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Barrel Training

How do you train a pointer puppy on a barrel?

Hey Guys,

Barrel Training 101,

First, steal yourself a suitable barrel. The barrel in my torture chamber out back is plastic, one of those big blue industrial barrels used for non-lethal substances. I have used the steel ones, but they are always filled with oil or other nasty stuff, and they have a rib, or ring around them, for strength, that kinda gets in the way. The plastic ones are smooth and offer more flat area for the dogs feet. Mine was filled with baking Vanilla, pretty nice smelling, and non toxic for sure. Certainally, I would not use one that was filled with sulfuric acid, or anything that might ruin a good day in training!

Build a rack for the barrel to lay it on its side. When done the height of the barrel should be the same as your whoa table, roughly.

OK, first intro the dog to JUST standing on the barrel. At first the dogs feet will slide around a bit, but HEY, that's exactly the plan. Stand the dog up, try to get him/her steady so they don't fall or slide off, Now I introduce the WHOA!

Whoa, in this case means, IF I DON'T MOVE I WON'T FALL OFF!! Great drill for a young dog, works like a charm. Then gradually progress to a state where the dog willfully jumps up on the barrel, stands, and stays focussed on you. What I do when the dog gets distracted, or loses interest, I gently rock the legs of the barrel support with my foot to cause a wiggle. SHAZZAM!! focus is again on me, not the Chippy birdz in the yard behind me, or the neighbors cat. Now I can get back to WHOA, make 'em stand, walk away, circle the barrel, ect. If movement is detected, then wiggle the barrel, AAAH AAAH AAAH.(dog lingo for Hey stop that) This is a great time to set the head and tail, you know us POINTER GUYZ, twelve O'Clock, twelve O'clock straighten the tail!! Later on, I may throw a bird in front of the dog while on the barrel, just to proof 'em for steadiness. But only after the dog has been properly conditioned to the barrel, and only if the dog remains attentive and animated during these drills.

So if this type of training has got you over a barrel, Hey, You're doin' something right!

Have fun out there,
Steve Anker
Anker Outfitters

For more information on Whoa Training, try:
Woah training early?
Unsteady in the field
Woah training
Woah Training II
Breaking after the fall
Whoa - how steady?
Steady to wing

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