Committed to being the internet’s best source of hunting dog supplies and information relating to hunting dogs.

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

Page   / 1 / 2  
Now let’s start this exercise. Once you have the dog sitting in front of you, with lead in your hand, gently pull on the lead and give the “here” command. Your dog will probably pull back against the lead. If he does, that’s fine. He’s just showing you he has learned his sit command very well. This time when you give the “here” command pull hard enough on the lead to pull your dog to you. When your dog gets right in front of you tell him to sit. You might have to pull up on the lead when telling him to sit. Remember, we are teaching your dog something new. If he seems to be a little confused, that’s all right. We’ll just show him how to do it right. You’ll also notice that nothing was said about giving any stimulation to your dog at this point. Remember, we need to show your dog what you want him to do first.

You may have to repeat this part of this exercise several times before your dog is coming in to you with just the “here” command and a gentle pull of the lead. You should always have him sit in front of you when he comes in at this time. Once your dog is doing this part of the exercise and doing it well, you can start to add stimulation with your command.

To do this, you need to give the “here” command and pull on the lead and stimulate at the same time, releasing when your dog responds. Tell the dog to sit when he gets right in front of you.

You will soon be able to give the “here” command and stimulate. Once you are this far along with this exercise you can start intermittently stimulating your dog. Eventually, your goal is to give stimulation on every third or fourth command.

You have just conditioned your dog to respond to the “here” command.
Although this has been only from a short distance away (five to six feet), your dog will have the basic conditioning he needs to start increasing the distance.

Now let’s talk about one of the problems you’re going to run into with this exercise. You have been conditioning your dog to three basic commands, heel, sit, and here. The heel command should have gone smoothly, for this is one of the easiest commands to teach. The second command was to sit. You spent some time with this command conditioning your dog to sit, even though you are still moving. Then you taught your dog to come in when called. This is where the problem is going to start. If you did your sit command thoroughly, your dog should have resisted you when you told him to come in. This is what you
should expect from your dog at this point. Then you had to put some pressure on your dog pulling him sharply to you. You may have had to do this several times. Here again, you have just confused your dog. You conditioned him to sit; now you want him to move. The problem you’re going to experience is that the dog will no longer stay sitting. The reason for this is all the pressure you had to give your dog to get him to come in. Although this didn’t seem like much pressure to you, if you are having this problem, the dog is telling you that it was.

This is how we’re going to solve this problem. Your collar should have continuous and momentary modes. One other thing that I do with this type of collar is to go up to the next level of intensity. For instance, if I have been using a level two intensity mode, I will jump up to a level three.

To start this, have your dog sitting in front of you. Give the “here”
command and stimulate using momentary stimulation. Tell your dog to sit and back away from him. This time just pull on the lead gently. If your dog gets up give the sit command and stimulate with continuous stimulation, release when the dog responds. All we are doing here is reinforcing the sit command. Repeat this process several times to condition your dog to the sit command and still have him conditioned to the “here” command.

Once you have your dog responding to both the sit and “here” commands, you can reverse how you are giving the stimulation. With your dog sitting, give the “here” command, pull on the lead and stimulate with continuous stimulation, again releasing when the dog responds. By doing this, you are creating pressure on the come in. This will make the dog want to come in without being told to. When your dog gets up without being given a command, you just give the sit command and stimulate with momentary stimulation. You may have to go back and repeat this process several times. Don’t be in a hurry with this; be very thorough. By doing all of this, you have conditioned your dog to the sit command and the “here” command in a very thorough and complete process.

When you have your dog conditioned to the “here” command and have followed up by reinforcing the sit command, you can start to lengthen the distance between you and your dog. To do this, you need to leave the lead and choke collar on your dog.

Start by giving the “here” command, pull on the lead and stimulate with
continuous stimulation releasing when the dog responds. This will show the dog what we want from him. Now drop the lead and back away four or five steps. Give the “here” command and stimulate. Once the dog starts moving towards you release stimulation. It is very important that you stop stimulating the instant that your dog moves toward you. The reason for this is we want the dog to think he shut off the stimulation by obeying your command. You should remember to have your dog sit when he reaches you.

Once you have this exercise completed you can continue to move further away from your dog. Do this in short increments. Once you have been able to move thirty to forty feet from your dog and have him coming in well, you will have completed this task.

If you are having a problem keeping the dog staying in the sit position as you increase the distance from your dog, you can use the same method described earlier about reinforcing the sit command.

This would be a good time to introduce the whistle command for “here”. Start out by giving the verbal command here followed by the whistle command. Repeat three or four times and then reverse the order three or four times, and then go to the whistle only. Make sure your “here” whistle command is distinctly different then your sit command whistle. I use three quick peeps for the “here” command. (peep, peep, peep). You should run your dog through the entire “here” command exercise again, using just the whistle command for “here”. This is an important step! You will be using the “here” command whistle once you are out in the field.

As you go through this exercise, don’t forget that you can stop at any time and “happy your dog up” by throwing him a few retrieves with a training dummy.

These basic commands are the foundation of having a reliable gundog or trial dog. It’s up to you to condition your dog thoroughly to these commands. The effort that you put into this will dictate the quality of your dog. You get what you put into it!

When you properly condition your dog with avoidance training you and your dog become a team; your dog enjoys working with and for you. When doing your yard work, take your dog to the place or places that you will be doing your fieldwork. By doing so, your dog will become accustomed to obeying your commands in new areas. This should be enough work to last you for a while. The next article will take these basics and put them to work in the field.

Go back to Page  1  

We want your input: