By Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels - Home of Drake the DU Dog
A well-rounded hunter retriever is best developed when provided a balanced diet, not only in the food he consumes, but also in the training experiences he encounters. The art of retriever training includes striking a productive, logical, progressive balance in a dog's training regiment. Dwelling exclusively on just one skill for extended periods can diminish other previously established skills. Furthermore, this oversight will likely result in a bored dog displaying lackadaisical performance. Successful training methodology involves balance in its structure.
First, let's review a few of the previously established basic truths about dog training methodology:
- Dogs learn best through causal relationships established through consistent repetition (the learning chain - parts of the whole).
- Dogs have better retention through positive reinforcement, not force.
- Training should enhance/complement natural ability, not disguise it.
- Training is teaching, not testing. Dogs don't learn from failure.
- Dogs do learn through group dynamics.
- Training involves four phases: yard, field, transitional and hunting
These assumptions have been established in many of our Wildrose training articles. Now let's add balance in training structure:
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- Training is not a program; it is a process.
- Dogs learn best when instruction is cyclical.
- Training sessions should involve both primary and counter skills.