Early Puppy Retrieves
When making two to three early retrieves per day, crouch down or sit on the floor in a confined area to encourage the pup to come back to you. Upon his return with the bumper, get the pup close to your body. Don't immediately take the dummy away. Let him keep it and share it with you as you lavish praise.
Stroke the pup under the chin and chest to encourage the hold. Don't worry about how the pup presents for delivery. Stylish delivery will come later. Gently take the dummy and occasionally immediately give it back if he will accept it. Continue the praise. Share the prize. Build the trust while encouraging natural hold. Use the same methods for early retrieving outdoors.
Field Tips for Young Pups
As you progress to the field, consider the following:
1. Keep your training area free of distractions.
2. Never let another dog have the opportunity to steal the bumper from the pup when retrieving.
3. If the pup won't exit the water with a bumper, accept the delivery at the water's edge or wade out a few feet to get it.
4. Find a bumper the pup enjoys carrying. If the pup is reluctant to pick up a particular variety, move to something more interesting - a tennis ball, feather-covered bumper or small Dokken bird dummy.
5. If you have a persistent problem with a pup running away or playing with the bumper on the retrieve, cease retrieving sessions until obedience and recall are instilled.
In the early days of puppyhood, try to develop natural delivery as much as possible and be on guard not to condition something in the pup you must later train out.
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