Welcome to 7 days of ideas for things to train when the weather is bad. Join us and have fun training!
Today’s topic is deliveries. I have two different kinds of deliveries. If we’re going for full disclosure, I actually have three since we have one for competition obedience too. But looking at the gun dog side, we have two deliveries. The first version is my dog running to me, aiming for my hand and pushing the game into the hand. The second version is the dog running to me and sitting down in front of me. Both versions include the dog holding on until cued to let go. In real life, I’m not that particular. If the dog for example was to come in with a wounded pheasant, I’ll just grab it as best I can. But I want my dog to think ”I’ll hold on until you cue let go” because I really don’t want him to begin to let go prematurely.
Today we’ll be focusing on the first kind of delivery – the dog placing the dummy or game into my held out hand. We like to talk about the hand as a target, a goal, and we use the hand target as a cue to the dog to press his nose hard against the hand.
Beginning to be sloppy about the deliveries is FAR too easy! How many times do you receive things sloppily from your dog in every day life, things that he kind of just happens to bring you? Not to mention in hunting situations: The farther into the season we get, the sloppier Tassla’s deliveries are. Come January, they really aren’t much to write home about… She kind of threw the game at me – from a distance – and I threw myself after it…
You can work on the hand target both while when the dog is holding onto an object and when he’s not. My focus was on all three dogs ONLY letting go on the cue ”thank you” or ”yes” when they had something in their mouths. Totte has really good deliveries. He has a firm and distinct pressure right onto my hand that I shaped early on in his life. Tassla’s deliveries are by far the weakest, combined with her having a somewhat ”busy” mouth. We’ve had to revisit training this repeatedly. Quling’s deliveries are coming along well. He has more of a chin rest target – he places his chin in my hand which grants me the opportunity to really get a good grip on whatever it is that he’s delivering. His deliveries are still very calm as well, and I really like that. Here’s a video of today’s training:
If you were paying close attention, you’ might have noticed that I’m a bit late sometimes, saying ”yes” as he’s about to let go. I also do reversed luring with my other hand every once in a while, helping the dogs to be able to hold on for longer. Reversed luring is my favourite helping aid and we’ve written a great deal about how we use it for a plethora of things on the blog (search for reversed luring). For example this:
If you feel inspired, PLEASE upload a video or photo of your training either in the comment section on the blog or on our Facebook page!
And if you feel like working more on your deliveries, you can take our online course on delivery to hand or one of all the other retrieving classes that we’ve made available online. You can find them here: https://www.retrievingforalloccasions.com/our-classes/