Retriever Training Articles
Begin with your dog sitting near the edge of the water at the end of a channel. Throw a 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.
Force Fetching Retrievers is difficult, especially when you lack experience. When a dog does not respond, do you need to apply more pressure, less pressure, ease up on requirements, shorten the session, or perhaps bear down and keep trying until he gets it? Even experienced trainers can find it hard to read a dog that is doing nothing.
Counteracting the dog's natural inclination to run shore- lines is the foundation of water work. Like everything else in training, the most effective way to make the dog understand what you want is to make it seem easy to do the right thing and difficult, or less pleasant, to do the wrong thing. With low-level electrical stimulation, you can cause the dog to associate displeasure with its failure to take a direct route by water. The drills in this chapter are designed to teach the dog to go straight through water rather than to run the shore.
BLINKING, OR DELIBERATELY avoiding downed game, is a fault that renders retrievers useless. If your prospect did not show adequate bird interest when you embarked upon his training, you probably would have sought another dog. We assume, then, that the problem was created.
We recommend that you first teach your dog lining before you attempt multiple marks or marks that incorporate obstacles, diversions or other hazards. By emphasizing lining before advanced marking, you have control of the dog's course from the beginning so that the dog will understand that a straight line out and back will be the only acceptable route.
Teaching lining includes teaching the dog two basic skills: taking a good initial line, and carrying that line despite influences, such as wind, terrain and old falls. This article will cover the first skill, teaching the dog to take an initial line. For descriptive purposes, we will consider the "initial line" to be the first 20 yards that the dog runs.
Popping-stopping to look at the handler for help when no whistle has been blown-will occur in the training lives of most retrievers. In its infancy, during the early phases of retriever training
, it is usually a sign of compliance. Later in training it can become a chronic nuisance marring the smoothness of most blinds, and often marks as well. Usually, given fair and consistent training, dogs will pop less frequently as they increase their skill and confidence, until finally the pops disappear altogether. As in other forms of training, a sound foundation will go a long way in preventing problems later in life. With regard to pops, this means an unhurried approach to forcing on back and positive whistle stops.
At last, it's time to get started with the Tri-Tronics training collar. Your dog has been taught what each command means and already knows the responses that bring it success. Now you will use the Tri-Tronics collar to help the dog learn that there are no alternatives to correct responses.
One thing is clear about having your retriever professionally trained--it is expensive. From the trainer's point of view, at present-day training rates, he is providing a lot of service for his monthly fee. From the dog owner's viewpoint, however, it may be difficult to justify putting thousands of dollars into training a dog to be used only during a brief hunting season. Both of these viewpoints have merit. If the owner decides he can afford to have his dog trained and is interested in maintaining the dog's training as a sport and recreational activity throughout the dog's life, however, then pro training is a wonderful investment, and often a great buy in services. It should also be remembered that, for a person working full-time at a profession or business, the investments in time, equipment, transportation, and help in the training field are going to cost several times the cost of professional training. Each owner must make the decision whether pro training is worth the fee--but once this decision is made, there is a great deal the owner can do to make sure it is money well spent.
The ability to control which way the dog turns when given a "Back" cast is of great value when you need to handle the dog away from an influence that causes it to veer off the correct line. Casting the dog "Back" by turning it toward a diversion invites the beginning dog to succumb to the temptation of the diversion. On the other hand, casting the dog "Back" away from a diversion essentially tells the dog "NO Leave that alone," and greatly increases your control at a distance.
Most "common knowledge" concerning retrievers, their abilities, and attributes, has come from books (old and new), hearsay, and lore handed down from generation to generation. The majority of these information sources have slim basis in practical experience. Fact has become mixed with fiction, so that much of what is heard, while possibly entertaining, is of little practical value in working with your own dog. Two sorts of unfortunate consequences commonly result from mistaking retriever mythology for retriever fact.