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Introduction to decoys and curing decoy-phobia

I would like your input on introduction to decoys. I have already done it wrong, and my nine month gsp is eye balling the decoys and acting skittish around them only in the water.She has lots of desire and retrieves doubles even through the decoys but continues to be nervous. she has no sign of this in the yard or on land help.

HMMMMM, fear of decoys(Dekes) is quite common around some retrievers, more so than you think, although an easy thing to avoid, if attention to it is paid early enough.

What I do to introduce a new pup to Dekes is such: First I let 'em see the Dekes, smell 'em, but don't let them mouth the things. Next, spread a couple few out in the yard - YES, on the grass. Now, have a game of fetch, while you are standing inside the spread, paying no attention to the Dekes around, and try to keep the dog focussed on the retrieve, and disuade the dog from wandering over to the Dekes. Do your retrieves from inside the spread, gradually working out from inside to the edge, then finally have the dog retrieve from the outside, go through the Dekes and return. Start this with the spread at a wide setting, then begin to decrease the spread, as the dog progresses. Next, move to the water, same thing, spread the Dekes out wide, do some drills, then as the dog becomes familiar with the sets, move 'em in closer, until you have a dog doing retrieves through your normal spread. (Be very careful of your Deke anchors/chains, don't let the dog get caught up)

This is basically what I do, but then again, us versatile guys have many different ideas on training! Mine is just one way of skinnin' the CAT.

Hope this helps ya'll out!

Good Luck Duckin' this season!

Steve Anker

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