Build drive: the most important aspect of a bird dog or retriever is having a strong drive. To develop this keep sessions with retrieving short and fun. Always leave your pup wanting more. You can separate obedience and retriever training which will in turn teach your dog to be steady but also keep retrieving very positive.
Introduce to birds: it’s important to introduce your hunting retriever to birds at an early stage in training. To do this start off with a wing tied to a dummy. Tease your retriever and let them get excited about it. Once they are use to the wing move to a frozen bird. Then eventually to a fresh bird. Slow introduction will help prevent bad mouthing habits with your hunting retriever.
Introduce them slowly to gun fire: some hunting retrievers and bird dogs may not be the least bit startle by gun fire but it’s always best to introduce your retriever slowly from a distance. Start of at a big distance and slowly bring your retriever closet to the gun.
Water introduction: never throw your dog in. The sink or swim method works on a few percentage of dogs the other retrievers learn water is a scary place. Instead of tossing your retriever in the water you can train them to like it by wading in yourself. Sometimes waiting until warmer months to train your retriever in the water will help. Here in Georgia you can still get away with training your retriever in the water in early fall and early spring. After your retriever builds confidence they won’t hesitate to jump in even in the coldest of waters. For more information on hunting retriever training in Georgia visit our website at K9 Perceptions Retriever Academy