Watch the dog. If it should veer off or fail to come all the way, or if it should immediately wander off again after coming to you, press the button and repeat the command, “Here!” Release the button the moment the dog heads toward you.

In the next chapter, we’ll get into such actions as moving away from the handler and becoming stationary. We cannot thank the makers of the Tri-Tronic Collar enough for allowing us to share this with you!

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How to Get a Spaniel to Fetch

Those who are proud owners of a spaniel will explain to you that getting one of these fine animals to fetch is like taking a bicycle out for a spin after its grown cobwebs in the shed. In a few moments, those two wheels simply become an extension of your body.

It takes some work. Like when pop removed the training wheels from the bike for the first time, things were shaky. But it didn’t take long before you were racing down the street with your buddies.

What’s it mean?

When you have a spaniel that is boiling-over with a retrieving instinct, you basically have a living machine that likes to put stuff in into its snout, carry it around proudly and deposit the catch to a place it calls its own.

With a little direction, that favorite place can easily be turned into your feet. Make sure – as with all training exercises – the experience is pleasant. No need to punish the pup or force them to do something they don’t want to do at the moment.

You’re going to need to get your hands on a puppy training dummy, not that guy on your bowling team that loves the gutter. We’re talking about something that’s small enough to fit into the mutt’s mouth. Anything too big like that beer-guzzling buddy Ted is counterproductive.

Limited Resources

Purchasing a bushel-basket of dummies is a bad idea, too. You want to limit the choice to one device at the beginning for the pup.

One of the best places to begin the process is right in your own house. Start with a long hallway. The dog takes one end, you take the other.

Time for the baby to get the lay of the land – or in this case – the dummy. Let ‘em sniff it, bite it, but not run away with it. Grasp its collar as it becomes familiar with the object.

Grab a seat on the carpet about 4-yards from the end that’s been blocked-off. Tease the little friend by doing things like circle the dog’s snout; lightly hammer the floor with the device. Just when the poor thing is about to snatch it, pull it away from the dog.

Now that the canine is jonesing for the dummy, get their attention and toss it toward the blocked part of the hallway. When you pitch the unit, say the dog’s name. That will be the animal’s cue to retrieve.

Five-to-one odds, that spaniel is going to chase the dummy. As it gets taken in the dog’s mouth, call him over to you in a non-threatening way. No yelling. A simple “come here” should suffice.

Back to You

At first, the little buddy will do as it’s told. Here’s where it gets tricky. Since the pup has nowhere to go – you’ve limited its choices – just keep your butt planted on the floor. They’ll get it. The animal will return to you.

Take these next points to heart:

  • Do not snatch the dummy from the dog as soon as it is retrieved and returned. Latch onto its collar and lavish praise while the device is still in the puppy’s mouth. You want this impressionable baby to think it’s – excuse the term – the cat’s meow.
  • Don’t overdo the sessions. Three-to-four retrieves are enough to start. Guaranteed that after a few shots, the pup is going to lose focus and just lay there with his new piece of property. Lay down next to the canine and the two of you take a bonding break.


This is not a game. Do not play tug o’ war. Blow a little air into the animal’s face. They’ll release it. That’s when you remove it from their beak. And have some treats and praise for the tiny smartie.

Repeat the exercise every day and you’ll soon be graduating to fetching 102.

Remember. This is fun. It should be for the dog. It should be for you. If either party isn’t in the mood, stop it and call Ted. It’s always fun to watch him roll those balls down the gutter.

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Picking a Pointer

We’re a little biased in this department. Certainly there are many different breeds that will do the trick if you’re looking to pick a pointer.

If you chose a Brittany, you’ll defend it until the last beast has been flushed from the brush. Same for those who picked an English pointer. The choices – and there are a slew – started in Europe.

Shorthaired German and wirehaired pointers didn’t come to the party ready to celebrate. Took years by breeders to ramp-up the various lines. They needed to be infused with speed and a hunger for birds.

