Now that your dog responds to commands, in Part 2, we will look at how toput it all together. Our initial goal was to get the dog to come back with thebird after he has found it so now we have to use these few commands to do so.Make sure these commands are rock solid in a drill setting before you attemptto put them to use with a retrieve.
Get your dog’s favorite dummy out and use it when you think you are ready todemand the recall during the retrieve. It may also help if you can use anactual dead bird while working on this retrieving. The reason for the dead birdis we want to see the possessiveness during these retrieves. If your dog didnot want to bring one back during a hunt, he probably will act the same waynow. If he does, here is when you want to use the check cord and choke chain toyour advantage.
Use Positive Reinforcement
After you throw the dummy or bird, let your dog go and pick it up. The secondhe gets to it, give the “come” command followed by a correction withthe cord. Don’t be surprised if you have to use a stronger correction now thathe has the object in his mouth. Once he decides to turn and come towards you,make sure to use positive reinforcement.
When he gets to you, tell him to “sit.” Remember that this is acommand so use some conviction in your tone of voice. If the dog drops theretrieve, reward him with another retrieve. If he doesn’t want to let go, atleast you have him next to you so you can address the next problem, which is aform of “hard mouth.”
There are many forms of hard mouth ranging from the dog that won’t let go ofa bird to the dog that actually consumes birds. This problem is one that can becured but it will take a bit more drill work and patience. And actually, is notas bad as this scenario, “My dog saw the bird go down, went over to it,and just left it there.”
Teaching ‘Force Fetching’: Use A Pro
The above two examples will most likely have to situations where the dog willhave to be taught a conditioned retrieve. Commonly referred to as “forcefetching,” dogs that go through this type of training, really are thedifference between a decent hunting dog, vs. a great one! If you feel yourdog needs this type of training, I would recommend getting some professionaladvice or take your dog to a reputable trainer, and let them do it. Forcetraining is something that takes a great deal of time and patience on both yourpart and the dogs. A professional’s experience is definitely a huge advantage.
Even though winter is here and next fall seems like a long ways off, don’tput off your dogs unwanted retrieving habits. Take advantage of the early mildwinter and try to put an end to any bad tendencies your dog has whenretrieving. Trust me when I say this, the longer you wait to address them, themore difficult it will be to correct them.
If you have any questions about dog training, you can contact Jason Dommeyerat Cannon River Kennels located in Randolph, Mn. (507-663-6143)
Be sure to visit Sportsman’s Guide for a full assortment of dog hunting supplies.
Jason Dommeyer has a lifetime of hunting experience and 15 years experience as a dog trainer. He has turned many pets into expert hunting dogs at Cannon River Kennels. In addition to training hundreds of hunting companions, he has trained dogs for premier pheasant hunting lodges in South Dakota along with duck hunting lodges in Mississippi and Mexico. His experience also includes both hunting and guiding for upland and waterfowl game from Canada to South America. If you have any questions, Jason can be reached at 507-663-6143 or visit (Cannon Rivers Kennels) He provides dog training tips weekly.