Gun Dog: Retrieving 101
Drew: Today weíre going to talk about introducing your dog to retrieving and some of the tricks and techniques and products that they have out there for introducing a dog to retrieving. Joe, what are some of the techniques that you use as far as starting a dog off on retrieving.
Joe: Well, if you possibly can, you need to start them off in a hallway. Close all the doors and you get at about five to eight feet from the end of the hall and you start throwing a little bumper there. All you are interested in is the dog to chase it. The dog picks it up and comes back to you, so much the better. But if he wants to go around you, you can control him and grab him whenever you are in the hall.
And you donít want to take it away from him. You just want to pet them and let them hold it a few seconds. Then you take it and you throw it again. But you donít want to throw more than two or three at one time.
Then from there you take them out in the yard. You put you a check cord on them and you start throwing them in the yard. Not far. You donít want to throw but about four or five yards. Then you pull them back with the cord if you have to. With the cord youíre going to keep them in control so he canít get away. You pull them back to you and you just pet them. Donít take the bumper away from them. Let them hold it a few seconds. Then you take it away from them. Then you throw it again.
But you donít want to throw it more than a couple of times. You want them jumping for it whenever you are going to stop.
Drew: Steve touched on something like that earlier, said you canít do that process too slow. Do a couple of them, put it back up, and come back the next day.
Steve: The thing that folks tend to do is if they have a window to work, they want to fill that whole window with time. And theyíre really better off if theyíve got a couple of times a day. You can go and do two retrieves and come back in a hour, two hours and do two more, and spread it out over the day instead of sitting there. Iíve seen guys sit there and take a young dog and do 20 or 30 retrieves just back to back. If the dogís got a lot of drive heíll do it, but at some point heís going to go, ďThis isnít any fun anymore.Ē Especially with a young dog; they get tired quick.
Joe: As soon as they grab the bumper and they lay down, then wait.
Steve: Youíve passed it. Much better to stop when they are just wanting more. Thatís a big deal.
Drew: Whatís some of the tools there at Gun Dug Supply yíall have?
Steve: Lot of different dummies. Something visual. I like to see something thatís got some motion to it in the air. Check cords are a huge deal. We are talking about starting off with really short retrieves. A lot of folks have a tendency to want to push that dog out fast. If he wonít do it at 10 or 12 feet, what makes you think heís going to do it at 100 yards?
So you want to start out with the short distance and get everything going where you want it. And you donít want to get in the habit of grabbing, tug-of-war, that type of stuff. When he comes in, praise him up, get him in position. Let him hold it as long as he wants to. You want the dog to enjoy it. Thatís his prize.
Eventually, youíll get to where youíll be able to take it from them immediately and theyíre ready for the next one.
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