But the issue with the pointers from across the pond, they just don’t seem to have the focus, the laser-like intensity of the American breeds. Maybe it’s because they favor a cup a tea over a mug of coffee. Who knows? But there is that difference between their U.S. counterparts. Except in one case. More on that later.


At one time the red Irish setters were the cat’s meow – if you will. Something went kerflooey, though. While there are some breeders attempting to bring these friendly, gorgeous animals back to their previous stature, it’s not going to be an overnight success. Maybe in the middle of the 21st century we’ll see these magnificent beasts regain their crown. But, as the comic who makes a joke about something that’s too fresh in the minds of many to be funny, “Too soon?”

What screwed everything up for the setter were dog competitions. These canines were no longer being bred for the field. They were being assembled to prance around a stadium. Effectively, the country was removed from the animal.


When picking a pointer, ask yourself, “What are my plans for this dog? Are you going to be heading into the deep woods? Do you have a hunkering for a Sharp-tailed Grouse?”

Your needs should dictate your choice. And don’t expect to just visit a breeder, taking home a pup with you the very same day. There are waiting lists. The upside to that delay is that it gives you some additional time to think about things. When you plunk down your money, you want to make the right decision. Use that extra time to ask questions of other interested parties, other breeders, experts and the like.

Out on a Limb

Here’s where we’re going out on a limb. We said at the beginning of this article, we had our druthers. Get ready for the big reveal.


There are quite a few that may disagree with us that putting the Vizsla into the mix is foolhardy. This is a canine that originated in Hungary. Not only are the Magyar Vizsla or regular Vizsla loyal, great house pets, excellent family dogs, they are the smallest of the all-round pointer-retriever breeds.

That size is what sets us ablaze. It’s a super hunter upland game and fowl mutt.

Not dumb beasts by any means, the Vizsla is easily trained, has a natural hunting instinct, a nose to die for and one of the warmest best friends you’ll ever share your home with. They are full of life, gentle, sensitive, protective and are practically fearless.

The final choice remains in your alley. For our money, we think that Vizslas will hit a strike every time and spare you the heartbreak of picking a pointer that rolls balls down the gutter time-after-time.

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Suggestions for the Gun Dog’s First Year

It’s pretty overwhelming when a baby is born. They’re greeted into this world with a slap on the bum and the first of many crying jags. Everything was just ducky a few minutes before. All of a sudden, someone flips on the lights, hammers you for simply showing up and – BANGO! – screams and tears and people in sky blue pajamas and you’re getting fondled and wrapped and wondering, “What in god’s name have I gotten myself into?”

Dogs have it even rougher. The poor pups don’t even get to see what’s going on for a few weeks; until their eyes open. Baby four-legs can only guess where that smell is coming from. No point of reference.  Strange dog in a strange, pitch-black land.

Let Me Get Used to Things First, OK?

Training a gun dog takes a lot of patience. Even more, it takes twice as much love. You might as well delete “hissy-fit” from your on-board, organic computer. You’re dealing with a sweet little creature that can’t talk. Has trouble just figuring-out that when it’s got to go outside, why does it need to tell you about it? Where’s my food? Can you tell that bratty little kid if it pulls my tail once more, I’m going to teach the monster a lesson?

Gun Dogging 101

It’s always good to know about the future hunter’s lineage. What did it inherit from mom and pop (Occasionally, the little bundle o’ joy asks themselves, “By the way, where the heck are my parents?”)?

Running it down, you got to do these things. Again, remember – patience, praise and if you’re not in a good mood, stop. Wait until you’ve returned to your loveable self.

