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Mayfly

Training your Dog To Understand Direction

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Mayfly

I want to be able to guide my pup on blind retrieves. Looking for some ideas on how to train her to do this and if there were any tricks or easier methods that worked for any of you. Thanks, Tim

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fwp

Mayfly, first off how old is your pup? Teaching a dog to handle on blind retrieves is probably one of the most time consuming phases of training a good hunting dog. There are a lot of other basics that have to be accomplished prior to the handling training. Depending on your time schedule and pocket book a pro can accomplish this in a few months if the preliminaries are done. If you choose to do it yourself there are a lot of good books on lab training that cover the handling phase very well. Many a hunting dog has been trained using Richard Wolters methods. Today the proper use of the electronic collar can assist you a great deal. Again, in order to use the collar effectively the dog has to go through a conditioning phase in order not to cause problems with the dog. If you have a pro nearby ask them for some pointers as most will share some good advise. Good Luck!

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jlm

Good post fwp! Your dog should have one season of hunting in first in my opinion before he learns blind retrieves. All the basic should be down very well and should be automatic before you even attempt blind work. Otherwise you will have nothing but frustration. What stage is your hound at right now?

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Ruttin' Buck

I agree with the posts above...if the basics are honed, you can work on the tougher training but it is best after the first season on the water.

However, to help your dog transition from basic retrives to double and triple blind retrieves can be made easier IMO if you do a few things early on.

I use my opinion that dogs watch you more than listen to you every time I train. As an example, take for instance the fact that a dog will cower when you cock your head downwards and give them the angry stare down face...if they've seen you upset you've likely had an upset look on your face...after that, you don't even need to raise your voice for them to realize you are not happy with them.

So I have a hand command for every command I give and my dog will perform each now without speaking to her. Sit, stay, lay down, head down, heel, come, etc each have a distinguishable hand gesture....this comes in handy in the blind.

So when I began doubles and triples I used a similar open hand casting method to the previously mentioned Richard Wolter's tactics. If you begin casting your dog with every single retrieve you send the dog out for I believe the blind retrieves as well as doubles and triples blinds come easier later on.

I guess I don't see it as being too much too early...just one more visual aid to give them a sense of direction which should get you going down the right path for more difficult retrieves.

I'm no pro trainer but can tell you that this has worked for me and I think the dog soon sees it as routine rather than something else they have to learn. I've never had my dog with a pro trainer so anybody can do it with enough PERSISTANCE and CONSISTENCY...meaning do it as often as possible and use the same methods and commands every time and most of all, make sure you make it fun for both of you.

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Snag

If the dog will sit and stay, you should be able to teach over and back. I have my dog sit then stay with a hand signal. I walk away and throw a bumber to the left or right. Blow the whistle then send the dog with a hand signal. Once the dog seems to understand add the command over. I'm no expert, but my dog seemed to be able to pick up on these commands without any problems. This should at least help get you started.

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