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Does Your Pup Have What It Takes?

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July 24, 2009

Does Your Pup Have What It Takes?

By David DiBenedetto

If you read the majority of the books on dog training (like I’ve done) and then start the process with a pup, I can guarantee you that at some point you’ll wonder (like I’ve done) if your dog was meant for a life on the sofa. But here’s the hard truth: Most likely the problem lies with you (and me). Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we set out intentionally to sabotage our pups. In fact, the opposite is true. We amateur trainers hang on every retrieve, live on every cast, hold our breath until every Give. And in the process we sometimes lose the sight of big picture.

Pups progress at different speeds, and chances are yours won’t match the pace of the wunderkinder pictured in the dog books. Those dogs are trained by professionals—with years of experience, plenty of time to spend with a pup, and countless places to train. And, still, those pros know that even in the perfect world pups will sometimes regress. And when they do, the pros know it’s time to revisit the basics, to reinforce the gun dog building blocks. The simple obedience commands are where it all starts. Sit, Stay, Come, Heel. Did you rush through a few of these when your pup seemed to be an A+ student? (I did.) Did you ever imagine a day that your pup might not Come to you? (That day will come. Hopefully the checkcord is in reach.)

Your dog is smarter than you think. And if you teach her correctly, she’ll do what you ask, happily. Have confidence in yourself and your dog. Don’t ever forget the basics. And always keep it fun.

And for the record, I’m gonna bet your dog has what it takes. I know Pritchard does.

Comments (10)

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from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Funny you should write about this today. Last night we were retrieving in the water. First cast Jaz brought the bird back about half way and stopped 10 feet in the lake and just looked at me. After calling for her one more time I went in after her like a F-22 fighter. Clothes, boots and all! Took her lead and pulled her too me. The look on her face was priceless.

Have too just keep reminding myself that this process takes time!

Keep up the good work and it will all work out in the end!

Quack

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pinopolis wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Great advice for anyone who has ever gotten frustrated with their pup's progress (so, umm, everyone).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Your words of advice are great and apply for raising kids too.
Same thing ... but different!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Thank you for the story it makes you remember that your gun dog is more then just a stay at home pup and has such a potential my puppy seems to be progressing quite well and got her stitches out from being fixed a couple days ago. So it's back to some hard training and playing sadly I'll be gone for a week again as I've been this week from her and won't get to spend much time with her. Either way hopefully my step dad can get some good habits in her then I'll be back in action playing and working with her after that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gspnewby wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Guys, this has been killing me lately. Brewer, my 9 WEEK OLD GSP is my first gun dog. He is incredibly smart, and I have been scared to death that I am going to ruin him because I always forget how young he still is. He comes 90 percent of the time, last week he would come back with the dummy, this week he just comes running back. He loves cat terds right now and seems to be into everything but what I want him to be into. I will say that he points beautifully at his bird wing and he stalks it, never taught him that. He also swims like a fish, had him in nearby lake on 2 different occasions he jumped right in, and retrieved the dummy to me. Had to brag a little, but my point being I get so frustrated because I have been waiting for several years to get him and I guess in my mind he should be doing blind retrieves and be steady to wing by now(9weeks old) HAHA. He doesnt seem interested in SIT lessons, he just lays down. any who sorry for the long post, just wanted to tell yall about my dog since I am currently wondering if he will ever be a gun dog.

-One paranoid parent

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Hey Dave,
Just a question is there any way you could do a segment or just a quick tip about ways of keeping your pup hydrated in these hot days. We were working on retrieving today and I realized that my pup was seeming more tired and thirsty then usual. it doesn't help that is was in the lower 80's still in the afternoon. Any help would be very grateful.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Great writing Dave.Us as amateur trainers are at a large disadvantage compared to professoinals.A young dog should be trained in an area with very little distraction at first.Its hard to do if you dont have access to that.Pros kennel all dogs before and after training.The high point of the dogs day is the training. They absorb all info taught in this environment.Its impossible to train your dog if you are taking he or she away from more fun(playing with kids,cat,toys,etc.)to a field full of rabbits,birds(turkeys),deer,motocross,etc. When I was doing my foundation work I would kennel my dog before training(to wind him down)and after to give time to absorb what was taught.I teach at the most two things at a time(two separate lessons about 15 min. for foundation work) most of the time one until he gets it and then add the other because if you are teaching two at once your dog will lern each at half pace compared to teaching one thing.My springer is becoming solid in the field(obaying all wistle,voice, hand commands retrieving all off quartering(and turning on the whistle,voice,hand,etc.) and just learned bending.He just turned one year.Im very excited about the coming season.Glad to see your intro to the gun went well the excited dog gets you going.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

