7 Retriever Training Secrets
by James Card, Associate Editor, Ducks Unlimited Magazine
Follow these tips from five expert trainers to help your dog reach its full potential in the field.
"I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better," wrote the late George Bird Evans in Troubles with Bird Dogs. "They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying."
And worry we do.
But worrying will not in itself bring wisdom. Sometimes you need a little help from a professional to offer guidance on how to handle man's best friend. With that in mind, we asked a group of expert trainers to share some of their wisdom about how to make a retriever the best dog it can be. Here are some of the techniques they use to achieve peak performance from their retrievers.
What Not To Do
A question frequently asked is how long will it take to finish my retriever as a proper gundog. The answer.…it depends. Realistically, I don’t think you can expect to have a seasoned retriever, one would consider finished, until they are 3 years old providing each of the following steps is properly completed. Any snags or postponements can extend this estimate. Steps in developing an excellent retriever include: