Retriever Training Articles
If you hunt with your dog inside a blind, or if you are ambitious about training your retriever, you will want to teach him to do blind retrieves. For him to be successful picking up birds he has not seen fall, however, you need to understand that there is much more to a blind retrieve than simply giving your dog directions. You need to get past the illusion of perfect handling, and understand the problems your dog faces as he tries to follow your instructions.
Retired Guns can be one of the best ways to test a dog’s marking ability. The dog has to mark the area where the bird fell. He cannot rely on a thrower station to jar his memory of the bird. We all know that dogs can be taught to hunt the area of a gun station. Some of us even do drills to teach our dogs to hunt off the left or right side of the gun station. A trained dog can be sent to a gun station that has not even thrown a bird and will hunt off the left or right side of the station depending on his handler’s cues.
Seeing that two of the dogs I brought in for CERF exams were black Labs, the vet’s assistant started telling me about her yellow Lab bitch. She was planning to breed her bitch--had bred her before to a yellow stud, and was planning this time to use a chocolate belonging to the same owner. We talked at length, and finally I asked her if she knew that the breeding she planned (chocolate x yellow) would almost certainly produce black puppies. "Why yes," she answered, "I got six black and six yellow last time."
Some areas of work for the hunting retriever require simple familiarity with the conditions. This type of training is designed to prepare your dog in advance for things that are awkward, confusing, or difficult upon the first exposure. Blinds, boats and decoys all fall into this category. If you hunt your dog in a variety of situations it is a good idea to practice all of them so that your initial hunts will be easier for her.
If we are committed to keeping the Retriever in our Goldens, it is essential that we understand the qualities we are evaluating and selecting for. Our Breed Standard elucidates the blueprint for the Golden Retriever in physical terms, but is somewhat less illustrative in describing the functional attributes that make these magnificent animals what they are.
Most retrievers, while learning double marks, slip into the counterproductive and aggravating habit of "head-swinging." This fault can take two forms, either of which adversely affects the dog’s marking and memory. In the first type, as soon as the memory bird comes down – sometimes even while it’s still falling-the dog swings his head around to look for the go-bird. This happens most frequently when the memory bird is a control bird and the go-bird is a shot flier. In dog-games, if the guns are visible from the line, a retriever can tell when one station is about to shoot a flier, which is far more exciting than a control bird.
Whether you are an avid hunter, a seasoned field trialer or a hunt test enthusiast, finding good land to pursue your passion on is often a difficult undertaking. The task of finding people to work with to bring along your hunting dog, tune him up for the fall hunting season, or to simply throw marks for your hunt test/field trial dog is always a problem.
At some point, when your young dog is doing so well on his singles that you can’t wait to try something more advanced, you are ready for the introduction of doubles. We always start this as a "schooled double," that is, by employing a single, or a mark that the dog has already practiced, and then throw another dummy as a diversion.
Before a professional trainer can effectively train your pup, you’d be well advised to get a bit of training yourself. By doing a thorough job of getting to know your pro, preparing your pup correctly and understanding a few guidelines for participation in the training program, you can make the most of this significant investment of time and money.
Take your dog.
Sure, there are some waterfowl hunters out there debating whether a dog belongs in the blind, but there’s no doubt in the mind of Randy Bartz.