Training Articles

This is the place to find and read articles on training your pointing lab. The articles are authored by by Pro Trainer Gary Buys.

We are going to publish several articles here on how to train the pointing labrador. These articles will cover all types of topics from building a strong foundation on your dog to the more in depth ideas on how to communicate with your dog at their level. Check back often as we will be updating articles as we write them.

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Rita pointing

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Articles

How to train the way your dog thinks and learns - Teach in black and white. Transcribed from PRG training tips video.

Gary Buys here with Poudre River Gundogs. Hey we have a tip for you today on teaching in terms of black and white. This is a real important concept to understand because that is the way your dog thinks. They cant deal with gray area. It is great if you are an artist. What your going to do is you are going to create a masterpiece in your dog that is two colors. Black and white there is nothing in between. So it is up to you to communicate to your dog it's either the right way or the wrong way. There is nothing in between. Your dog is either sitting correctly or they are not. If they are not then you need to teach them the correct way. If they understand the concept then you need to keep your standards high enough so that your expectations is that they do it right every single time. Black and white no gray area. They just cant deal with it.

One of the typical signs of having gray area, and communicating that way, is going to be confusion for you dog and that is just going to frustrate them. Set them up for success. The other thing it is going to do is frustrate you in your efforts because the dog is not going to understand the concepts clearly and what your expectations are unless you do this. Unless you teach in black and white. Right way, wrong way. No gray area. Can you see the importance of this?
We have plenty of addition training tips on the web site wwwpoudrerivergundogs.com. Go there and check them out. Best of luck with your dog.

 

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PRG's Rule of 3's

I would like to share a concept with you today that working with literally hundreds of dogs has taught me. It is a very effective tool in teaching concepts as well as correcting for refusals to respond to a command. I call the concept The Rule Of 3's. I will explain the idea behind this concept and how it works.

You are going to show your dog how to accomplish a specific task, so we are teaching them something new, We are going to show them three times in a row. Let's say for example we are teaching sit. We have our pup walking at heel on a lead and a choke chain. We are going to give the command sit, lift up on the lead while we push their butt down and tell them sit. After the third time we do this we are going to let them make a decision. So we are going to see they understand what we are teaching them. If they don't, we are going to show them three times again. We are going to repeat this cycle where we teach them a command or response by showing them three times how we want them to respond and let them make a decision. So show them three times, and let them make a choice. When the dog has shown us that they understand the concept they are going to respond the way we have taught them to respond every single time. What I mean by that is when you give them a command and they respond the way you have taught them to you are ready to move on to the next concept. They have told you that they understand what it is that you have asked them to do. So that is one place where you use the Rule of 3's which is teaching a concept.

Another place where the Rule of 3's is effective is when you use it for correction. So lets say our dog completely understands what sit means. They have responded in the past correctly to what we have taught them by giving the response we expected. Which means they sit immediately. Then if we get a refusal, and it happens especially with young dogs for whatever reason, maybe they are not paying attention, maybe they are just giving lack of effort and they refuse to respond. This is the place then where it is reasonable to correct and what you will do is correct three times in a row. So we use the previous example which was sitting. We have taught the command sit using the choke chain and the lead. We gave the command sit, popped the choke chain with the lead and told them to sit and they sat down immediately. They have shown us that they understand the concept. So if we get a refusal what we are going to do is then we are going to correct three times in a row. So we are going to heel them off. Tell them, sit, pop the choke chain, move forward tell them sit pop the choke chain, move forward tell them sit and pop the choke chain again. Repeat three sit commands and corrections in a row. The next time we tell them to sit we are going to let them make a choice.

This is a very effective tool. It is one that is going to really help you progress and solidify your training with your dog. You can apply this to virtually any concept you are teaching or any concepts you need to correct for refusals. Dogs make a connection using this method very quickly. I believe it has to do with the way they learn and process information. This concept was taught to me by the best trainers out there today. The dogs themselves. So take this excellent effective tool and put it in your training tool box. Pull it out and learn how to apply it and it is going to make life easier for you, your dog and your training efforts. Remember think like a dog!

Written by Gary Buys
Copyright © 2012.

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How Long Should a Training Session Last Transcribed from PRG training tips video.

