I recently asked Pam Kadlec of Just Ducky Kennels in Edgefield, SC, about the things gun dog owners unknowingly do that undermines their training work. It didn’t take Kadlec long to come up with an answer. “Lack of follow through,” she said.
I assumed she meant that we all start out devoted to a training regimen and taper off as our dog matures, but it was simpler than that. Here’s what she had to say:
“I see a lot of amateurs give a command and then let the dog not comply, shrugging it off as if it really doesn’t matter. The owner is distracted, perhaps talking to someone, and the dog is off doing his own thing. The owner calls the dog and then goes back to talking, not waiting for the dog to respond so the dog doesn’t obey.”
Then she added, “If you don’t care if the dog listens, this method works well.”
It’s an excellent point. It’s easy to forget that every command we give our dog is a training exercise. If a dog learns he can get away with a half-hearted response to a command in the backyard you can bet the muck rake he’ll do the same in the field.
If you’re guilty of a lack of follow through, say “here.” I’ll start…Here.