dog commands, dog. whoa, teaching a gun dog, gun dog

Whoa means stop now, whether to avoid bumping a bird, or to stop a dog about to run across a cattle grate. Begin teaching this command by just praising and petting Pup when she stands still. Then pick your puppy up, put her back on the ground, and say “whoa” while holding her still, first for a few seconds, then longer, working up to 30 seconds. Do this three or four times, twice a day. Next, try it without holding the dog. When she will sit still for 30 seconds on her own, you’re ready for the check cord. Walk the dog on the cord and command “whoa” with a pull upward to stop her. Release the pressure. If the dog moves, pick her up, put her back where she disobeyed, and whoa her again. Add distractions. Throw things. Praise the dog when she stands still; correct her when she doesn’t.

Be sure to check out our full guide on how to train a pup to be your new hunting buddy.

Photograph by Ralph Smith