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Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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With the dog off leash, start walking and give the command ":Heel.": Picture yourself at the center of a four-foot circle. Any time the dog leaves the four-foot circle, apply low-level stimulation and repeat ":Heel.":
Be sure to remain stationary until the dog has come to you. Your stationary position cues the dog that it is required to come all the way to you, which differs from the bending action where you kept moving. The dog should understand that when you stand still, "Here" means come all the way to you and don't run past you. This understanding will take it much easier to train the dog later to deliver to hand.

Remember, during this stage of the dog's training, you should be pressing the low button with each "Here!" command. The dog is learning how to turn off stimulation by taking action in response to the command and repetition is required for the dog to learn this concept.

Now call the dog to you with "Here!" several times in quick succession. Doing these repetitions close together will cause the dog to want to stay right with you, and there is no better time to train a dog to heel than when it already wants to be close to you.

With the dog off leash, start walking. Give the dog one command to heel, without using stimulation. As you walk, visualize a circle around you, four feet in diameter. Any time the dog leaves this circle after you've given it the "Heel" command press the low button as you say "Heel!" Turn 180 degrees away from the dog and continue walking.

You can make a rattle stick from a two-foot long piece of bamboo. Wrap six inches of one end with strong tape so that the handle won't split. Then split the remaining length of the stick at least six ways.
Turning away from the dog puts distance between the two of you, magnifying the dog's error. This procedure makes it easier for the dog to identify where it must be in order to turn off the stimulation. Initially, all your walking should be in a straight line except for the turns that you make when correcting the dog.

If the dog moves out of the heel position, hold the button down until it re-enters the four-foot circle. However, if it has moved farther than ten feet away, use the command "Here!" and release the button the moment the dog starts to come. During the first few sessions, do not correct the dog if it sometimes gets on the wrong side of you. In these early sessions, you are just teaching the dog that beside you is the place to be.

After several sessions, you can begin to refine the dog's understanding of the "heel position." Now, if the dog tries to heel on the wrong side, make that side less pleasant. The dog will choose to move to the other side if you shake a rattle stick on the wrong side whenever it tries to go there. However, to avoid confusing the dog, do not use the rattle stick before the dog has had at least three sessions on "Heel." You can make a rattle stick from a two-foot long piece of bamboo. Wrap six inches of one end with strong tape so that actually speed up as you press both buttons. When the dog bursts forward, release the buttons and give it exciting praise to animate it. Once the dog will speed up to match your change of pace as you use the Tri-Tronics collar, it has learned to turn off stimulation through action.

When your dog knows how to turn off stimulation in response to both the ":Here": and ":Heel": commands, you should add a challenge by increasing the level of distraction.
When your dog knows how to turn off stimulation in response to both the "Here" and "Heel" commands, you should add a challenge by increasing the level of distraction. As the distraction level rises, you may have to increase the stimulation level, using the medium or high buttons. In some cases, you may need to use the next higher intensity plug. After several lessons with challenging distractions, the dog should be complying quickly with your command. Now you can begin the transition to the avoidance response.

As your dog becomes quicker at responding, the period of stimulation will become very brief. When the dog has reached this stage, continue using very brief periods of stimulation with each "Here" or "Heel" command for a few sessions. Then begin phasing out the use of stimulation each time you give these commands. Now that the dog is consistently speeding up and is receiving only very brief periods of stimulation, you can stop using the collar with the first command. You want the dog to realize that by responding quickly, it can avoid stimulation. It will perceive that by making a quick, correct response, it can avoid discomfort every time.

From now on, when giving either the "Here" or the "Heel" command, use stimulation only when you must repeat the command because the dog is slow to obey, the dog doesn't come straight to you, or it runs past you. In other words, first give the command without stimulation, and if the dog ignores you, press the low button as you repeat the command. If you must repeat the command again, press the medium button. If you are still being ignored, press both buttons as you repeat the command again, and hold them down until the dog complies.

Teach the dog to respond to the ":Come-In Whistle": by following the whistle with a ":Here! ": command.
Normally, you will only need to use the high buttons if the distraction is very exciting or the intensity plug in the Tri-Tronics Collars'>Tri-Tronics collar is too low. If you find that you are using the medium or high buttons most of the time, put the next higher intensity plug in the collar.

Be sure to give the dog plenty of praise when it responds correctly to your command. Soon you will rarely need to use your collar to reinforce "Here” or "Heel."

Once the dog knows how to avoid stimulation by obeying the "Here" command, it's easy to teach it the “Come-In Whistle." Just give the three-whistle trill followed by "Here" a few times. Now use your "Come-In Whistle" alone, and if the dog doesn't come, immediately follow with the verbal "Here!" command.

When it's taught in that sequence, the dog chains the whistle with the verbal "Here!" and it will soon try to avoid the stimulation by coming quickly when it hears the whistle. Now you can begin using the "Come-In Whistle" alone, and only reinforce it with stimulation if the dog fails to come quickly when it hears the whistle. Be sure to reward the dog with frequent fun dog training bumpers when it comes in quickly.

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