How to encourage natural retrieving in training your dog

June 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Training Dogs

I have been hunting with a dog for the last ten years. While I am sure I don’t have the most experience in training dogs, I know that I have used several techniques that have really helped me to achieve quality results fast. Most of these results are techniques that have been passed down through the family, and have allowed me the chance to have intelligent dogs that can retrieve virtually anything.

The way that I trained the dogs is actually relatively simple. I start them out as puppies. While they are younger, I let them sleep with a frisbee. The frisbee begins to become part of their everyday life and they begin to desire to have it around them at all times. As they get a little bit older, I teach them to chase after the frisbee, which is a natural reaction in most dogs. If it isn’t a natural reaction, then I would recommend training a different dog, because they just aren’t going to have the same fire for retrieving as a dog with a natural reaction to fetching would.

Now once your dog gets used to fetching the frisbee on it’s own, it’s time to upgrade a bit. Take the frisbee and add some animal scent to it. You can find this scent at pro shops everywhere. I hunt squirrel, so I use the squirrel scent. At first the dog sniffs at the frisbee for a while, then you toss it out. The dog will go grab it sniff it a bit, and when you give them a treat for bringing it back, they realize that they did a good thing. Now, they are going to seek out this frisbee in order to gain more rewards. As they get better at finding the frisbee, add some feathers to it. This will simulate the duck somewhat. Now, once they bring that back on a regular basis, you can move up to heavier field training.

Take the dog to a field with high grass, throw out the frisbee with the scent on it, and let the dog retrieve it. It will take a little time, but eventually your dog will be able to smell the scent and will find it’s way to the frisbee. After a lot of practice your dog will be able to find the frisbee no matter where you throw it. After a while I switch over to stuffed squirrels as this will give the closest simulation possible. Now, after all that, you just need to make sure that your dog understands the common hunting commands and you should be good to go.

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