Gun Dog Training Basics

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Published on: May. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 9, 2010

overdo the praise. Like any commodity, the more he gets, the less it's worth. Stroking on top of the shoulders is important because it reinforces your dominance.

With your dog sitting by your side, hold the palm of your hand in front of his face and command, "STAY." Drop the leash and step in front of him, but keep your palm in front of his face. If he moves, patiently return him to where he was and make him sit again. When he finally stays put, praise and stroke him.

Repeat the procedure, increasing the distance you step away from him. Make him sit and stay until you come back and praise him. If he breaks and runs to you, withhold praise, take him back to where he should be and make him sit and stay again.

When your pup learns to stay, snap a 20-foot rope to his collar and walk out to the end of the rope. Tug on it, and when he starts toward you, crouch down, clap your hands and command, "COME." Your praise will teach him it's OK to quit "staying" when you call him.

Gradually increase the distance and make sure he comes directly to you when called. Keep a few food treats in your pocket and give him one every third or fourth time he comes straight to you. If he gets sidetracked, take him by the collar and return him to his original position.

Now is the time to start building staunchness, the ability to stand fast in spite of temptations. Command him to stay, and walk away 50 feet. Call his name as if you are about to tell him to come. If he breaks and runs to you, withhold praise, and return him to where he was sitting.

When he finally stays upon hearing his name, walk back to stroke and praise him. Immediately make him sit again. Walk 50 feet away and call his name, followed by "COME" and the crouched hand clapping. Praise and stroke him when he comes.

Don't let walks degenerate into tugging matches. You'll lose, and your dog will learn that straining at the end of a leash is OK.

Hook a six-foot leash to a chain slip collar so the collar constricts when the leash pulls tight. When your pooch walks at your side, quietly repeat "HEEL" in a firm voice. When he gets ahead of you, give him all the slack

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