When I want inspiration for my training, I try to take part in courses that are led by different instructors, watch field trials and hunts. If I don’t get new input once in a while, I get stuck and start to train the same things over and over again, and neither me nor my dogs learn a lot.
I remember one time many years ago, when I was on a course with my dog Diesel. In the beginning you should send your dog on a marked retrieve, then stop the dog halfway, and there the dog should wait while another dog was sent on another marked retrieve (and that dog ran just past the dog that stopped). Then the first dog was sent on its marked retrieve (the one the dog was stopped on the way to retrieve). Very hard, I thought, how are we going to solve this?
We had only been doing gun dog training for a short time, and therefore we hadn’t done so difficult exercises.
My plan was to go to her and reward her, if she stopped and then go back to the starting point again. She stopped, I walked over to her and rewarded her, the other dog was sent on his marked retrieve, and then I did a push back and Diesel ran to her dummy. It was a very good training for us, and next time I could do it without going out and reward her when she stopped. Yes!
On another occasion, I should send Diesel on a blind retrieve. It wasn’t very difficult; the distance was okay for her, but before I sent her, they were going to throw two marked retrieves that landed on each side of the blind retrieve that she was supposed to retrieve.
It made it all much more difficult! 😉 When I broke the whole exercise down to several steps, we were able to solve it. The first time we did it, we stood only a few meters away from the hidden dummy, then she could ignore the distraction, that is the two marked retrieves that were thrown. During the next few weeks we trained the difficulties and then we put it all together to one gradually more difficult exercise. 🙂