Gun Dog Training Resolutions for 2010

Baby Pritch

On Christmas morning Pritchard chased my in-laws' cat through the middle of our family gift-opening session, nearly knocking over Grandmother and sending the cat scampering across the piano keyboard (playing notes with each step) and onto the tree. For a minute I felt like Clark W. Griswold. But we all survived. Hope you did, too.

With Christmas over and the new year fast approaching I've been working on my dog training resolutions. Pritch turns one year old tomorrow--gone are the puppy days (photo above), and here are the dog days. This year I'm hoping to truly refine her skills (and mine) on our way to becoming a finished dog. Here are some goals I've set for myself:

Don't Repeat Commands: Recently I filmed Pritch in the duck swamp. While she performed great, the video footage revealed some errors on my part. I could hear myself repeating the same command over and over. This year I'll try to say more with less--and mean it!

Train With a Plan: In addition to training more often I intend to set a goal before each session. This will help force me to plan what I need to work on and make me sure to follow through.

Obedience Rules: Speaking of a plan, for the next two weeks Pritch will be getting very few if any retrieves. Instead, I'll be focusing on obedience. Nothing special here--just brushing up on all the commands until they are truly second nature again. Time to get the wax out of her ears, so to speak.

Conditioned Retrieve: I know I've mentioned tackling this task before, but I've held off for a couple of reasons. First, I decided to let Pritchard reach her first year before embarking on it. Secondly, I wanted to spend plenty of time around trainers who could truly show me the proper force fetch methods. We're ready now. I'll keep you posted.

I'm curious if I'm the only dog guy who is making some training resolutions. If not, let's hear your gun dog hopes and dreams for 2010.