  • The pup needs to be socialized. A good way to do that is find an exemplary, credible dog obedience trainer and enroll the gun-puppy into a class with other dogs, other owners.
  • That schnozzle on them is gold. Between that and their keen sense of hearing, those two articles are portals to the canine’s essence.
  • We humans aren’t the only ones who need to have a good work ethic. So does our gun dog. You’ll get great results if you respect and reward a learning experience.
  • If you’re married, your significant other will have to understand that you’re going to need to do some serious bonding with your best buddy.
  • Training a gun dog in the first year isn’t a one-night stand. You are going to need to dedicate a lot of time imparting knowledge to your future hunting companion. Not just on weekends. You must be crawling all over that puppy like a cheap suit – daily.
  • We get our feelings blistered all-the-time. So do dogs. If you’ve done something stupid to that fine animal, you better apologize in the form of a treat, a rub on the head and some friendly talk. They won’t hold a grudge, but they will become unbalanced if you’re constantly slipping off the rocker. If you’re schizophrenic, surprise – the dog’s going it inherit that trait.

The Final Months of the First Year

Don’t be cocky, kid. You’ve done a terrific job turning that handful of fuzz into an animal with a cause. But, you’ve also learned a lot about yourself. As the mutt becomes more like you, don’t freak if you feel a little dog’s blood flowing through your own veins.

Going to leave you with some exercises you’ll need to incorporate into the training of your gun dog’s first year:

  • Bang! You’re the one that holds the key to whether your dog is gun shy. We’ve written some other articles that can help you with this all-important task. Take a look at this one:
  • Water is fun! At least you better make it a blast with your gun dog.
  • Speaking of water: Join the Navy and see the world. Your dog needs to get out into unfamiliar territory. Fields, forests, off-the-chain places where they can explore, smell new things and run around like a nut. It also gives them great exercise.
  • Crate training should start at a very young age. Like the first day your dog sets it paws in your home. Sometimes put it in the car and take your mutt for a drive. Get ‘em comfortable with the crate. The big advantage is if you ever have to go to the vet, the crate will not be a reminder that they’re about to get stabbed in the butt for a vaccination shot.

As we said off-the-top, the first year is one of discovery, learning and, above all, fun. That last one is especially important!



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Fun Dog Facts

Just dreaming here, but what if you applied to be a contestant on “Jeopardy?” A couple of weeks later, the producer of the show rings you up and makes it formal, “How would you like to compete against two other players on one of the longest-running TV game shows in history?”

The dog yelps because you just dropped your lower jaw on its head. You respond like a Klingon in love to the person on the other end of the phone, mutterings something like, “You sure right I’ll bet when what should I eat before I meet Mr. Trebek tomorrow thanks I look ahead to the forward, OK?” Even the pup thinks you may have blown it. But, sure enough, a FedEx envelope arrives the next day with all the details.

Everyone’s in place, the theme music starts playing, Alex asks a few innocuous questions and reveals the categories. At that moment, you see the title “Doggie Tweets.” At that point you realize that by reading this article, you actually have a chance to play the big puzzle at the end.

50-50 Chance

Life is a gamble. But it’s better to have some knowledge than 3-pounds of margarine or a cheap butter substitute between your ears. Attention, please. We’re going to roll-out some fun dog facts that may show up under the “Doggie Tweets” column:

  • Lord Byron, the romantic poet, loved his dog named Boatswain so much that he had a stone-cutter put these words on the animal’s grave marker: “Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices.”
  • One of the oldest dog breeds is the wiener dog. It goes all the way back to Egypt around the time of the pyramids. The Germans are the ones that gave the dachshund its title. Because the foot long was good at hunting badgers, “Dachs” means “badger.” Hund is German for “hound.”
  • Remember the kids book “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?” The mutts name was Max.
  • Not all that unusual, the most popular name for a canine is – you got it – Max.
  • If you have a mutt with a black tongue, it’s a good bet there are a bunch of Chow genes in the pup. That breed is the only canine with a licorice licker.
  • In the Bible, dogs are found 14 times.
  • Like the fries you get with your burger, the French had nothing to do with the side dish. Same with the French poodle. They didn’t get their start in that country either.
  • Two known medical facts: Dogs can smell if a person has cancer and if you own a canine, you’re adding years to your life. You’ll also be less likely to have a heart attack.
  • Dogs don’t sweat by panting. They blow-off a little steam through the pads on their paws.
  • Dogs are not color blind. They can tell a yellow bandana from a blue babooshka. The thing is the color isn’t as vivid to them. Two colors they may have trouble seeing are green and red. So, stop humiliating them at Christmas.
  • One-third of every dog owner proudly admits that they talk to their animal on the phone or leave messages on the answering machine, addressed to the puppy when they’re not home – but the mutt is.

