Bird Dog Training – Whoa! Or Something Resembling It
You've heard the phrase “less is more.” Does it have relevance to dog training?
Bend, OR – -(AmmoLand.com)- Buddy and I are deep into preparation for an upcoming NAVHDA Utility test (www.navhda.org) and our latest challenge is steady to wing-shot-fall.
If you know the test, you know it's a ball-buster. Both the field and water portions require a dog to be rock-steady in the midst of distraction shots, walking birds, flying birds, dead birds, shot birds, bobbing decoys, and swinging guns.
Not to mention a small gallery of judges, gunners and handlers adding to the circus atmosphere.
I hit on something today (probably did earlier, but it didn't sink in) that I hope helps. Actually, part one hit me yesterday when in a less-than-stellar moment with my wife's help, Buddy lunged every time the bird flew and the gun popped.
Revelation: he was simply reacting to her tensing the checkcord in preparation for the flush, telegraphing that tension to him literally and figuratively. He felt the stress both physical and emotional, and simply couldn't focus on what he knew to be right.
[I remember an obedience trainer who'd worked with wolves once telling me canines will almost always pull back when you do, for example, on a lead. You've probably have had yours push back when you steady him on point by pushing on his rump.]
None of this would have sunk in had I not taken him out to remedy last night's situation with a brush-up at lunch today. No wife, no checkcord, less tension in the air and voila! a steady dog throughout the sequence.
I may be a slow learner, but I pick things up, eventually. With luck, so will Buddy. Hope this helps you, too.
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Linden Media Mgt. LLC was founded in the personal experience of Scott Linden, a city slicker made good by fresh air and wild places. A mid-career epiphany/introduction to fly fishing pushed Scott off the edge, a tumble that now includes dog ownership, multiple shotgun purchases and fanatic bird hunting. For more details visit www.scottlindenoutdoors.com.