Even if your not planing to work your dog, you can still enjoy training he/she as if you were, creating a greater bond between yourself and your dog. After all, it is your dogs natural instinct to hunt, be it self employed or in a partnership with you!
The main things to remember in the training of your dog is that
It isn't that hard, and certainly not as hard as some would try and have you believe, and it has to be fun!
That you want to nurture your Gundogs natural abilities.
That you want your dog working for you because it wants to, not because it fears the consequences if it doesn't.
No over handling and only letting your dog know it has gone wrong by verbal correction.
If a trainer ever tells you"to train a gundog to a good standard you need to show it who's boss"(if you know what I mean)
Because if they cannot train a dog by setting the dog up to never fail and by having a dog who knows he has done wrong by just a gruff of the voice, well then that trainer is not a good enough trainer to be teaching you no matter what they have achieved, if they train by physical reprimand then they are either to lazy to use their full talent to good or do not have enough talent.
Their are some wonderful trainers out there who will teach you more than you could ever imagine, enabling you to have an even greater bond with your dog, and these types of trainers should be cherished. Media now a days can be used for good, as sometimes bad trainers are stupid enough to put clips up of themselves training a dog in a manner that should not be allowed.
Sadly there are a few trainers, as in all walks of life, that shine on the outside but once you have been with them for a while their true colours appear. They throw their kindness training out of the window because they have not been able to resolve a problem or they have lost their temper, don't worry just
and go find another trainer, never give up, they are out there.
Just a few Tips
- Please remember I am not a trainer, just a handler, so the tips I give are gained from experience and learning from some great and wonderful professional trainers. They are a very rough guide that over time I will expand on. The clips are a great way to show you how we do it and there will be more made to show you the different stages.
- One of the best tips I was ever given was to 'Take it steady with your dog'. Until the dog is confident with an exercise do not move on to the next level. If when you do move to the next level the dog gets it wrong, don't worry, just take it back to the level it was happy and achieving at so you can finish that training session on a good note. You can always try again another day, far better that then you getting frustrated with the dog thereby making the dog feel unsure about what it is doing.
The sit position
When you place your dog in a sit, always go back to your dog, never recall it from a sit. If you never recall your dog from the sit position it will create a dog that expects to stay in that position until you go back to it, not one that is waiting in anticipation for you to recall, therefore expecting to move at any point.
The stop can be taught with positive training methods, to do otherwise would just lead to more complications later and you want the dog to think not shut down. If done positively the dog will stop fast and think
'Wow, she is stopping me, something good is about to happen'
leading to a dog alert and looking. You do not want your dog on hearing the whistle to think
'Oh no, I've done something wrong'
as this will lead to a dog shutting down and not open or ready for the next command or event.
Even in this video as you will see, I say 'ah ah' one two many times, and I only do it twice but that leads to Tinks shutting down and needing encouragement to get her back on track once again. What I should have done on that occasion was to just take the dummy without praise and to then reset the exercise and make sure i set her up so she couldn't fail :)
- Hold the dog in your arms, or if he/she is too big for that just hold her close whilst throwing the retrieve article. Hold the dog until she has calmed down and then let her go for the retrieve. No sits commands or wait commands, you are just teaching your dog the joy of retrieving and because you want her to continue enjoying it, only do 3 or so retrieves a day, and not every day.
- When your young one is coming back with the retrieve article, encourage them right into your arms with the retrieve item still in it's mouth. Do not take the item away from the young one straight away, just praise it warmly and then take it. This will help create a dog that does not drop the dummy as it approaches you, or one that runs around you but does not come near you. Keeping down the number of retrieves thrown for the dog also helps that.
- Remember that while you do not want to instil any bad habits at this early age, you do want the dog to be happy and really enjoying it, especially as basic training can be boring so you need to have short sessions and make them fun.
These are great for your dog and can put so much fun into just a normal walk.
Always make sure it is safe for you to set the blind up and that, as in all training, you progress at your dogs pace and change where you lay the retrieve and mix it up, different places etc. Use natural barriers as your dog progress by placing a dummy on the other side of an open bush so the dog has to go through that barrier to get the article, it all helps the dog expand their brain and to give them great confidence for the future. Our dogs remember the retrieves far better than i do, does that say something about me? :))
When I replayed this clip I realised how serious my tone of voice sounded, do not sound as I do in this clip when training your girls. I think this was one of the first clips I made therefore was thinking of the camera a bit to much
When teaching your dog to quarter (hunt) do not do so by treats.
Encourage the dog to hunt near you at all times, dropping a few tennis balls (unseen by the dog)
close to you and encouraging your dog to work that area until found.
When your dog is old enough to work on game he/she will naturally take more ground (go further away from you) so the tighter you keep your youngster now, the better.
Here is our Bella, we chose her to do the clips because all of our other dogs were water babes, Bella, bless her was not and to begin with was a terrible swimmer but with fun and patience she is now fine in the water.
We put this little clip up to show you how we go through teaching our dogs how to swim, or should I say the joys of swimming.
The reeds cut down the splash back the dogs when first learning hate and it makes them feel more secure.
We also start them of in the reeds because it is the shallow end, meaning they can still feel the ground beneath them. The more confident they get the further we throw it through the reeds.
If they have the drive for a ball, it is easy to teach, as long as you make it fun and no pressure.