Teaching Steady To Shot

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

Teaching Steady To Shot

By Tom Dokken from Oak Ridge Kennels and Dokken Dog Supply


0:31 Announcer: GundogsOnline.com helping you get the most from your hunting dogs.  Brought to you by Dokken Dog Supply, quality dog training products and accessories.

0:48 You know there's nothing nicer than having a retriever that stays steady in the duck blind. But on the other hand, there's nothing worse than having a dog that won't wait to go for the retrieve and is taking off, scaring everything up before they even get a chance to come in the decoys.

1:00 Hi, Tom Dokken from Oak Ridge Kennels in Northfield, Minnesota. We're at the Dokken training grounds here and we're going to show you today how to get true steadiness out of your retriever. Now you can see that we have our dog sitting in our platform. Here's what he's already been taught. He's been taught with the leash and choke chain to get to stay on the platform. It's also been reinforced with the remote collar. Plus, he's had distractions, like walking around, twirling a dummy, all the little things. Plus, a shot (two gunshots) of the blank gun. And he knows that he's supposed to stay on that spot and reinforcable.

Now here's the final test. We're going to take a pigeon. We've got it attached to our pole. I'm going to let it flop around. But if he breaks off of the platform, I'm going to make a correction with my remote collar. 

1:53-2:06 (dog panting and bird's wings flapping)

2:08 Now you can see this is a  young dog and he brought his feet off the platform a couple of times. But he knows he's not supposed to leave the spot. And that's such a great thing about having this platform training. Although he maybe left with his front feet, he kept himself steady.

Now what we're going to do is we're going to take this step and we're going to get a thrower out in front of us. I'm going to grab a shotgun, sit down next to him and we're going to have a throw and a shot and a retrieve.

2:37 Now if your dog can withstand having this pigeon flapping in front of him, then there's no excuse for him when you knock a bird down 30 yards out into the water for him to break. That's a great thing about this drill.

2:52 We're now going to finish off our steady drill that we started earlier. Now I've got the shotgun, got it loaded. My remote collar is going to act as my reinforcement tool. We have a thrower out in front. What I'm looking for here is ultimate steadiness, the dog to stay in one spot once I've shot. Now I'm going to wait for a little bit before I send him. And that's one of the keys I want to point out.

When you're working on steadiness, work on steadiness. There's no rule that says you have to send your dog as soon as it hits the ground or hits the water. So wait a count. Maybe you'll wait a ten count. Maybe you'll wait a little bit less.  Maybe you'll wait a little bit more. If I have a dog that's really excited, then I'm going to wait a little longer. If I have a dog that has maybe a moderate retrieve desire, I'm going to send them a little bit faster. This is kind of your final proving ground as far as true steadiness is concerned. Let's see how it goes.

3:45 (cocks gun)

3:53 (gun shot)

Seven, nine, thirty, twenty, fifty, eighty.


4:13 Sit.

4:19 Well you can see this young dog passed the test. You want to lead up to all of these drills by doing your basics. Leash and choke chain for sitting and staying. Getting the dog  to the point where you can do it with the remote training collar. Your bird on the pole. And then you finish it off by shooting and throwing and having your thrower out there.

Here's one other tip. If your dog should break, two things. If you can't stop him, make sure that your thrower knows that it's his job to get to the bird before your dog does. We never want to reward them with a retrieve.

4:53 [Closing]

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