Every Dog Is An Individual
Welcome to this week’s LWDG POD DOG round up. This week we chatted about the fact that every gun dog is unique and how you can learn to work with a dog in front of you. This post covers the main tips from the podcast, and the Youtube video can be found below with subtitles.
In this podcast, LWDG Founder Joanne Perrott is joined by Experienced Trainers and LWDG Group Experts – Claire Denyer, Sam Thorneycroft-Taylor, Emma Stephens, Jemma Martin and LWDG Featured Experts Abbie Reid, Nicci Kenny and Rose Setten, as they discuss how we can give our working dogs individual training that suits them.
All Dogs Are Unique
One of the things that we always talk about at LWDG is that all dogs are unique. No two dogs are the same, so we need to find a way to train each one that suits them as individuals.
This means taking the time to get to know your dog, their personality and what makes them tick.
It’s important to see them as individuals, even littermates or even the same breed. They will have different motivations and behaviours that you will need to consider.
Scale your reward choices
Dogs behave differently depending on their environment and their familiarity with it.
A dog that will work well and enjoy kibble as a treat may need a more high-value reward in a woodland it’s never been to before.
It can work well to heighten and lower the value of rewards depending on the training situation. This will help keep the dog motivated and working well.
By getting to know your dog, their personality, and what makes them tick, you can create a training programme that supports their learning.
Helping your Dog To Focus
we, as handlers, need to help our dogs focus. This means looking at the environment and making sure that we are aware of distractions that could pull the dog’s attention away from the task at hand. Being patient is key when training a gun dog. It can take time for them to learn what you are asking of them, and they may not always get it the first time.
Sometimes we need to spend time sitting in a steady position, allowing the dog to calm down before training. It’s important to be consistent with this and not to let the dog get away with things in one situation but not another. This will only serve to confuse the dog.
Think Outside The Box
When it comes to training gun dogs, there is no one definitive way to do things. What works for one dog may not work for another. Therefore, it’s important to be creative and think outside the box when training.
This means trying different methods, techniques and exercises to see what works best for your dog.
Be Prepared To Change Things and step out of your comfort zone.
“Be brave and try something you have never tried. No one has had YOUR dog before,” Rose Setten.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and see how they work with your dog. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to abandon it and try something absolutely different. And if that doesn’t work, we can try something else.
Reflect On Why Things Aren’t Going Right
It’s important to be prepared to reflect on why things may not be going right. This means taking the time to look at what we are doing as handlers and seeing where we may be going wrong.
We also need to be prepared to ask for help from others who may have more experience than we do. It’s ok not to know everything, and there is no shame in admitting that you need help.
Gun dog training can be an enriching experience, but it does take time, patience and a lot of hard work. By taking the time to get to know your dog and individually working with them, you will set them up for success and have a well-trained gun dog by your side.
Be Prepared To Fail
Although it’s not something we want to think about, we need to be prepared for failure. Sometimes things don’t go right, and our dog doesn’t understand what we ask.
In these situations, it’s important to stay calm and not get frustrated. The last thing we want to do is raise our voice or become angry with our dog.
It can be helpful to take a step back and review what we have been doing. Maybe something has changed, and we need to adjust our training programme.
Above all, be prepared to have a sense of humour and don’t take things too seriously. We’re all in this together! Train. It can take time for them to learn what you are asking of them, and they may not always get it the first time.
Make Your Training Fun
One of the best ways to keep your dog interested in their training is to make it fun. This means incorporating playtime into your programme and using praise and treats as rewards.
Dogs love to play, and by making training fun, they will be more motivated to learn. And even if the exercise fails, your dog doesn’t know what the outcome was meant to be, so take a big breath and try something else instead.
Take Into Consideration Your Dogs Age
A young dog cannot perform as an older dog does. It simply hasn’t had the same amount of experience. So, as a handler, we need to consider this when training.
We need to be prepared to spend more time training our young dogs and be willing to adapt our programme as they grow and learn.
Older dogs can sometimes make us think we know exactly what we are doing. And we do… BUT FOR THAT DOG ONLY. Another dog could be trained exactly the same way, and it does not work.
There Are No Hard And Fast Rules.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to gun dog training. What works for one dog may not work for another. Therefore, it’s important to be creative and think outside the box when training. This means trying different methods, techniques and exercises to see what works best for your dog.
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to abandon it and try something absolutely different. And if that doesn’t work, we can try something else. By taking the time to get to know your dog and individually working with them, you will set them up for success and have a well-trained gun dog by your side.
Ask The Community Around You For Help
The Ladies Working Dog Group Community comprises lots of different handlers and trainers who have different training styles. But, instead of trying to convince one another that our style is right, we instead share ideas to offer many different solutions to the same problem. It’s what makes us unique.
If you struggle with a certain exercise or don’t know where to start, ask the community for help. We are more than happy to share our ideas and experiences with you.
By reading this article, we hope that you have been encouraged to take the time to get to know your dog and individually work with them. Gun dog training can be a gratifying experience, but it does take time, patience and a lot of hard work. By taking the time to get to know your dog and individually working with them, you will set them up for success and have a well-trained gun dog by your side.
Comment below and let us know how you are now going to work with the dog in front of you
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