Welcome to Retrieving for All Occasions!
Retrieving for All Occasions is our book where we write about retrieving training for gun dogs and clicker training. On our webpage you can read more about the book, gun dog training with clicker and follow our blog where we write about the training with our dogs. If you want a quick introduction to gun dog retrieving, read the page called Gun Dog Retrieving – there you will find explanations, videos and pictures of all parts of the retriever and spaniel work.
Retrieving exercises are fun to do with your dog. Our focus is mostly on retrieving for gun dogs, but other breeds often enjoy many of the different retrieving exercises too. Who wouldn’t want a dog who could find the lost car keys in the woods after a walk, retrieve them and place them in their owner’s hand? Regardless of whether you want to use the retrieve for fun and to do something with your dog or if you’re aiming to enter a field trial, we hope that you’ll find useful information here.
Since gun dogs for a long time have been bred to carry and retrieve objects, they have a predisposition to do just that – which we make use of in the training by using and encouraging their innate behaviors. With dogs that don’t find retrieving second nature, we work a great deal on finding rewards that make it possible for them too to find it worthwhile to retrieve the objects we’ve thrown for them.
Play To Inspire the Retrieve
When reading what we’ve written, you’ll find that we believe that dog training should be fun – for dog and trainer alike. That’s why we’ve chosen to use play as the foundation of our training of the retrieve. When teaching the dog to retrieve we always begin by playing with the dog, because through the act of playing we get so much for free: The dog grabs the toy and gets to win the toy when the grab is distinct (taking). The dog holds on to the toy while we try to distract her by throwing treats (holding). The dog delivers the toy to us and immediately gets it back as a reward (delivery to hand), and so on. We teach the dog that it always pays off to retrieve things so that the she, as soon as she finds something in her mouth, ”thinks” that she has to bring it straight to us.
Foundation Skills For the Retrieve
We believe that the most important foundation skills for a retrieving dog are delivery to hand, steadiness and walking at heel. If those foundation skills are in place, and if the dog has a true interest in objects that makes her really want to find the dummies, we have a head start in our training. (For spaniels steadiness includes the dog stopping after the flush; in other words when the dog has flushed the game, she should remain in place.) If we want to make it even further in our training, we naturally need more: a stop whistle, casting (so that we can direct the dog where we want her to go on blind retrieves), calmness and steadiness during gunfire (so that the dog doesn’t get frightened by gun shots), marking ability (so that the dog learns to pay attention to where the dummies fall in order to be able to retrieve them later), a hunting pattern and hunting desire, as well as love for water.
Retrieving With the Puppy
We begin working on the retrieve with the puppy as soon as she’s arrived with us. Naturally, the training sessions are short and simple in the beginning – always adapted to the puppy’s level of maturity and experience. By starting out early with training the retrieve, we lay a solid foundation for the future – the puppy learns that training with us is fun and she learns valuable lessons about the retrieve such as deliveries, the recall and walking at heel gun dog-style. Make sure that you train the retrieve in short and fun sessions and you’ll soon have a dog that loves to retrieve!