It often surprises us when we see well trained bird dogs in action. Obeying the commands of their owners, bird dogs do their work in an exemplary manner. We often wonder how bird dog training can produce such results, getting the dogs to be so cooperative without the use of shock collars.
If you put a lot of work in it, it can be done.
There are a number of dog breeds that are well suited for becoming great bird dogs. A good start would be teaching them to obey your commands. Before dogs can understand what people are telling them, they need to learn the language first. In this basic variant of training, dogs need to understand the three main commands: “come!”, “whoa!” and “heel!”. These commands need to be mastered by the owner as well.
The “Whoa!” Command
The “whoa!” command is the first thing bird dogs need to learn. By learning this, they can understand when they’re being told to stop, without moving again unless he’s being ordered to do it. Obeying this command shows that the dog respects his master and that he is obedient. If you want to test whether a dog is completely obedient, you should try giving the “whoa!” order at larger distances. This way you’re sure that he will listen to you even when the command is not enforced by the immediate presence of the master.
You can also use the “whoa!” command to control dogs that get out of hand, trying to flush a bird on their own or play with it. If their master wants the dog to stop what he’s doing, he can use this command to make him stop. Ideally, the command and the obedience should be rewarded by the master.
The “Come!” Command
The purpose of the “come!” command is to make the dog come to the owner when they hear it. It’s quite easy to use this command. In the case of a bird dog, it’s much easier to make him come to you with the thing he retrieved, if he understands this command. A lot of dogs are more independent and go do their own thing. Using the “come!” command you can keep him at a good distance from you.
The “Heel!” Command
When you want to make sure that your dog will walk by your side, and not wander away, the “heel!” command can be used to get this effect. You can teach him an additional command, like “go” or “okay” to let him know that he is released, and can return to hunting with you.
Whenever the dog performed well, never fail to give him a tap, a treat or a praise to acknowledge his performance. Fine dogs are born with the instinct to please their owners. If you can let your dog see that he is pleasing you with his performance and you want him to repeat it, the best thing you can do is to reward him. Overtime, he will learn to repeat the same desirable action so long as you allow him to.
Each time the dog does what you ask of him, make sure you reward him either with a treat, a tap or a praise, to let him know that he did well. The best dogs are those that have an instinct when it comes to pleasing their masters. You should let the dog know that you are pleased with what he’s doing, and that he should do the same in the future. The best way you can let him know is by rewarding him.
Doing bird dog training is quite hard. If it was easy, you would see a lot more bird dogs around. Still, if you want to make a good bird hunter out of your dog, make sure you invest the patience and the time needed to teach him the three commands that stand at the basis of bird dog training. The use of a electronic dog collar can help if used properly and with care. I prefer the DT Systems brand of collars.
by Sam Nichols