When we wrote the book “Retrieving for All Occasions” it was very important for us to spread the knowledge that it is possible to do gun dog training with positive reinforcement methods. (Positive dog training means that you train your dog without physical and/or verbal corrections that the dog can perceive as unpleasant.)
We want to continue to spread this knowledge; we feel that it is almost a mission for us – to spread the word! That’s why we now plan to start a series of different interviews with great instructors and dog trainers, and they will answer some questions and give us a couple of tips about gun dog training. Here comes another interview – this time with the instructor Grethe Eklund. Enjoy!
Name: Grethe Eklund
Lives in: Ljusdal in Sweden
Experiences with dogs:
I bought my first dog 35 years ago, a Bloodhound. I have been doing many different things with my dogs such as exhibitions (I had a bunch of champions), obedience and tracking, I bred a few litters of Norfolk terriers, and I have had two German shepherds and a dachshund. I have trimmed dogs for 30 years, but stopped doing that three years ago. I bought my first Labrador in the mid 90’s.
Älvgårdens Black Barrel – Elite searching and Swedish Obedience Class 3
Seasprite Taste of Gunde – Elite tracking, FCI Obedience Class III, 3x1st prize elite class cold game trial, approved test class game tracking
Viltvårdarns Qrutrök – Swedish Game Tracking Champion, 2×1st prize open class gold game trial
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do: Aase Ramsrud and I work in a partnership that we call, “Team Qrutrøk of Norway”. We share the philosophy of the clicker training and we both have a great interest in gun dog training for retrievers and spaniels. We train together, start on different trials, and participate in various events. We want to provide a very good selection of everything you need for your training in our webshop as well as knowledge about our way to use the clicker philosophy in the gun dog training.
Why are you doing gun dog work?
In the gun dog training my Labrador retrievers are in their element, generations after generations of breeding has produced dogs with an incredible ability to work, and it gives my dogs and me a great pleasure to do this work.
What is the philosophy of your training method?
All dogs have different qualities to manage different tasks; the reason may be the dog’s physique, natural ability, heritage, and environment. If you choose a good training method, the dog has a chance to do her best depending on the qualities that she has.
Why do you train the way you do?
It’s so easy, when you know the method, to get the result that you want. It gives me the tools to guide the dog to perform at her best with happiness and self-confidence.
Are there any disadvantages?
I don’t think there are any disadvantages.
What role models or sources of inspiration do you have?
The sources of inspiration are my dogs, but I also get inspired by the fact that I can show people that the theory works in practice. Then I just say, Ken Ramierz, he is good.
How do you regulate the level of stress in your dog training?
I think that this question is difficult to answer, but I never let my dogs work if their level of stress is too high. I give my dogs different tasks when we are in stressful situations, for instance I ask the dog to lie down with her nose in the ground, when other dogs are working.
What do you think is the most important thing to think about when you train a dog from puppy to a gun dog champion, or alternatively, a great companion on the hunt?
Not to be in a hurry, to train the basics, and let the dog have time to mature before she starts on a field trail.
If you are only allowed to choose one thing that you think is most important to train in order to get a dog to perform great on field trials or in the gun dog training, what is that? (What is on the top of your list?)
Long and straight marked retrieves.
Thank you very much for this interview, Grethe! Good luck with all training and trials in the future.
We hope that many of you have been inspired by this interview with Grethe. We will continue to interview interesting instructors and dog trainers. Tell us if you would like to know more about a certain dog trainer.