1 02, 2018

1-Preparation for running a Hunt Test or Field Trial

2018-08-09T15:53:00-07:00Thursday, February 1, 2018|0 Comments

In this blog we will go through all the steps the handler must learn in preparing for training and testing. We will review all the steps in preparation for running a Hunt Test or Field Trial.
Anytime we train, a checklist is handy to have to insure we are totally prepared. I am sure you have your own checklist that would include such things as gear bag, glasses, whistle, gloves, lip balm, sunscreen, and fully charged electronics. Nothing sabotages a training day more than getting all set up and finding out the batteries in your wingers or e-collars are dead.
After putting [...]

15 01, 2018

2-The Sit Command

2018-08-09T15:25:44-07:00Monday, January 15, 2018|2 Comments

I don’t know why people spend so much time naming their new pup.  For the first 4 months of the dog’s life he will think his name is “No”.  Every time he really starts to enjoy himself, his owner will shout out his new name “NO!” No simply means stop what you are doing.  Rather than just say no, let’s give him some direction.

There have been countless articles, videos, and books demonstrating how to train retrievers.

Let’s try a slightly different approach.  We will take a fictional dog named “Jessie”, an eight week old retriever, through all the socialization, obedience, drills, [...]

20 02, 2018

3-The Heel Command

2018-08-09T15:36:26-07:00Tuesday, February 20, 2018|1 Comment

In our last column we covered the first command “Sit”.  We seamlessly covered 2 other commands on the bottom rung of our training pyramid.  The first was “Sit” at a distance.  You first want the dog to sit fairly close to you and then over time, to be able to get your dog to sit at greater distances from you.  I watched the expression on the face of a person who had never observed advanced retriever training absolutely gape when on a single whistle at 400 yards away an Open dog stopped on a dime and looked back at his [...]

7 03, 2018

4-“Here” – “Heel” Command

2018-08-09T15:41:36-07:00Wednesday, March 7, 2018|0 Comments

“Jessie” is about to learn the next command which is “Here”.  After all it is difficult to train a dog if they are 200 yards away from you.  This command can be a life saver.  A vicious dog may be loose or cars may be coming towards you at high speeds.  As in all commands it is not a request it is a command meaning come to me right now not when he gets done basking in that wonderful aroma he found.  With young pups, I will use treats. This tells the dog when you say “Here” good things will [...]

27 03, 2018


2018-08-09T15:41:53-07:00Tuesday, March 27, 2018|0 Comments

“Jessie” has completed the bottom tier of the Training Pyramid.  She has been taught “Sit”, “Sit at a Distance”, “Whistle Sit”, “Heel”, “Here”, “Here – Heel”, “Kennel” and using the “Kennel” command to facilitate housebreaking.  She knows each one of these commands perfectly.  If she relapses, we go back, simplify and advance to perfection.

Now let’s have some fun at the next level.  I call this level The Retrieving Level.  After all retrievers got their name from their function.  The first behavior we teach is a hand thrown puppy retrieve.  I use either a rolled up white sock or small paint [...]

29 04, 2018

6-Introduction to Water

2018-08-09T15:42:08-07:00Sunday, April 29, 2018|0 Comments

The next concept of the second tier of our Training Pyramid Program is the Introduction to Water.  There is no question that adding water to the mix is necessary in many recipes but it must be done correctly.  Work on water is about 5 times harder than work on land.  One reason it is harder is that in many cases you cannot physically go out to assist the dog.  Good training involves tennis shoe training.  Go out and get personal with the dog.  If you really want to make an impression go out into the water yourself to show him [...]

12 05, 2018

7-Multiple Marks

2018-08-09T15:40:58-07:00Saturday, May 12, 2018|0 Comments

Now that “Jessie” is an accomplished marker on singles, it is time to move to multiple marks.  Puppy doubles.  Again we go back to an open field and throw bumpers short enough so the pup can see each fall and the mark all the way out.  We don’t want them to spend a lot of time hunting for a difficult mark.  Start with 2 gun stations that are spaced widely apart but not too far out.  Let’s start by having the left gun station throw Mark 1 to the left into the wind as a single.  Please refer to the [...]

31 05, 2018

8-Preventing Injuries

2018-08-09T15:40:42-07:00Thursday, May 31, 2018|0 Comments

We have now completed the second level of the Training Pyramid Program.  We have covered the commands and concepts of “Land Marks with Multiple Guns, Introduction to Birds, Introduction to Water, Puppy Hand Thrown Retrieves, Puppy Retrieves from Gun Stations or Remote Throwers, and Introduction to Gunfire and Puppy Doubles.

We have a dog whose value is climbing and we are becoming attached to it.  Perhaps now would be a good time to examine ways to decrease the chances of our pup becoming injured.  One condition that afflicts young dogs is Osteochondritis Dissecans.  This injury can occur in many joints of [...]

26 06, 2018

9-Collar Conditioning

2018-08-09T15:40:29-07:00Tuesday, June 26, 2018|0 Comments

We are now up to the third level of our Training Pyramid Program.  Up until now it has been all fun and games but now a little pressure will be added to the mix.  We will start with the introduction to the e-collar.  I was around before the e-collar came into common usage.  The methods employed to prevent bank running, staying off points and even the command to “Sit” when the dogs was a long way from the handler were brutal.  Judiciously applied it is far easier on the dog and the handler.  A few things to remember, never use [...]

26 06, 2018

10-Hold and Force Fetching

2018-08-09T15:40:15-07:00Tuesday, June 26, 2018|0 Comments

We are now getting into the nitty gritty of training a retriever.  We will cover the concept of teaching “Hold” and then “Force Fetching”.  In the first phase we teach “Hold”.  Another label we might put on this behavior is “Pressure Conditioning” Phase 1.  Studies have clearly demonstrated that positive reinforcement only does not work.  Dogs and children must have boundaries.

Put the dog up on a table, bench or other platform so you can work with the dog easier.  Professional dog trainers leave their vocation because their backs giving out from bending over so much.  You have far more control [...]

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