Consider yourself prepped for your debut on “Jeopardy.” At least in the “Doggie Tweets” category. You’re on your own when it comes to “Potent Potables,” though.

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Managing the Unmanageable

Having a house pet, there are only a few things that keeps the pup from going totally insane. In order of appearance, here’s the dog’s “Nutty Scale”:

  • Sleep
  • Eat
  • Putz around with a toy
  • Play with another animal
  • Poop and mark
  • The window
  • A door

Let’s concentrate on the last one.

The Really Great Outdoors

If it weren’t for that one area of the house, dogs would be like that guy on “Lost” who lived underground, never venturing outside because of fear. Unlike that fellow, whenever there’s any action at the door, the pup is at the ready to meet, greet and split to get a whiff of the thousands of odors the animal can detect. The tail doesn’t start splashing back-and-forth because it’s happy to see you.

It’s wagging at warp speed because that appendage is a strong barometer of how excited the mutt has become.

Lesson Time

We could cop-out and simply tell you to enroll your best friend in a dog obedience course. As a matter of fact, wait for our thriller ending to this piece. You can handle this with patience, love, understanding and, of course, treats and praise.

Throughout the millennia, as we converted wolves to be faithful companions, we forgot to install a “Manners Chip.” Likewise, as humans evolved, we failed to figure-out that sending mixed signals can really mess-up a good thing.

So when someone comes to the door, the pup shifts into hyper drive. Our response: Lavish praise, a little rough-housing, some scratching and the words, “Jump down.”

Think about it for a second. Does that make any sense? On one hand we’re showing the love while at the same time we’re commanding the poor animal to do something that – frankly – does not compute.

Pretty much the same with human kids. If you reinforce bad behavior with a trip to Baskin-Robbins for a banana split, the child is going to end up in a mental ward.


One little word can mean so much. As you pass the window, don’t get your dog all riled-up with waves and words like “Mommy’s home!” Ignore the impulse to telegraph your entrance.

As you open the front door, before you do anything, train the pup to sit. They’ll resist at first, but this is where a little treat comes in handy. Once they’ve come to rest, show a little love. If they pop-up into your face or belly or parts we need not discuss, repeat the magic word.


It’s Not Just All about You

Unless you’re some total off-the-grid, doomsday prepper who has enough MREs to keep his family hidden for decades, occasionally people will drop by your flat to pay a visit. Your job is to see them coming before the mutt.

That’s your cue to grab the leash, attaching it to the collar of your pal. As the two of you go to the door, use the magic word. Once the canine obeys, let your friend come in for a nice MRE of Chipped Beef on Toast.

The New Dart

Then there’s the dog that can’t wait for the entrance to be opened just a crack. Their nozzle wedges between the frame and the door. And they’re off.

You’re faced with a couple of opportunities here:

  • Leash the animal before you open any door that leads to the outside.
  • Teach the pup that it must get permission before leaving the house.

The first one is pretty self-explanatory. The second requires creating a stronger bond with the dog. A bond that tells the mutt you are number one. To do that, be the dog. Go for long walks. When the pet makes eye contact with you, praise and scratch it. Surprise the little cutie with a toy every-so-often.

That way your best friend will always be in anticipation that something wonderful could happen at a moment’s notice.

All Well and Good

Think of this advice as a starter kit. But here’s the killer ending you’ve been waiting for: We would strongly suggest enrolling your new pup or your old friend into a dog obedience class and getting him some dog training supplies. Don’t worry; it will not change their personality. It will, though, help them better understand yours.

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Let’s Talk About Your Shotgun

Some of us single guys seldom eat-out all the time. We likewise don’t keep all of our food in the freezer and nuke it in the microwave. Unbelievable to any women reading this article, there’s a branch of the male human race that enjoys cooking. But like our female counterparts, the thing we dread the most is doing the dishes.

