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Summer Drills for Retrievers

These training exercises will help you get your dog ready for hunting season
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Diagram 2: Wagon wheel drill

Wagon wheel drillThe Wagon Wheel drill is an ideal way to begin working young retrievers on lining. This exercise also provides the dog practice at realigning at heel as the handler turns in different directions to face the bumpers. The four bumpers should be set approximately 10 yards from the center of the wheel at positions A, B, C, and D. Short grass is preferred so that the dog can easily see the bumpers.

Stationed on the X, the handler should align the dog at his or her side, place a hand just above the dog's head, and when the dog is looking at the bumper, send him with the "back" command. Make sure the dog is sitting straight and facing the bumper before sending him on the retrieve.

Go one round clockwise and then reverse the order and work the dog in a counterclockwise rotation. If the dog goes to the wrong bumper, a correction is needed. Stop the dog, bring him back to you, and start over. If the dog keeps making this same mistake, move closer to the bumper before sending the dog.

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