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Gundogs & E-Collars - Part II

by Rob Barlow

Last issue we talked briefly about introducing the electronic collar to your young dog. This issue we take that topic a little further and review techniques on how to condition your dog to sit, how to enforce the sit command, and how to teach the recall or come in command.

This exercise will be used along with the heel exercise. You will need to use your lead and choke collar for this as well as the electronic trainer.

To begin the exercise you will need to start your dog out at heel. As you are walking, stop and give the command to sit, while pulling up on the lead. Your dog should respond accordingly. Do this a couple of times, “walk, stop, and say hup, pull up on the lead”. After you have done this, you can start to stimulate your dog with this command. Do so by walking the dog at heel, stop give the command to sit, pull up on the lead and stimulate. As soon as the dog responds, stop stimulation immediately. It shouldn’t take too many times of repeating this procedure to condition your dog to sit. The one thing you should notice is that every time you stop walking your dog will stop and sit, probably without a command. This is exactly what we’re looking for.

As with the heel command you can intermittently use stimulation at this point. Make sure that your dog understands your command before doing so. Once you have your dog sitting quickly to your command with this method, you can start teaching your dog to sit on command without you having to stop walking. To do this, you simply give the sit command and than stimulate, but don’t stop walking. If your dog sits and doesn’t follow you, you should be impressed, because that shouldn’t happen. More than likely what will happen is the dog will continue to follow you. Don’t panic, this is usually what happens. Why? Because we didn’t show the dog what we wanted. This time walk along, give the sit command, and pull up on the lead vigorously and stimulate. You should stop walking at this point, also. Once your dog is sitting, take a couple of steps away from him and let him know that he did what you wanted. Now step back and start again. You may have to repeat this a few times in order for your dog to understand your command. Don’t get frustrated at this point. If you stop and think about what
happened in our previous lesson. In the heel exercise, we taught the dog to move with us at all times. Now we are telling him to stop moving with us. All that is happening is your dog is becoming confused. He’s trying to do what you taught him, but now you’ve changed the rules. Some dogs will catch on fast and some won’t.

Once you have your dog sitting on command, regardless of whether you’re
moving or not, you can drop your lead and let it drag on the ground. Work on putting these two exercises together. We will call this exercise the “heel, sit” exercise.

At this point, you are not walking very far from your dog; you take a few steps away and then walk back and start again. All we’ve been doing is conditioning him to the heel command and the sit command, nothing more. Now you might think that this exercise is not really worth doing, but if you want to have your dog sit when told regardless of what is going on around him, then I suggest you stick with me a little bit longer and see were this goes.

When your dog is able to sit while you continue to walk on, you can then start intermittently giving stimulation with this command. This means you can give the sit command, then stimulate, then the next time give sit command with no stimulation. But be ready to repeat the sit command and stimulate if you don’t get the response that you want. You should work your way to be giving stimulation only with every third or fourth command.

At this time, I introduce the whistle command to sit (I use a single peep for this). This is fairly simple to introduce. Just go back to the beginning of this exercise to start this. When you give the verbal command to sit follow it with the whistle command and then stimulation. Do this two or three times and then give the whistle command then the verbal, after a couple of times of this you should be able to use the whistle command only. From this point on you can use the whistle command as well as the verbal command. Once you have this part of the sit command accomplished you can move on to the next step.

When you have your dog sitting on command and you are able to continue walking. You need to take a few steps and turn to face your dog. Your dog should stay where he’s at and look at you. If he will do this, then you want to slowly walk around him while quietly telling him to sit. If he gets up and moves give the sit command and stimulate. Stop stimulation when he sits down. Once you can circle the dog going in both directions, you can move to the next step. As your standing in front of your dog, gently pull on the lead. Your dog should remain sitting and probably even be pulling back a little. If he should get up and come into you, you need to give the sit command and stimulate and release as soon as he responds. This lesson shouldn’t take to long, I have had dogs literally let me drag them around in the sitting position. If your dog will remain sitting while you are pulling on the lead your ready to move on to the next lesson.

For this command you can use any word you want to use such as come, here, or whatever. Just keep it brief. I’ll be using the word “here”, for no reason, except that it is what I’m comfortable with.

To start this exercise you will need to have your dog sitting down in front of you. Just like you taught your dog in the sit exercise you also need to keep your leash in your hand.
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