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Dog requires a lot of direction

I have a GWP from the Flintlock kennels, age 15 months. Did great here in Alaska, pointing up close to 100 Ptarmigan this year. My problem is it requires alot of voice commands to keep him quartering in front and not hunting on his own and secondly Skeet ranges tend to bit too far ahead (would run straight line way ahead if not called back). After speaking with Mike Gould (trainer) I have lost using the e-collar and began working with a long check cord. Any other ideas? Know any good trainers in WA state I could send Skeet to for more training. Thanks

hello greg,

Sounds like you have a really great prospect. Gonna be a hunter you will be proud of. Skeet should work whatever range and area you direct him to work. Right or left , close or near. He should be hunting for you and not for himself.

His problem sounds very typical and , in my opinion, very easy to fix. Instead of using the e-collar you will have to go back to basics with skeet for a short period. How is his obed when he is not in the field? if he is doing fine with obed in other areas he will have to understand it works that way in the field too. If his obed needs polishing in the yard , start there. Then continue it in the field.

The way you do it in the field is with a check cord. If you have plenty of wild birds then you can use them. If not plant some. Put him on a 100 foot cord and tie the other end to your belt. I use a prong training collar for this method. You can go out and hunt for birds or just go out for a romp in the field. He really won't know the difference. If you don't have a good whistle, like a roy gonia or a topper, get one. This will save your voice and reach much farther.

Let him hunt and you just walk. If he tangles up, let him. This helps to slow him down and he also comes to rely on the fact that it is you that saves him. Try to work in as much of an open area as possible right now to avoid too much tangleing. When he reaches the end of the line he will run up on the prong collar and will run back off it just as fast. You just keep walking and ignore him. This will teach him if he runs off he will get into trouble and he has to stay closer to you. You can also start using the whistle at this time. I use 2 sharp, short blasts. This will tell him he is supposed to turn direction. You should blow the whistle and turn the opposite direction. When he hits the collar he will see you going the other way and turn to join you.

Practice a bunch of turns while you are working. He has to know that if he doesn't turn when he hears that whistle he will get in trouble.

After 5-10 times in the field like this you can take him out with no line but now use the e-collar. When you want him to turn, blow the whistle. If he doesn't pay attention. Blow the whistle a second time. If he still hasn't responded , blow a 3rd time and right after pop him with the collar. You will see he quickly figures out that if he doesn't turn something unpleasant is going to happen. It should not take more than a couple of times and you will see him slam on the brakes and do a 180 when he hears the whistle. From that point on use only the whistle unless he ignores you.

When he turns, it is not necessary that he comes to you, but if he does, ignore it and tell him to get hunting again. Most of the time he will just turn to see where you are and go back in that direction.

Different folks have different opinions on training and the tools that should be used. I do not believe the e-collar is a cure all but i do believe it is a very useful tool when used correctly. If you work on obed first and then use the e-collar as an extension to the check cord you will do fine.

I also do not believe in sending a dog to a trainer. If you are going to attend along with the dog i have no problem with that. Don't ever believe that just because a dog will do something for a trainer that he will do it for you too, unless you have been trained yourself on how to see that it is done. There is no magic in dog training. It takes time and work by both of you. I have faith that with some more obed in the field and a little more time you will have a great hunting partner that works for you.

Terry Germany
JC&T Shooting Sports

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