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: Utilize a mat when training your dog.
Many injuries occur when dogs loose their footing taking off from a stationary position. Muscles pulling away from bone, ligament tears, and sprained joints just to name a few common “Starting Position” injuries. Mats are a useful tool in “Place Training” your dog which can make for an impeccably “Steady” retriever.
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.
The force fetch table is unique to the person training on it. The table should not be too tall or too short but at a height the individual can rest a hip against. The table top should be no wider than 48in & no smaller than 24in. The table top should have sufficent room for a full size dog to stand on without falling off. For the purpose of this article we will use the demensions of my table. I am about 5ft’9 in tall and have a long reach. The dogs I typically work with are large breeds so my table top in 36 in W’ X 60 in L’ X 36in T’. The length can vary according to personnal preferace, some methods involve teaching simple casting on the table before transfering to the ground.
Once the size is determined you will need some supplies depending on your budget you can build for forever or build for now. Because our table sits outside we chose to go with treated lumbar and scews for extra sturdiness. We also have no plans on moving the table so it is heavy and will not fall over. If you chose to build a lighter table make sure you secure it before using it.
The table top will have a back wall mearsuring 36in W’X 48inL’. This wall is used to secure the dogs back legs and prevent him from stepping off the edge of the table. Then there is another side wall that is off set on the interior surface of the table. This wall is where you will secure your pole and prevent your dog from moving his shoulders. Once the table top is built and the base is secure attach an eye hook any where to the base where it will be out of the way. This eye hook is where you will secure the dogs flat collar when you are transfering the dog to fetch off the ground. Every table is unique and you can tweek the demensions however you like to fit your needs. However, all tables need a place to secure the dogs legs and a pole to secure the dogs head. There are many designs for force fetch tables and this is the best design for our kennel. We feel that the less movement the dog has the quicker and better learned is the lesson being taught. Please provide question or comment as we are here to provide accurate information to insure responsible training and humane force fetch training. Good luck with your training!!