Your duck dog probably makes humorous faces. Mine does. Our pooches brim with drive, desire, wonder and appreciation every day they spend in the marsh, and they reflect that in their expressions.
We often try to interpret those expressions and equate them to human emotions or thoughts. I guess we’re all probably guilty of anthropomorphism in that regard. Still, it’s fun to embellish those canine gazes and glances and speculate about what our retrievers might be thinking. Here are some of my favorites.
Head snaps to attention, eyes widen: “Duck, dude. Um … are you ready? Seriously, I have to do everything.”
Eyes glaze, seems to frown; might be accompanied by a deep sigh: “This place sucks. When are you going to take me to the good spot? You do have a good spot, don’t you? Oy.”
Eyebrows rise, licks nose: “Just guessin’ that you’re probably not going to eat all that cold pizza. I could sit here and beg. Or, I can wait until you get surprised by a teal and then gobble the crust up off the floor boards. It’ll be gone by the time you’ve missed.”
Eyes wide, head high, stock still: “Look, I’m not saying I could shoot better than you. I lack opposable thumbs, as you’ve noticed. Still, I’m gonna need you to step up your game a bit. I didn’t come out here to sit in a cramped boat and pee on a muskrat hut. And honestly, I’m embarrassed for you.”
Gaze transfixed, body trembling: “Say the word, man. I saw it drop and know right where it is. Ready to throw some propwash and get a mouth full of feathers.”
Eyes dart to and fro, mouth open: “OK, maybe I don’t know exactly where it is. Hand signals welcome at any time. And yeah, could you drop the next one even farther in the cover? Sheesh.”
Eyes narrow: (Refer to pizza entry.)
Face stern and proud: “Yes, these are my ducks. Got ’em all before 9 a.m. Didn’t lose a bird. The dorky guy in waders? Yeah, he helped, I guess. It really wasn’t his best performance. We have a lot of work to do this off-season.”
Face quizzical, head cocked: “Hmm. Another Lab at the boat landing. Think I’ll wander over and see how many ducks they got. Oh, and sniff its butt, too.”
Gaze dull and expressionless: “Ready to head out? No, I didn’t get that muck on the truck seat. Not sure where it came from. Must’ve been on your waders. You should really be more careful next time. This is why we can’t have nice things.”
Eyes closed; asleep: “What a great day. Thanks for taking me. I love you.”
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Realtree waterfowl editor Brian Lovett has been an obsessive duck and goose hunter for more than 30 years, chasing his passion on the Dakota prairies and the marshes and open water of his home state of Wisconsin. He's been a writer and editor in the outdoors industry since 1991.