These are the 7 areas of focus we strive for in our training program.
He we show your dog how to interact with the world around him kids, other dogs, people, cars, cats ect. is going to help your hunting dog become your companion. Nothing will develop a dog quicker than exposing him to the world and showing him how to interact in the world. He will become more bold with each outing. Starting young will help make sure he becomes a good citizen. We make sure to get your dog exposed to as many situations as possible. Not only in the field but also around the home. Teaching him how to interact with people is an important step in his training.
We work with your dog so that it understands commands such as kennel, here, whoa, heel,no, turn, and fetch. These are all verbal commands. There are some non verbals that we teach as well. Like come go with me and stand up stand still. During your dogs stay he will be worked almost daily on obedience commands. This is a building tool we need to establish so that we can have control in the field. This needs to be taught at the dogs level and at the dogs pace. Years of experience helps this process to go quickly and smoothly.
In this step we introduce the dog to birds based on his level of maturity. Allowing us to build on the abilities that he already has. This can be different for every dog. Making sure the dog has a positive experience will increase his desire to become a better bird finder. We strive to make sure each dog gets ample bird work, working at its pace. After all working birds is what makes a bird dog a bird dog.
In this step we introduce the sound of gun fire. Getting the dog used to the loud bang so as not to scare him. This step needs to be approached very carefully with each dog. We take the time to do this correctly. Creating a gun shy dog can be very easy to do. However it’s very hard to undo. In our program we evaluate each dog and how he is taking to training before we start to fire a gun around him. There are certain benchmarks that we look for before we introduce the dog to the gun. If done correctly your hunting companion will have no trouble with the gun whatsoever.
In our pointing program we use a step by step approach to get the dog to stand and hold his birds until the desired release time. Timing and repetitions are critical at this point. Learning to read the dog and knowing when he is going to move, bust, chase, sit, leave, blink a bird, or even whoa is all done with experience. Unfortunately it is difficult to learn by watching a DVD or by reading a book. Each dog is going to learn how to hold a point at his own pace. We make sure the dog understands what we are asking him to do before we start any correction at this point. We want him to stand on point with style and class. Working a dog to stand his birds takes time and patience. We spend lots of time working the dog through this process.
Some dogs retrieve naturally, some do not. While working a dog on retrieving we strive to build on his natural desire to grab the bird and carry it. If we can build on this and use drills to help the dog bring the bird to us he can be taught to bring the bird to hand just by using his natural instinct. Over the years we have had dogs that at first didn’t like to retrieve but after a few short weeks we have been able to build a retrieve drive in the dog with out being forceful. We focus on teaching the dog a trained retrieve and have been successful at doing so. For those dogs that don’t want to retrieve then using a force fetch system is very appropriate. Determining when to do a force fetch program should be measured by the maturity level of the dog and his training level in the field.
When introducing a dog to the e-collar we focus on making the e-collar a learning tool and not a punishing tool. Teaching a dog with an e-collar is much different than punishing a dog with an e-collar. Most forms of training have been developed on the latter. Most people slap the collar on give a command and if the dog doesn’t respond they apply the stimulation. We have found it to be much more beneficial to introduce the e-collar through several different steps in our training. Working on our timing and showing the dog what we are asking before any correction is applied. Then when the timing is right to add the e-collar. Apply the stimulation built on a cue with a lead at first. Then graduating to just the e-collar and getting the dog conditioned for use in the field. Conditioning is the key here progressively working with the e-collar until the dog is ready for just the collar.