Gun Dog Training
It is likely that your Spaniel will love gun dog training as, let's face it, Spaniels were bred to work.
Ok, so you are interested in training your Spaniel to the gun. You can either train your Springer for working or just to give them a challenge as part of everyday play. The training tips below are not to get your dog up and running as a working dog, but merely to include some gun dog elements to their training.
If you want to know more about gun dog training, there are several gun dog related training books available on the market that can help you with this.
A point to remember is that obedience training is the foundation for gun dog training, and that your dog hasn't got into bad habits through play. One truly bad habit for a puppy to get is that of 'tug of war', this will make your Spaniel hard-mouthed and could damage any game it is retrieving.<
Training your Spaniel to the whistle is a very useful element of gun dog training. This can reassure you that, if your Spaniel goes off to explore the woods or undergrowth out of your sight, you can be safe in the knowledge that they will listen to your whistle commands.
Decide what your calls will be. I use the following:
Recall - pip pip pip pip pip piiiiiiip
Sit - Piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip
When you go out ensure your dog can see you put the whistle round your neck, and that you have a pocket full of treats. I tend to use cheese, for some reason Spaniels love cheese. That way they know they are off to be trained.
Sitting to the whistle.
Whenever you say Sit!, follow it with the whistle command, and when he gets it right, reward him with a treat. Keep this up on a regular basis, then reduce the number of times you say Sit! Instead, just use the whistle and, once your Spaniel has managed to get the command right, make a huge fuss of them. As always with training you have to do this little and often.
Recall to the whistle.
As before, recall your Spaniel as you would for obedience training but add the whistle on the end, so they link the two commands. Again make a fuss when they get it right and keep it up on a regular basis, reducing the number of times you recall with your voice.
When they don't come back on a recall don't tell them off, you need to make sure that they know that coming back to you means fuss and treats. Keep up the training little and often, and they will eventually love to recall on the whistle because they feel very proud of themselves when they get it right. Gun dog training appeals to all of their desires to please.
Training your Springer Spaniel to hand signals is useful as it allows you to communicate with your dog in a noisy environment. For example hand signals are easier for a dog to respond to when a shoot is on.
In addition, using hand signals means you can add some directional instructions when your Spaniel is quartering a field.
First, decide which hand signals you are going to use. I use the following
Sit! Hand flat, up and open, by your shoulder, as if you were taking an oath.
Lie down! Arm out straight, with the palm up, as if you were signalling a car to stop.
Work to the left: Sweeping your left hand round to the left
Work to the right: Sweeping your right hand round to the right
For Sit! and Lie Down!, as with the whistle training, combine the handsignals with the verbal command, then reduce the amount of times you say the command until just the hand signal produces the desired results.
Gun Dog Training Aids
If you are looking for gun dog training aids, then this is the place
Dog Training Supplies A great source of gun dog training aids, we really like this site!
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