Advice on Starting Basic Training with a new Gundog Puppy.
You can start training a Gundog puppy from the day you get them home. The secret is patience, and don't rush the initial training. A good solid foundation can make all the difference in the future training process.
Dont be to hard on a young dog, always make it fun and enjoyable, and never fall out with the dog or lose your temper. Although a clear "NO" can be used to make the dog know when its doing things wrong.
Find out what they like to play with or carry in their mouth. A ball, a water dummy, or canvas dummy perhaps. Then you can try some simple and straight forward throw and retrieves. Make sure there is lots of encouragement and fussing when things go right. Our Canvas Puppy Dummy is great one to start with. Make sure it only comes out for training... Its not a toy! The Canvas Dummy with a Toggle is the next one to try, easier to throw a greater distance.
So what about a Whistle?... Well the 210.5 and 211.5 Acme Whistles are the popular choice. The decision on which one is really just down to personal preference. The dog will respond to either, and is nothing to do with certain dog breeds suiting one whistle type better than another. But once you choose a whistle type, best to stick with it as the dogs ear is highly tuned to the Whistle pitch it knows and recognises as you. The 210.5 is a higher pitch and is the more popular choice.
You can now start to incorporate the whistle into the training together with bold gestures and vocal commands. Recall the dog rapid pips on the whistle, and a good idea is to alternate with the "Come" command and open arms. Remember lots of praise when it works well. Gradually increase the distance between you and the sitting dog. Build it up in steady stages. You will very quickly get the dog to stay and wait for its recall command, and to run in for lots of praise and a treat. Always use this when its food time or going out for walks etc. The dog will very soon associate the recall with something good or fun is about to happen.
Use a single Whistle Blow to Sit the dog or Stop. The sit is taught by holding the puppy’s food above its head and when it sits (which it must do to look up at its food bowl) you say the word 'SIT' and put the flat of your hand up in the air. Similarly to the Recall command the single Whistle and Sit/Stop Command must be associated with something good is about to happen and the dog must sit and wait to see what pleasurable event that is going to be. A Food treat is a good way to train the stop.... Stop the Dog with a sharp single whistle blast and hold out a flat hand signal. Then when the dog sits, approach the dog slowly with a food treat and lots of fuss. The food treat can gradually be phased as training progresses successfully.
Hopefully after a while you can get the dog to recall to you, then stop it half way, then recall again and so on. Good luck!
Mark. Gundog Solutions
Advice on Starting Retrieval Training with a new Gundog.
So its time to start some basic retrieve training. Choose something easy to see with a bold colour, and easy for the dog to carry in its mouth. A soft canvas Dummy is the ideal choice, but a tied rag or paint roller will work fine too.
Start with a simple short throw or place, and the dogs natural instinct is to go for it. Hopefully they will bring it back to your general direction for a reward and a fuss. If not you will have to go to them, but still rewarding all the time. Many people now use a Clicker to reinforce a good result, followed by a food treat and vocal/physical appreciation.
One of the big problems now will be getting the dog to let go of the dummy. Don’t expect a perfect sitting delivery at first. Focus on them coming to you in a calm manor by stroking them and softly take the dummy in your hands and then telling them to sit. It won’t take long for them to naturally sit as they give you the dummy. Click and reward each time, and remember that it will take time and patience to get there. They will probably turn their head or want to pull back with dummy, but don’t try to snatch, pull or wrestle it out, just keep it calm, relaxed and patient. The dog will soon realize what to do to get the treat and for the game to start again.
Now you can improve steadiness and try holding the dog back from chasing after the thrown dummy as soon as it’s thrown… You need to put yourself between the dog and the dummy.. Sit the dog down facing you with your flat hand held out. With your other hand drop or short throw the dummy behind you, but so the dog still sees it. Wait a moment, then send the dog with a clear arm gesture. Gradually change the angle and distance of the thrown dummy from behind you to 45 degrees and then 90 degrees. At this point your solid sit/stay dog will be more by your side.
Keep it fun with lots of encouragement when things go well. Now its just repetition over short periods, try to stop on a high and with the dog wanting more. Good luck!
Mark. Gundog Solutions