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Four Common Problems and Solutions in Dog Training

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Problem 3: Your dog breaks at the shot.

If your dog has spent the off-season "sitting on the couch eating Scooby snacks," as Henard likes to say, it's almost a foregone conclusion that, for the first day or two of the season, the dog will break when it hears a shot. Here, Henard believes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and recommends steadying practice before the season begins — "to get the dog back in the mindset of working and retrieving birds."

Dogs will still break on occasion, and for these infractions, Henard recommends an on-the-spot refresher course.

"If there's not a lot of birds flying around, we'll have a little training session," he says. "We'll take a bird and throw it, and have someone else fire a shot. If the dog breaks, we correct him.

"Hunting," Henard says, "is controlled chaos. Typically, when dogs do things wrong, it's because they haven't been trained to do them right."

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