Help! I have a new, unspoiled puppy and I want to do right from the start! But what is right? How can I give my puppy the best start in life so that we can have a long and fun life together? Welcome to a course with a little extra something! This course is for you who have a Spaniel or a Retriever (Setters/Pointers/HPR:s are also welcome) and wants to train retrieving and/or hunt with it.
This course starts with an exercise where you study your puppy and try to figure out who he is. Which everyday life situations helps you and which counteract your possibilities to get a dog that is a great training and hunting companion? How do you become the sun in your dog’s life? We of course work with biddability and cooperation but also foundations like self-control, relaxation, stopping, retrieving, hunting and directions. You will also get some tips about the first exercises by water.
Does it sound overwhelming? Just take a deep breath! We do everything in a playful and pleasurable way to build some important foundations that you and your puppy will benefit from later on. And we of course adapt all training to YOUR puppy.
If you teach your dog some solid foundations already when he is a small puppy it will help you both when he is older and can be trained“properly. Some of the keys are training short sessions and finding a balance in everything you do with your puppy. Giving the puppy some primary conditions now so that you can train all that fun stuff you want to do with him when he is a little older is a really good idea. Just remember to take one step at the time and adapt all the exercises to YOUR puppy.
This course has ten lessons. The first four you´ll get once a week, and after that you´ll get one lesson every second week. All in all, you have access to the course for 6 months. So, don´t hurry, take the time you need. If you like you can video your training and get feedback from the instructor. To each lesson there is a forum where you post your questions, thoughts and films – and you can also see the other participants posts.
The course instructor is Lena Gunnarsson. Lena has written the book Retrieving for All Occasions together with Elsa Blomster. We recommend you to have the book when joining the puppy class, and we will give you extra reading tips in almost every lesson. All training in the book and in this class is based on positive reinforcement – training should be fun and joyful for both handler and dog.
Lena has been training dogs for 18 years and been an instructor for 12. She has three Cocker Spaniels, she mostly train them for hunting and field trials but she also trains some nose work and agility. She has also been competing obedience with one of her gun dogs. Lena started her career as a journalist and has also been working for 20 years with organizational development, coaching people and groups. Now she mainly works as a dog instructor and as an editor at Elsa and her dog publishing company.
More about the 10 lessons in “Hello, who´s this then?”
Lesson 1 Hello, who´s this then?
You start this course by studying your puppy. What characteristics does your puppy have that you wish to develop with focus on what you want do with your dog when its older? What characteristics do you need to work a little more with to avoid problems further on? From this analysis you start the training and take your observations with you in all the coming lessons.
Lesson 2 I am the sun
What is important to do or not in your everyday life with your puppy? Are there things that you let the puppy do that could work against what you want to do later on with your dog? What does it mean to be a good leader to your dog?
Lesson 3 Without rewards no training
There are lots of ways to reward your dog. But why is it clever to have many different rewards? And how can you develop them?
Lesson 4 Yes, you can bring me that
There are many playful exercisesto do for a puppy when it comes to retrieving. In this lesson we take a look at delivery to hand, holding with a firm grip and letting go on cue. We also introduce the puppy to game.
Lesson 5 The noble art of just hanging around
Not least with a dog that loves to work it is easy to train to much – both you and the puppy seem to have so much fun. But watch out! In a short while you might have a stressed dog that makes noise and have too high expectations. Teaching the dog on and off is at least as important as teaching him to retrieve, stop, be directed and so on.
Lesson 6 The fun art of self-control
Self-control is of the utmost importance for hunting and trials. This lesson contains playful foundations for self-control.
Lesson 7 Stop!
Even the foundations for stopping at a distance (and for a spaniel also flushing) can be taught with playful exercises. Stop-training is so much fun!
Lesson 8 Run to where I´m pointing
Can you really train directions with a puppy? Yes! Short, fun training sessions where the puppy learns that it pays off to run where you point is what this lesson is about.
Lesson 9 That incredible nose
In this lesson you get some tips, both for spaniels and retrievers, how to train the dog to hunt. A dog that is bred to hunt can of course hunt by him-self – the trick is to teach him to do it on cue, together with you. 😉
Lesson 10 Water work
What happens when your puppy sees water for the first time? After a first hesitation he might be almost crazy? Many puppies need to learn to take it easy around water. Others need some courage to dare start swimming. In this lesson there are exercises for both.