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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Puttin' on the Polish

Polish arises from an attention to detail
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A British term to describe whining or barking while on the hunt. Never allow it, from pup age on. The pup must learn to sit quietly in groups of dogs and people under all types of distractions, including birds and gunfire, without squeaking. While giving mouth under excitement is often a transferred trait from parents to offspring, it is also a correctable habit when addressed early.

Vehicle Manners

Dogs must remain under absolute control during the loading and unloading of the vehicle. The unpolished retriever bounds out of the vehicle or kennel at the first opportunity and proceeds to run amuck. Fights erupt, guns are knocked over and shouts emerge from otherwise drowsy, passive hunters, all unnecessarily. Out-of-control dogs can fall victim to injury from passing motorists as well. Polished retrievers are mannerly at the vehicle, awaiting instruction to enter or exit. Once out, they sit quietly outside awaiting further instruction. They load by name in proper order upon return. There is nothing more unpleasant than a muddy, wet retriever just back from the hunt jumping on the interior of your 4x4 as the door opens.

Steady to Flush

Polished retrievers remain at heel, undeterred by flushed game, birds or otherwise. Dogs should be conditioned during basic training to remain steady at heel to flushed game. Begin this after the pup is heeling well and relatively steady to thrown bumpers. As you heel the pup, toss out the bumper and give the "sit" command. As you progress, get the pup to the point that he sits when he sees any thrown bumper. Add cold game, and then flush pigeons while the pup walks at heel. The progression to gunfire and flushed game is logical. You may never plan to use your dog on upland game but you will find that this level of steadiness is most beneficial in the field.

Giving Chase

Polished retrievers don't chase livestock or game. Attempts to pursue an out-of-control hunting dog are more than embarrassing. Retrievers must avoid the tendency to give chase to bolting deer, rabbit or other creatures of fur or feathers. Indoctrinate pups to all forms of bolting game or livestock. Train in areas frequented by livestock. Dogs will learn to pay little regard to these animals, and the scents they leave behind, once properly introduced. Ultimately, you can expect retrieves directed through a small cowherd.

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Related:  retrievers

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