Thank god in 1850 a guy named Joel Houghton – and then in ’65, L.A. Alexander – came-up with a hand-cranked dishwasher. But leave it to a woman to roll-out the best plan. Josephine Cochrane became the mother of the modern dishwasher. She was rich, never had to do dishes. But her servants kept chipping her expensive china and that needed to stop.

So, in the 21st century as us guys and gals prepare our meals from scratch, all we need to do is bring the tools, dishes, pots, cups and glasses to the dishwasher and let Reddy Kilowatt handle the job. The dread has become a minute-or-two task.

What the Heck Do Dishwashers Have to Do With Shotguns?

The fast and easy answer is that no genius or rich lady has yet to create an automatic shotgun cleaner. However, like dish washing, you want to clean your weapon as soon as you’ve had your day in the wild. If you don’t, as the shotgun tube returns to room temperature, the powder and any plastic residue gets pretty hard. Matters could go to rust, too boot.

An unclean shotgun, over time, will really screw-up your accuracy. It will also mean that you’re going to end up with a super collection of useless weapons, as you’ll have to replace it every couple of months. Trust us, there’s nothing worse than having a shotgun blow-up in your face because of clogging.

Be Prepared and Safe

Head out to the store that sells gun supplies and purchase a cleaning kit. You can buy it all separately, but it’s just going to cost you more.

Lay a thick coat of newspaper on a long, flat surface. Place the weapon on it. Go over the device with a fine-toothed comb. It will be pretty painful if you have not discharged all shells from the magazine and chamber. On top the newspaper it will keep the shotgun from getting scratched and will protect the table.

Your shotgun probably has a fore-end and wooden stock. Use a clean, damp cloth to remove any weirdness. Take something fresh, like a kitchen tissue, to dry the surface. Use either household wood wax or some premium gun oil to rub into the wood.

Business End of Things

For scrubbing the barrel, use a cleaning rod, some gunpowder solvent and soak the cotton patch at the end with the solution. For those with removable barrels, feel free to soak ‘em for an hour. Make sure when you remove them from their bath you totally dry them, inside and out.

Here’s something you should do every-so-often – if you have a semi-automatic or pump shotgun. Grab an old toothbrush, spritz the entire firing action and mechanism with a gun-cleaning solvent and scrub-on, soldier.

The last thing is the most important matter. Storage. You not only want to keep the weapon out of the hands of someone who hasn’t the slightest idea how to handle such an important, yet dangerous weapon. You want that safely-locked hiding place to be somewhere that measures ultra-low on the moisture scale. Protect yourself and your weapons.

And start the darned dishwasher. We’re not your maids.

Visit Verastile Dog Supply for more how to’s and tips!

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Taking the Gamey-Ness Out of the Duck – A Recipe

From what we can tell, the word first came about in 1863. Scientifically, the flavor comes from lactic acid. That’s the same stuff which builds-up in your muscles after doing some serious exercise. Getting a massage usually disperses the lactic acid, making the pain less severe.

So, let’s say you’re giving chase to an animal. As they try to avoid you, their muscles begin to release metabolites like malic acid, pyruvic acid and lactic acid.

More About That Gamey Taste

Gamey is a state-of-mind. Actually four states-of-mind:

  • What has the animal been eating? One person’s gamey-ness can be another one’s delicacy. One way to think about it is that during the beast’s life, it has been self-marinating.
  • You want to drain the duck of all its blood. For people of Polish decent, they love that vital juice. It’s call Czernina (charr-nina). It’s a Polish soup made of duck blood and clear poultry broth. Here in the States we simply call it “duck blood soup.” To get it to give-up its liquid, you generally hang it in a cool place. But, if the temperature changes, you end up with a little bacteria. That could be what’s giving the bird its “ripe” taste.
  • How old is the duck? The longer it’s been flying around, good chance it will have a gamey taste that’s stronger.
  • Finally, they are sexual beings. Translated: They have scent glands. Rupture one of these and there goes the musk.

