Week Three - The Third Action (Becoming Stationary) - Page 3

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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To begin steadying the dog, toss a bumper over your shoulder so that it will land several yards behind you. Your position blocks the route to the bumper and discourages the dog from breaking.
Hunting situations can require that you send your dog from a distance to make a retrieve, and this requirement is incorporated into hunting tests and occasionally into field trials. Hearing your voice coming from a distance when it is sent to retrieve can confuse a dog that is only accustomed to being sent from your side.

To have your dog retrieve from a remote location, begin by putting out the familiar mat. Say "Place" as you command the dog to get on the mat. Then take your dog several feet away from the mat and send it to its "Place." Now throw a dog training dummy and release the dog to retrieve. Each time you throw a mark have the dog wait a few moments in its "Place" before you send it to retrieve. After it delivers to you, have it return to its "Place." Gradually increase your distance from the dog until the dog works from a remote location that is several yards away from you.

Now have someone else throw the mark. After each retrieve, have the dog deliver to you and then return to its "Place" before another mark is thrown. Soon your dog will view this activity as a game and will become accustomed to working from a remote location.


Leave the dog standing next to the stake. Then command, "Down!" and, if necessary, guide the dog down with the rope.
The dog has already learned the meaning of the word "Down" but now needs to understand that "Down" is also a command it must obey in order to turn off electrical stimulation. For this lesson, position the collar so that the contact points are on top of the dog's neck. The dog will naturally move away from the stimulation and this collar position will make it easier for the dog to learn during the initial training phase.

The best place to teach "Down" is at a tie-out stake which has a swivel ring on top. Run a long rope through the ring on top of the tie-out stake and tie one end to the dog's collar. By tying the rope to the collar, you can guide the dog all the way to the ground without the snap getting in the way. With the dog next to the stake, put it in a down position and walk to the end of the rope. The moment the dog gets up, command "Down!" and pull it back down. Stop the stimulation as the dog's elbows touch the ground. Then calmly praise the dog and let it remain down for awhile. Return to the dog and take it by the rope near its collar. Command "Heel" and walk the dog around for a short time. Return to the tie-out stake and repeat the procedure.

Now wiggle the rope as a distraction and be ready to reinforce "Down!". When the dog remains down even when you wiggle the rope, you can proceed to the next step.

Now the dog is ready to learn to lie down from a standing position to turn off stimulation. Leave the dog standing next to the stake. Pull the slack out of the rope as you walk away so that the dog cannot follow you. Then command "Down!" and, if necessary, guide the dog down with the rope.

Once the dog does not need to be guided down with the rope, take it away from the stake and put the dog on a leash. Now you are going to proceed the same way you did with the "Sit" command, giving light tugs on the dog leash after the dog has responded to the command "Down" and using mild stimulation whenever the dog tries to get up. Repeat this procedure until the dog resists the pull of the leash.

When the dog is reliable at these lessons, put the collar on in the normal position and repeat the lessons. Be sure to reward the dog's obedience with frequent fun bumpers.

Gradually increase distractions until the dog is reliable under all circumstances and in different locations. It will learn that it can turn off the stimulation by complying, and will lie down quickly on command. It will also learn to remain down around exciting distractions until you release it.

A tip for hunters: Cover all but the dog's head with a piece of burlap and require it to remain down while covered.
Here's a tip for hunters:
When the dog becomes reliable at staying in the down position, cover all but its head with a piece of burlap and require it to remain down while covered. This will be helpful when you're hunting and want to camouflage the dog.
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