Pages of training tips and help;
Baby steps in the right direction;
My 8mth old pup is doing really well but was finding ‘Direction’ a bit of a challenge. She could do a left, she could do a right, she could go back. But if i ever put two dummies out she collasped into silliness! I needed a little step between one dummy/one direction and multiple dummies/every direction! I divised a little exercise – find a cross roads in a path as usual….but this time I’m standing in the junction, facing my pup. I threw one dummy over her head, and one up the path to my left. One long blast of the whistle to get her attention then a swift back command – I was in the way if she wanted the dummy out to my left. Once she had delivered the dummy to hand I left her in my spot – now level with the second dummy and retreated down the path – one long blast of the whistle and a swift ‘Out’ command. I’m delighted that after a couple of weeks doing this exercise once a day and we are now able to multiple dummies in various directions with me moving and she remembering well and taking commands beatifully.
Three Card trick that turns into Roulette.
Once the dog can handle the baby step of two retrieves with direction, why bother with the ol’ fashioned 3 card trick? Instead move quickly onto a spinning wheel: Think of a compass – North, East, South, West….put the dog in the middle or hub, throw a dummy over his head, directly behind him – ‘North’ – and throw one out to his right – ‘East’ …..I want to teach the ‘OUT’ command so standing at ‘South’ I send the dog to the dummy at East with my right arm and ‘Out’ command….I meet the dog at the hub and after delivery of the dummy I again leave him in the sit – BUT I now go to stand at East (where the dog had picked the dummy) and throw another dummy out over the dog’s head. We have both moved around one compass point – I am now at East, the Dummy I want is at the original North, but the dog has seen a ‘new’ dummy thrown over his head to West….. I ask the dog to think – ‘OUT’ with the right arm, and the dog has to remember the old dummy, the first thrown. And so we go around the compass with the dog being sent from the hub with myself moving around the compass points, each retrieve the dog is having to remember the previous throw and obey the command. This exercise can be used for the ‘Back’ command as well and can be changed midway through to one or the other, just by myself moving to a different compass point.
Long Lines; Learning lines canbe difficult for some! Use a long path and place out – very visibly – three dummies with 10-20mtrs gap. Send the dog for the first…check for good delivery and set up for the second retrieve. Send for the second dummy, as the dog gets to where the first dummy was located issue a command to keep the dog going – ‘BACK’ is good. Repeat with the third dummy and as the dog nears the first location say ‘Back’, as he nears the second location …. ‘Back’. And more and so on …. the dog will learn that as you say ‘Back’ all he has to do, is run a little further, and he’ll find the dummy!