When I got my first Chesapeake Bay Retiever, the professional trainer helping me said “I think we need to train YOU first.” And to be honest, it took the better part of a year for me to understand what he meant. BUT the advice she gave me was solid, and it has transposed onto every dog I have ever had!
-Consistency: We can not focus on this enough. Your gun dog deserves the greatest chance possible to succeed, and the only way to appropriately is to give him/her a steady foundation of consistency. For instance the word SIT means SIT, so if you give that command make sure you enforce it appropriately. This seems like an easy task, but we all have busy lives which means that sometimes corners are cut. Don’t let that corner get cut on your gun dog
– Do Not Rush: We get our new puppy, and immediately we want them to be a Hunting Retriever Champion. But that is simply not realistic, and it is important to ENJOY THE JOURNEY because it is not a race. Set a pace, but always play it by ear. There are going to be parts of training that your retriever with pick up VERY FAST, but just like kids there are going to be struggles also. Instead of rushing, slow down to make sure that your dog understands everything you are showing him/her completely before moving onto the next level. Remember every dog learns at their own speed
-Keep it FUN: It is easy to miss the point of retriever training while pushing to get ready for the next HRC Hunt Test or Hunting Season. But the point of retriever training is to HAVE FUN with your dog, and create that unbreakable bond we are all searching for. So remember to keep it an adventure for both you and your Gun Dog!
If you take the time to start your training with those 3 rules you are sure to get a good start! That does not mean you are training the next Master Hunter just yet. But it will create a bond you will always enjoy. Good Luck and safe training!
PS: Don’t forget you can get all the training gear you need on Marsh Mutt