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Four Common Problems and Solutions in Dog Training

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Problem 4: Your dog won't quarter to the gun.

In the uplands, a retriever that stays within range is a must. Unfortunately, that's not always what happens.

"One of the big mistakes people make with Labs is not putting any scent out or not running the dog in thick cover," Henard says. "You turn a Lab out where there's no scent and no cover, and you've got a track meet."

If one of Henard's dogs takes off and flushes birds out of range, he first tries bringing him to heel until the dog settles down. If that fails, he puts the dog up. Henard believes that bad behavior is self-reinforcing.

Later, Henard will retrain the dog in quartering. He'll zigzag through a field, planting birds at visual reference points — a tree, a fence line, etc. That way, the dog learns to run from one visual reference to the next, expecting game. As the dog's training progresses, Henard uses fewer birds until the dog is quartering naturally before him.

That's a list of the biggies. If you have not yet run up against one of them, take a deep breath, for you most certainly will. But with patience and persistence, these problems nearly always can be solved.

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