Turning Down the Game

We’re going to want to marinade the duck overnight. This is what you’ll need to create the bath. It’s based on around 10 duck breasts.

  • 1/8th-cup of apple cider vinegar
  • ¼-cup of either bourbon or dry sherry
  • 1-cup soy sauce
  • ¼-cup of peanut oil
  • ¼-cup of orange juice
  • 2-tablespoons of orange zest
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • Toothpicks

Prep for Marinade Bath

Use a glass bowl. Do not use metal, even if it’s stainless steel. And if it’s plastic, you should be ashamed of yourself. Some will put it in a zip lock bag, but be classy. Use something glassy.

Mix the marinade ingredients. Cut the duck breasts into 1-inch chunks. Put the pieces in the bath and cover it with some sticky Saran Wrap.

The Next Day

Fry-up a pound of bacon, but only half-cook it. You want to make sure that the pig and the duck roast equally. Remove the fowl from the marinade. No need to dry it. Just wrap each chunk with a half-slice of live-giving bacon. Stab the duck-in-a-blanket with a wooden toothpick – make sure you go all the way through the piece.

Pull-out a cookie sheet with a lip, cover it with aluminum foil and lightly paint it with a ½-teaspoon of peanut oil.

Pre-heat the oven to 325º. Arrange the chunks on the pan; just don’t pack ‘em like sardines. The stove dings telling you it’s ready. Let the nuggets cook for about a ½-hour.

While that’s going on, chop up some bite-sized pieces of broccoli, carrots, potatoes and cauliflower. Fire-up the Dutch oven with some canola oil to about 375º. Mix a bowl of flour, a touch of baking powder, salt and pepper. In another bowl, scramble two eggs. Coat the veggies first with flour, then with the egg and one more toss in the flour. About 15-minutes before the duck is done, gently place the veggies into the hot oil.

Have a couple of dipping bowls with this stuff in ‘em:

  • A sweet-sour sauce
  • Some chunky, hot salsa
  • Ranch dressing
  • Blue cheese dressing

Eat! If you detect any game in the duck, join a circus. You have an exceptional talent.

Want more delicious recipes? Try out Cooking Your Goose!

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What’s That Smell – Cleaning Your Dogs Toy

Not that you’d want to do this, but have you ever gotten a whiff of your dog’s favorite plaything? There are a few terms in the English language that could define the aroma, but we’re going to settle with simply two words, “It stinks.” To high heaven. Where no smell has ever gone. A nose-curling stench that only a grave-robber would love.

Some people take the most obvious road. They gather all of the playthings together and throw them on a convenient bonfire.

That’s not nice. Mutts need their possessions. Aside from being a substitute for chewing-up your favorite chair, it helps them fend-off natural anxiousness and the monotony of everyday life. But unless you keep them from turning into small objects of disease, it could not only make the pup sick, it may give you a bug unless you use tongs when you’re playing fetch.

Best advice: Try to train them to keep all of their stuff in one place. If that won’t work, it’s your job to collect them so they can keep each other company. And why would you do this? So you can periodically take a look at them to see that they are not evolving into some alien slime creature.

The Scrutinizer

It happens. Occasionally your pet will rip-off a chunk of the plaything and swallow it. The incredible shrinking toy. Once the thing has gotten so small it can be swallowed whole, it’s time to pitch it. Same for a stuffed teddy bear or the like that have had the stuffing pulled out of them. Again, that’s why you want to keep their prizes in one place. It’s just easier to inspect them for wear-and-tear. One other matter, if you come across a situation that even after a thorough washing the item continue to reek, out she goes.

After the old has been destroyed – road trip. Take your best friend to a big box pet store and replace what’s gone with new items of fun.

Tough Toys

They are not “toys o’ steel.” They’re just a little more of a challenge. Talking about rubber or nylon playthings. Usually an old toothbrush will work just dandy with some detergent and hot water. When you’re buying such objects of love, check the label. They actually may be dishwasher safe. You may not want to include your daily plates, but you can give them a rinse with their dog bowls. No detergent is required. To be safe, put ‘em on the top shelf of the machine.


