I want to be the sun in my dog’s life
I often say that I want to be the sun in my dog’s life. All good things should come from me, and through me the dog gets access to what she wants or what she wants to do. It should always pay off to listen to me.
We must, of course, train our dogs to work independently while hunting, but honestly, that is seldom the biggest challenge in the dog training. Instead the challenge is almost always to get the dog to cooperate with us, even though she has to do a lot of different tasks independently.
Today’s exercise is about these two things:
- Listen to me always, because I know something that you don’t. (Cooperation)
- Use your nose and start hunting as soon as I show interest in a particular area or a particular direction. (hunting)
If you have been reading this blog from the beginning you already know that both Elsa and I like to train our dogs when we are out walking. (If you want to read more about this type of training you can search for “training on your walks” and find other blogs on this topic). We very often use parts of our walks for training.
When my dogs run in front of me during the walk, I take the opportunity to throw different things to the right and left. I walk on a path and try to memorize landmarks. Don’t underestimate the value of being good at remembering where a retrieve landed; it can be useful during the hunt. You should always keep an eye on the game, so that you know where it fell down and are able to direct your dog to that spot, if your dog should miss it.
So, walk maybe twenty steps and then throw one object and then walk another twenty steps and throw another and so on. The dog shouldn’t see this when you do it. After a while, you put a leash on your dog, turn around and walk back the same way that you came. Since you have memorized the landmarks you know where the objects are, and therefore you can stop a couple of yards from the object and look in that direction. In the beginning, I hold on to the dog’s leash when I turn in the direction of the object (which is not visible). I also say something that will be a signal for the dog to get curious, for example: “Is there anything there?” If the dog starts to run I just drop the leash.
If you, the first few times, stand against the wind you will help your dog because the scent from the object will then come towards you. Later, you can do this exercise no matter how the wind blows and you can change the exercise so that it gets more and more difficult. If you have a dog that usually switches one object for another, be careful so that the dog only gets the scent of one object at the time.
If the dog, in the beginning, doesn’t show the slightest interest in hunting or even walking in the direction of the object, you just pretend that you are looking for something and get really happy when you find it. After a while, the dog will probably understand that you know something that she doesn’t and she will get curious.