Summer months –Training
by Joe Law
months are a good time for maintenance training your retriever. Hard
running retrievers can easily suffer from heat exhaustion so keep
training sessions shorter and include water work in your program. Both
Retrieving Ability Tests and Novice level Retrieving Trials focus on
only sighted retrieves where the dog’s performance is basically of its
own making and the demand for control is limited to heeling and
steadiness. These summer months are a good time to teach and extend
control work especially as too many sighted retrieves can result in the
dog becoming excessively independent in attitude.
this time to drill your dog on basic obedience commands: Sit – Come
–Stop –Go and extend your dog’s training to include taking casts to
Left- Right and Back. Next, build your dog’s confidence in running to
strategically placed dummies or dummy piles where the dog has not seen
anything cast. A handler can only be said to have control of the
retrieve if the dog remains steady, only retrieving when sent in a
direction determined by the handler: Furthermore, to have control, a
handler must be able to stop the dog with a whistle or voice command
and give added directions that are both understood and obeyed.
is important to keep training drills simple and short and concentrate
on each command until it is thoroughly learned and reliably carried
out. Slowly build the type of control that will be necessary for your
dog to be able to work in the field and retrieve more than one article
in a required order including articles that your dog has not seen cast
and has no knowledge of where it has fallen.
Dogs that have not
been taught and thoroughly drilled to run in the direction they are
sent will tend to skirt and avoid difficult terrain, cover and water.
Start by teaching commands on flat ground with short cover and at short
distances. Only when the dog is performing consistently and reliably
should any attempt be made to extend the drills to more difficult
terrain, cover and water.
In summer months
when the water is
warmer is the best time to introduce inexperienced dogs to the
discipline of controlled work in water. All dogs can have difficulty
maintaining their correct body temperature in oppressive weather
conditions. Make use of water in the hot summer months and train
smarter rather than harder.
Photo by Lara Sedgmen
This is an edited
version of an article that first appeared in the January 2013 issue of Dogs
page is provided by Working Gundog Club Inc.
(Affiliated with Dogs NSW)