Training Tip Of The Day: Support your passion, become a member!
Support your passion by becoming a member of a retriever club, training group, or volunteer to help a professional retriever trainer. Seeking enthusiasts who share your passion will only help promote and keep the retriever sports flourishing. It also helps clubs provide more events such as fun hunts, picnic trials, and clinics year round. Being active is the key, one never knows when a good technique, optimal training situation, or a gem of information will present itself to help you and your dog be the best it can be.
Remember it is okay to disagree. One does not have to debate why their method is better than another. A wealth of information is learned if one observes with an open-mind first and gives relative opinion when asked second. Even though like-minded individuals will share the same goals the methods in which to achieve them could vary widely.
All information can be good depending on how you digest it. For instance: If you witness a technique that you disagree with for your dog at the time, you may have just learned “What Not To Do”. However, file it away in your memory bank. A year from now the method observed may work for another dog. This observation may also inspire you to tweak the technique in a manner to fit your method of training or help develop a new technique.
Learning what to do, when to do it, and how to do it is a long journey filled with successful moments and not so successful moments. In any case, observing what not to do and what to do can be an opportunity waiting for you if you become a member and get involved. Your dog is only as good as the time and effort you put into it. For no success comes without good, honest, hard work.
Tera’s Training Tip Of The Day: Take A Break From The Electronic Collar.
A lot of equipment goes along with training retrievers for the field. If one is not careful it can be quite an expensive endeavor, we all love the latest and greatest gadgets. Most new products developed for dog training are useful while others are just that, gadgets that may not serve their purpose for long. In any case it is always good to go back to the basics and review a weakness of your retrievers. Before the world became so “high tech” the professionals of the past used to make champions without two-way radios, a four wheeler, electronic throwers, or the electronic collar. Hard to imagine in the world we live in today, but its true. The professionals and amateurs back in the day used to walk out to the dog to make a correction, gave a hand signal to their thrower, and often relied on the use of ropes to teach a skill.
With the ease of the electronic collar it has a tendency to be over used. At Bay Blue Kennels we try and put ourselves in the dog’s shoes. Basic training and collar conditioning can become a drawn out process for some retrievers. As an effort to keep all things in balance it is a good practice to take a break from the use of the electronic collar. During a young retriever’s basics training we are throwing so much information at them in a short period of time. At this period in your retrievers life they learn how to respond to all forms of pressure including the electronic collar. In order to challenge ones self for improvement in they way you read a retriever, react to their behavior, or teach a lesson do it for a day without the use of the electronic collar. By all means still make corrections and intervene in the retrievers actions as needed, but challenge your mind to find other ways to correct, teach, or practice your lessons. Your retrievers attitude toward training will benefit. Without the influence of the electronic collar your retriever may show other tendencies not noticed in training before. A look at the raw dog. Taking a day off from the use of the electronic collar will offer an alternative perspective about your retriever and their training habits.
Tera’s Training Tip Of The Day: Recognize Your Dog’s Effort.
Recognizing your retriever’s efforts during training is an influential element of your retriever’s ability to progress in training. As the trainer, one needs to pay attention to the retriever’s attitude, momentum and body language during their lessons. If your retriever is hanging his/her head when you clip the leash to his/her collar then he/she is telegraphing the lesson is no longer fun. One thing I love about these amazing retrievers is they can not lie! What you see, is what you get. If your retriever is stressed, sad, happy or confident they will without a doubt let you know. It is up to the trainer to be focused not only on the lesson at hand, but what the retriever is showing them. Don’t be a trainer who is just going through the motions of training. For example, the book said; I do this, this and this, following step-by-step instruction is O.K., but being rigid is a definite attitude killer for your retriever.
Attention to detail, a non-prejudice open mind and an objective eye, will help a trainer notice unwanted, manifested positive or negative, and changes in behavior. These changes in behavior can be directly related to the training environment or the retriever’s training lessons. Some common reasons for the lessons no longer being fun to your retriever are confusion, lack of successful repetitions or staying in a lesson too long creating boredom. If this poor attitude continues the retriever may regress in their lessons and ultimately stop putting forth effort toward learning. In turn, creating a retriever that no longer enjoys learning and is having to be forced to perform, an ugly sight I promise you. Recognize your retriever’s efforts toward learning, celebrate it, and offer advancement often knowing when to simplify if your retriever is showing signs of being overwhelmed.
Tera’s Training Tip of the Day: Have a warm up routine for your dog before he or she begins their training.
Over the years having dealt with pointers guiding pheasant hunts 5 days a week during MI winters and now running/training retrievers for field trials it is clear that the probability of injury is high under these conditions. However, one can be proactive against injury by providing a good quality food, joint supplement (one with glucosamine and Methylsulfonylmethane MSM ), and warming up a dogs core.
Bruce Alhers, DVM and avid Field Trialer spoke to me about his routines for conditioning and strengthening a dogs core muscles. Doing pile work up a hill, walking your dog on leash and requiring them to stand and sit several times, or have the dog sit up on their hind quarters with the front paws off the ground were just a few techniques mentioned.Rapid Retrieving such as “Happy Bumpers” can cause a dog to twist and turn before the muscles are sufficiently warmed up putting extra stress on ligaments and joints. Whatever routine you decide to adopt make sure it is done in a slow and controlled process working up to strenuous activity.Hope this helps everyone to have great training days that provide healthy years of enjoyment.