0:14 Gary Buys here with Poudre River Gundogs. Hey we have a quick tip for you today. A real common question that we get is how long should I train my dog. Well it depends on where they are at in the training process how advanced, they are beginners, they're just learning. But, there are some guidelines that you need to keep in mind. The main thing is you're looking for progress. A little bit of progress and then end on a good note. Don't make your training sessions drag out to where it becomes a grind for them. Their like working on a rock pile and their not enjoying it any more. That is one thing you need to look for. You've got to leave something in it for your dog. The other thing you will see is responses start going down hill. They're losing interest and you will see them sort of detach. It is something it takes time. You will get to the point where you will understand your dog and read them, what they are telling you all the time and you will pick up on those things. But those are the two main things to keep in mind. They sort of start going down hill a little bit and just little incremental changes or improvements or learning a concept. Just a little bit of progress. That's what your looking for. End on a good note tomorrow is another training day. That is how you keep dogs motivated and have a great work ethic for them. So they cant wait to get out next time to train with you. There is the quick tip for today.

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Pup Introduction to retrieving birds. Text transcribed from Training The Pointing Retriever.

Time 0:55 Up to this point we have exposed our dogs to retrieving. We started out with gloves just having fun. Tossing gloves out there have them come back bring them back to us pet on them make a big deal about it. Then we showed them what bumpers were. We took them out tossed a few bumpers they brought them same general idea. Just fun stuff go out and get it and come back. They have been exposed to a bird in a crate already. They know what they are and what they smell like. We've got them fired up there. Now we are going to take things up a couple of notches even more in the retrieving department and the way we are going to that is the best thing in the world for retrieving and that's birds. While you can teach virtually any marking concepts with training dummies there is nothing that gets them as fired up about retrieving as birds does.

Time 1:52 We are going to start off by just teasing them a little bit with it and then toss it out in front just a short distance . We don't care about distance right now. all we are trying to do is get them fired up about this retrieving. A very common thing for these little guys to do at this age , and these pups are four months, three to four months old old , is that they want to play sort of a keep away thing or they don't want to come back to you. Not a big deal really. All you got to do is when they go out to get it start moving away if the hesitate or they hang out and look like they are not going to come back just start walking the other way and then sort of coax them in call their name , clap your hands get their attention. When they come back make sure you praise them give them lot's of praise. From your dogs perspective they are getting a pretty good deal here. One, they are going out and getting feathers. Two they are coming back and getting petted on. That is a pretty darn good deal for a dog. Especially a puppy.

Time 3:08 An important thing to keep in mind is when your pup runs out there and picks up that bird and comes back don't reach down there and snatch that bird out of their mouth right away. You want them to hang onto it. it's OK. As long as they are not chewing it and pulling feathers out. If you start snatching it out of their mouth what's going to happen is there going come back and start avoiding you and you don't want to do that. You want them to want to come back to you because they are going to get praised. Their going to get the bird , their going to retrieve and their going to get praised. That's a heck of a deal.

Time 3:35 Something else to keep in mind is they are just learning how to pick birds up. So they have to adjust things around to make it work. I would recommend you freeze some pigeons or small ducks something they can handle. Something they are not going to bite into hard. If it is solid your not going to have some problems created with what we call hard mouth. Were they bite down hard on it. Their just going to be solid. That is a lot better than a fresh kill bird and it looks like an houerderve to them. As a general rule put it in a plastic bag, and be sure to let everybody to know that it is in there. So there are no surprises when somebody goes to get ice cream and sees this duck head looking at them instead. Not everyone is going to look at that really nice green head that is going to the taxidermy the way that a hunter will.

Time 4:49 When you toss for these little guys is what you want to do is to extend the distance over time. A little farther an a little farther. Maybe into a little bit of cover. Just a little bit of a challenge each time. We are going to toss this bird maybe three to five times. Just till they get the basic idea and they are running out and they're coming back. End on a good note when they are doing it right and always give them a lot of praise. Especially at this age.

Time 5:18 Praise for effort. Every time they do something right make a big deal about it. This teaches your pup that good things happen when they are with you. Their going to have fun, their going to be successful. Developing a great attitude about training is really going to pay off down the road. When they start becoming challenged they will have enough successes in place of doing things right and being praised that their going to come up to anything they see and their going to say I can do this. Because they know they have been successful in the past. You have built their confidence and you helped develop an attitude so they are going to be ready for challenges that will be coming up later.