Good gundog training habits for creating change

Good gundog training habits for creating change

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Good gundog training doesn’t have to take up all of your time. Many gundog owners worry that gundog training will be a full-time task but if you create lifetime habits with your gundog then the time you have to carve out for training sessions reduces greatly because the lessons you teach your gundog just become part of life.

Win-win – When you do this its win-win for both you and your gundog, they really need consistency which good habits deliver and you save a tonne of time and have far fewer everyday troubles with your gundog.

So what are some good habits?

For a start, good habits:
– Are easy to stick to, so don’t overcomplicate things.
– Help build your goals
– Are simple 

What kind of habits might you want to build into your life with your gundog? and why?

Gundog sat waiting patiently

Here are my TOP THREE examples of good gundog training habits:

1) Movement = Be still – Many gundogs want to make chase when they see movement, lots of owners contact me because their gundogs are running off after birds flying past, deer on the horizon or fluffy bunny tails disappearing across a meadow but if you create a habit for your gundog that when they see movement they should do the opposite and be still then you can avoid that problem. 

What this looks like will depend on your breed for instance I have Weimaraners and they would sit to movement, my friend has Gordon Setters so she would ask for a drop/down from her dog because this is how they would respond when working.
To do this:

  • When out and about and a bird sores overhead ask your dog to sit/drop etc
  • When a jogger whizzes by ask your dog to sit/drop etc
  • When a noisy motorbike whizzes past ask your dog to sit/drop etc
  • Hopefully you get the idea by now but bear in mind you need to have taught your dog to sit, drop, down etc FIRST and they must fully UNDERSTAND this before you can bring this habit into everyday life * 
2) Be consistent – If you ask your dog for something be consistent in getting a response, that doesn’t mean force your gundog but if you teach your gundog something (positively and reward based) and it doesn’t happen when you ask for it, such as sit/drop/down when a jogger passes on by then you have to find out why. If you just keep allowing your dog to ignore what you ask then you might as well not ask for things at all because, when you don’t reinforce cues that your dog knows, then you are teaching your dog that sit could mean sit but also might mean disappear over the horizon chasing something.

When you are inconsistent it is not your dogs fault when it doesn’t follow cues. You do however owe it to your dog as a sentient being to find out why a cue that they know isn’t being followed, for instance: My Weimaraner started breaking sit stays and dropping into down stays. Initially I looked at this as a training problem but soon realised she did not have the core strength to hold the sits so we worked on helping her build up her strength up before carrying on with our training.

Create a habit of stopping – Many gundogs are often known as ‘doers’, they are workers, they need a job for their mental stability and ‘not doing’ can be really hard for those types of dogs. I especially see this with spaniels and many owners really struggle to find an ‘off’ switch but they do have one I promise!

When out on walks or even during training sessions, take regular breaks, pop your dog on a lead, stand and practice mindfulness for 5 minutes.
To do this:

  • Pop your dog on a lead, stand still and simply concentrate on yourself for a moment.
  • Then run through a check in for each of your senses by tuning in to the things around you.
  • Make a mental note, don’t analyse just note internally: What can you hear? see? smell? feel? taste?
  • Don’t rush through these things, take your time.
  • When you’ve finished note any change in your dog, the more you repeat it the more your dog will learn what your ‘still’ energy feels like and the more they can join you in that energetic moment of peace.
Hopefully these short tips help and this post gives you some food for thought for how you train your gundog, for help please feel free to get in touch or use the button below to book your session.

Be careful of any puppy or dog with joint issues or other physical issues as you would need to follow veterinary recommendations for multiple drops, sits, downs or any other repetitive exercise for that matter is suitable.

Content Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Nina Fotara T/as Confident Canine disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.

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