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The Top Ten Practices That Interfere with Training

Avoid these major culprits
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Story at a Glance

10 Practices to Avoid

  1. Raising Pup Outside

  2. Giving Pup an Unlimited Diet of Uncontrolled Retrieves

  3. Repeating Commands  

  4. Shouting at Pup  

  5. Pleading When He's Out of Reach  

  6. Letting Pup "Run Off Some Energy" 

  7. Giving Pup Too Many Marked Retrieves 

  8. Testing Instead Of Training 

  9. Experimenting with Introductions 

  10. Changing the Rules in the Hunting Field

Letting Pup "Run Off Some Energy"

This is a terrible practice. It will very likely get Pup killed one day, and it trains him to be under control only when he's tired. The very time you most need him under control is when he's brimming with energy and anticipation.

If you regularly let Pup run off energy upon coming out of the house, pen, or car, you are simply training him to be out of control for the first ten minutes around you. Some day you will drive up to a hunting place and park next to a highway. You will let Pup out of the car. He, having been so trained, will be beyond your control for the first couple of minutes as he runs out into the highway in front of an oncoming automobile.

Training Pup to control himself when he's tired is not going to do you much good when he's well rested, fresh, and in the duck blind raring to go. He will lack the self-control necessary to make him a pleasant hunting companion.

Giving Pup Too Many Marked Retrieves

Pup gets a marked retrieve every time he sees the bird or dummy fall and thus knows its location. A blind retrieve is when Pup did not see the object fall and must be guided to it by his handler.

The practice of waiting months before starting Pup's hand-signal training is usually justified on the basis of needing to wait till he's older and more mature to start blind retrieves. It is an illogical practice. Old age never made it easier to learn.

This practice falls under the same principle as giving him tons of retrieves and then changing the rules to make him steady. It is making an easy job hard.

The more marked retrieves Pup gets, the more you are training him to find the bird without help from you. The more you do it, the more difficult it is going to be to convince Pup later that you really know where the bird is.

Make both of your lives easy. Start the blind retrieve and hand-signal training on the front end. As soon as he is steady and doing marked retrieves start him on blind retrieves.

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