We’re not speaking about things that have cotton or fabric filling them. By stuffed we mean toys that you stick a treat inside and laugh at the animal while they get frustrated trying to get to the meat of the matter.

After the poor soul has extracted the food inside, you need to wash them immediately. Little bits of food will probably remain inside. And those particulates migrate into sickening bacteria. This could be a job for the mighty and majestic dishwasher. Read the label to see if they’re safe for the device. If not, back to the old toothbrush, dishwashing soap and hot water.

Really Stuffed

Now we’re talking about the ones made of fabric and crammed with some non-toxic filler material. Very easy solution here. The washing machine. Make sure there’s no rubber or other contents attached to the toy that could melt. Squeakers? Your call. You might be able to even give them a shot in the dryer. Go “Gentle” on all settings. However, in the washer, crank-up the heat as high as you can.

Final point: Don’t go spraying some fancy French perfume on the plaything. It may work on the gigolos in Europe, but your dog has more class than that.

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All About Dog Collars

We know that sometimes it’s necessary, but when you see a toddler wearing a vest attached to a leash, it causes a few people to ponder, “So, it’s all come down to this.” Stirring their disapproving heads they’re tempted to take a doggie biscuit out of their pocket, go over to the parents and ask, “Does he bite?”

Dogs? Now That’s Another Story

If your mutt is anything like ours, putting a collar or harness on the animal is cause for celebration. The choices are many; however it all starts with measuring the pup. You want to do this when it’s standing-up. Using a measuring tape, wrap it around the dog’s neck. Then stick two adult fingers between the tape and the animal’s fur. The length should be the middle hole on the collar. Puppies, like children, will go through a few sizes before they reach adulthood. So keep checking to see if you need to get a longer unit.

Another important thing: Do you have a toy poodle? A heavy, spiked necklace with an alarm clock attached is dumb for a couple of reasons. It looks stupid and the weight of the collar puts a strain on little Pierre’s neck and back.

Nailing it Down

We’ve got a tick-tock of the functional, fashionable neckwear for your pet. The decision is up to you but we’re going to start with the least stressful restraint.

  • The harness.
    This one is almost like a vest. It’s ideal for small canines, excitable dogs who’ve slogged-down too much Red Bull, puppies and best friends with neck issues. The pressure-points are spread-out over the pup’s chest rather than just their neck. Law endorsement likes these devices because it’s “friendlier” on the animals overall concentration.
  • Choke collars.
    These are polar opposites of the harness units. They should be employed for training only along with other dog training supplies. A choke collar is not for general use. Imagine this situation. You have two playful pups with this type of collar around their necks. One of the dogs, during a frolic period, gets its paw wrapped-up in the other animal’s choke collar. Get it? Training only and removed immediately afterwards. There’s another one that should only be used under the supervision of a professional canine instructor. The pronged collar unit has blunt metal things that touch the dog’s neck. Do not try these at home.
  • Head collars.
    Your dog will hate you if you put one of these on them, but if you have a mutt that’s you’re trying to gets its total attention, this training device works wonders. Instead of simply stopping the pup, it forces them to look at you when you’re in teaching-mode. Not to worry, head collars won’t restrict your pet from barking, drinking, eating, panting or even biting. They are not muzzles.
  • Nylon collars.
    Folks who have all-weather, mud-loving dogs, nylon collars can take the punishment. The great thing about this material is that it’s washable. And they’re very economical.
  • Leather collars.

    Well, aren’t we the fancy ones? They may run you an extra 10-note or two, but they are classic. Extremely durable, leather collars aren’t mutt-restraining devices. They are jewelry for your buddy. Very practical for huge dogs, especially the braided variety. Breeds with short hair probably shouldn’t sport a rolled leather collar. These are for big fellas only.

If you’re married or simply dating, don’t have a dog and you’re significant other drags you into a pet supply store to try on collars, it may be time for “that conversation.”

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