muskiemaster--Look for a post on high heat and dogs fairly soon. I've been talking to a few pros to get truly expert advice. Here in Charleston, SC it's an issue I contend with all summer. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Thanks for the helpful and encouraging advice... lets people know that raising a pup to be a gun dog is not as simple as it might seem some time and like anything else, just have fun with it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadian wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

capture your moment in history with the enduring leagacy of art. chad lavin studio. www.lavinstudio.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from gspnewby wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Guys, this has been killing me lately. Brewer, my 9 WEEK OLD GSP is my first gun dog. He is incredibly smart, and I have been scared to death that I am going to ruin him because I always forget how young he still is. He comes 90 percent of the time, last week he would come back with the dummy, this week he just comes running back. He loves cat terds right now and seems to be into everything but what I want him to be into. I will say that he points beautifully at his bird wing and he stalks it, never taught him that. He also swims like a fish, had him in nearby lake on 2 different occasions he jumped right in, and retrieved the dummy to me. Had to brag a little, but my point being I get so frustrated because I have been waiting for several years to get him and I guess in my mind he should be doing blind retrieves and be steady to wing by now(9weeks old) HAHA. He doesnt seem interested in SIT lessons, he just lays down. any who sorry for the long post, just wanted to tell yall about my dog since I am currently wondering if he will ever be a gun dog.

-One paranoid parent

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from kelmitch wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Great writing Dave.Us as amateur trainers are at a large disadvantage compared to professoinals.A young dog should be trained in an area with very little distraction at first.Its hard to do if you dont have access to that.Pros kennel all dogs before and after training.The high point of the dogs day is the training. They absorb all info taught in this environment.Its impossible to train your dog if you are taking he or she away from more fun(playing with kids,cat,toys,etc.)to a field full of rabbits,birds(turkeys),deer,motocross,etc. When I was doing my foundation work I would kennel my dog before training(to wind him down)and after to give time to absorb what was taught.I teach at the most two things at a time(two separate lessons about 15 min. for foundation work) most of the time one until he gets it and then add the other because if you are teaching two at once your dog will lern each at half pace compared to teaching one thing.My springer is becoming solid in the field(obaying all wistle,voice, hand commands retrieving all off quartering(and turning on the whistle,voice,hand,etc.) and just learned bending.He just turned one year.Im very excited about the coming season.Glad to see your intro to the gun went well the excited dog gets you going.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Funny you should write about this today. Last night we were retrieving in the water. First cast Jaz brought the bird back about half way and stopped 10 feet in the lake and just looked at me. After calling for her one more time I went in after her like a F-22 fighter. Clothes, boots and all! Took her lead and pulled her too me. The look on her face was priceless.

Have too just keep reminding myself that this process takes time!

Keep up the good work and it will all work out in the end!

Quack

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from pinopolis wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Great advice for anyone who has ever gotten frustrated with their pup's progress (so, umm, everyone).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Your words of advice are great and apply for raising kids too.
Same thing ... but different!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Thank you for the story it makes you remember that your gun dog is more then just a stay at home pup and has such a potential my puppy seems to be progressing quite well and got her stitches out from being fixed a couple days ago. So it's back to some hard training and playing sadly I'll be gone for a week again as I've been this week from her and won't get to spend much time with her. Either way hopefully my step dad can get some good habits in her then I'll be back in action playing and working with her after that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from muskiemaster wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Hey Dave,
Just a question is there any way you could do a segment or just a quick tip about ways of keeping your pup hydrated in these hot days. We were working on retrieving today and I realized that my pup was seeming more tired and thirsty then usual. it doesn't help that is was in the lower 80's still in the afternoon. Any help would be very grateful.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

muskiemaster--Look for a post on high heat and dogs fairly soon. I've been talking to a few pros to get truly expert advice. Here in Charleston, SC it's an issue I contend with all summer. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 38 weeks ago

Thanks for the helpful and encouraging advice... lets people know that raising a pup to be a gun dog is not as simple as it might seem some time and like anything else, just have fun with it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadian wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

capture your moment in history with the enduring leagacy of art. chad lavin studio. www.lavinstudio.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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