Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs
The Channel Concept - Retriever
Begin with your dog sitting near the edge of the water at the end of a channel. Throw a dog training bumper that lands in water just a few feet away so that the dog will not be tempted to run the bank. Then send the dog to make the retrieve. When it returns, immediately throw the bumper 30 feet down the channel and send the dog.
Now back up your starting position about 15 feet from the end of the water, and throw a bumper about 30 feet down the channel. Gradually increase the distance you back up from the water so that the dog will be tempted to run the shoreline instead of swimming.
Whenever the dog runs the shore rather than going directly into the water, use the same procedure that you used for trimming comers. If the dog flares away from the water to stay on the land, apply momentary stimulation at the corner and let it complete the retrieve. See Illustration.
Then give the dog a comparison that going straight into the water is more pleasant. Move close to the water's edge where the dog should have entered and throw a dog training bumper about ten feet into the water. Because of the short distance of the throw, the dog will go straight into the water and make the retrieve. Then move your starting position farther back away from the water and repeat the 30-foot throw down the channel.
Continue working the dog as shown in Illustration. With each successful repetition, throw the bumper farther out into the water.
Sometimes the dog will pick up the bumper and then head toward shore when returning. The instant the dog turns toward the shore, command "Here" and move rapidly in the opposite direction. Your body language should help bring the dog back into the center of the channel.
If the dog continues toward the shore, don't give any more commands; just apply momentary stimulation when it touches land. Say nothing and let it return to you by land. Then throw it a fun bumper just a few feet up the center of the channel, so that it will not be tempted to return by land. The dog will make the comparison and learn that it is more pleasant to swim directly back to you.
Once the dog will swim a channel without trying to run the shore, begin sending it through slots formed by islands or points of land. To the dog, the picture of a slot will become the same as the picture of a channel.
If the dog veers off line to touch a point or island while retrieving, say nothing and use momentary stimulation the instant it touches the land. Then follow with a throw into water just short of where the dog touched land.
Now throw a dog training bumper into the water just beyond the place where the dog was corrected. Then repeat the throw that caused the dog to touch the point. In this way you provide an easy comparison for the dog, and it learns that it creates its own discomfort by veering off line to touch land.
Remember, you should help the dog when it is returning. If it starts to swim to land, move rapidly in the opposite direction as you command "Here."