You’re a keen hunter and have been for many years. But you’ve recently decided to strengthen your team by adding a canine component. A Brittany dog is the ideal candidate. These hunting dogs have all the attributes you need. They’re agile, attentive, fast and intelligent. However, despite being a quick learner, yours seems to be having some difficulties mastering the ‘retrieve’. The chasing he can do, but he’s not always so keen on returning things.
Training him to retrieve is an essential if you want a hunting companion that can enhance your performance. It also helps instill discipline into him and paves the way for other commands. It’s also a useful behavior to teach for other reasons. Brittany dogs need a decent amount of exercise. So, if he can retrieve, you can throw balls for him on walks to tire him out.
Because Brittany dogs are fast learners and an intelligent breed, you can definitely teach him to retrieve. The challenging part comes in initially conveying to him what you want him to do. Once you’ve jumped that hurdle you just need to find the right incentive. Brittany dogs, as you probably well know, have a soft spot for anything edible, and for a lot that isn’t.
If he’s a puppy he should be full of energy and eager to please. This means he could respond to training in just a few days. If he’s older and stubborn then you may need a while longer. It could take up to a couple of weeks. Get this training right though, and you’ll be one step closer to taking him out hunting with you. You’ll also find you’ve got a fantastic way to bond with him by playing fetch.
Before work can begin you’ll need a few things. Some multi-colored frisbees will be required. Alternatively, you can use a tennis ball. Both are favorite toys of the Brittany dog.
You’ll then need a generous supply of treats or his favorite food broken into small pieces. Try and find a quiet space where you can practice. A large yard will do the job, as will a local field. You can practice training when you’re on your daily walk.
Once you have the above you just need patience and a pro-active attitude, then training can begin!
When she retrieves, she runs around with the prize and then lays down and licks or nibbles on the decoy, trying to get me to chase her to get it,
Hello Jack, Check out the Come and Drop It sections of this article. I would utilize those methods, using a long training leash with a padded back clip harness, starting with short range throws at first. Fetch article: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-to-fetch/ Once pup is doing well with that, you can use a drag leash made out of rounded check cord without a handle for further throws, so you can simply pick up the end of the leash and reel pup in during longer throws if pup avoids you again. The rounded check out without a handle should be that way so it's less likely to catch on things and the padded back clip harness helps keep pup's neck safe in case the cord snagged on something. You can even buy yellow poly cord that will float for water retrievals if you are struggling with water retrievals. Often practicing in water with only one easy access lets you intercept pup early in the training though, by standing on the shore where pup exits the water. Just keep these water throws a shorter distance and in an area free of debris with a cord that floats for safety reasons if you need to use a cord. If you are still struggling with pup avoiding you once you get to longer retrievals in water, with multiple water exit points, you will want to pursue remote collar training on pup's working level stimulation. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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