With hunting season now upon us, it may be time to ask yourself whether or not your dog needs the aid of a remote training collar. If you feel that your dog knows each command that you tell him or her, especially your recall command, but only does it when he or she is ready, you may think about making this important investment.
It may not only make your hunting season more enjoyable, it may protect your dog from a potentially dangerous situation some day.
An example I always use with customers is the scenario where your dog flushes a rooster at the end of a food plot and you happen to wound the bird, but it continues to fly away from you across a highway. If you hit the bird hard enough that it falls on the other side, and your dog sees this, most likely the dog will be off to make the retrieve. After all, this is what we train our dogs to do. However, you see some traffic on the highway and you do not want your dog to retrieve this downed bird, can you call him or her off that bird? Even the most well-trained dogs with an experienced dog handler would have difficulty in this type of situation.
As a dog trainer, I often hear, "My dog knows the ‘come’ command, but will only do it when he wants to." We often call this "selective hearing." People will even say, "I think my dog does not hear real well." I always tell them that your dog hears you, but is deciding not to listen! A remote collar may be the answer to your problem.
Dog Must Know How To Stop Discipline
The key to a remote collar is making sure the dog knows how to shut off the discipline when it follows a command. Whether the correction is a snap with the choke chain, a pinch of the ear, or an electrical stimulus from a remote collar, the dog must understand how to stop the pressure.
Remote collars can help keep your pheasant dog hunting within gunrange at all times!
For example, we will hear an inexperienced dog handler say, "I turned my collar up as high as it would go and the dog still does not listen." All this tells me is that the handler did not spend anytime showing the dog manually how to turn off the correction. The key is to show the dog how to stop the discipline as it follows a command.
Let’s take the most important off-leash command: "come." Teach the dog first what the command means by using a leash or a check cord. You can do this by letting the dog get to the end of the cord, then say "come," followed by a snap with the rope. As your dog turns and begins to come to you, make sure to use a lot of praise. When the dog gets all the way back to you, make sure to pet it and show positive reinforcement. Continue this type of drill until you are able to simply use the command with no correction, and by only using positive reinforcement when it gets back to you. Now if your dog responds when the leash or check cord is on, but the minute you take it off he or she gets that "selective hearing," it may be time for the remote collar.
Please read more on how to properly introduce a remote collar to your dog in Part 2.
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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 (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/) 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 (http://www.cannonriverkennels.com/) He provides dog training tips twice a month.