How and what to train your retriever during a polar vortex - Part 1

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For those that live in the Midwest, you are aware of the very cold weather we have been having this winter. Spending a large amount of time outside with your retriever can be really be hard on them, especially if they are young. So, how does one train their retriever when it is not safe for man or beast outside?

This will be a three-part article covering different aspects of training that can be done inside with your retriever during the winter months when you are unable to do much outside.

This week’s article will focus on obedience.

Obedience is something that you can never work on enough and it can easily be taught inside.

Work on the basic commands:

• HERE – come to you

• SIT – sit down

• DOWN – lay down

• HEAL – walk at your side.

At Otter Tail Kennels, we do not use the STAY command. We feel it is redundant to say a command such as SIT and immediately follow it up with a STAY command. When we say SIT, the dog is supposed to stay sitting until another command is given.

Besides just working on getting the dog to sit, when you say SIT. You can work on increasing the length of time you want them to sit. You can also add distractions to tempt them to move. Distractions such as throwing a bumper or a toy or just crouching or lying down on the ground can often be enough to pull them out of a sit.

Anytime your dog gets up from a sit, prior to you giving another command or a release command, put the dog back in the exact spot they got up from and repeat the command SIT. Dogs are very in tune to locations, therefore putting them back in the exact spot will speed up the learning process.

At Otter Tail Kennels, we use the command OKAY to let the dog know they can get up and move freely about. It doesn’t take long for them to bounce around and be extra happy when hearing that command.

Next week we will discuss teaching your dog PLACE, something especially important for duck and goose hunters.

Until next time, happy retrieving.

Steve Smith