We are often awed at watching fine bird dogs in movies and in action. They make outstanding bird dog work and never fail to heed their owners’ commands. Then we think- How could this be possible? Could bird dog training bring out the best in my dog?
The simple answer is yes, but you have to invest hard.
There are several dog breeds that could be trained into excellent bird dogs. Training them in obeying commands could be a good starting ground. Training professionals acknowledge the fact that dogs need to understand the language they are using in order to make the dog respond to the command. In this type of training, there are just three main commands that should be mastered by both the owner and the dog. Those commands are the whoa! come! And heel!
The Whoa! Command
The most basic command is the whoa! command. This instruction suggests to the dog that he should stop and try not to move further unless he is told to do so. If the dog follows this command completely, it would show clearly how obedient and respectful he is to his master. Complete obedience is shown by obeying the command no matter how far the distance is between the giver of the command and the dog.
This command is also useful for dogs that are going too far ahead, when the dog is flushing the bird on his own and the owner wants him to stop, and when the dog wants to play around with the bird. It would also be easier for the owner to come to the dog and reward him for a job well done.
The Come! Command
This command simply suggests that the dog should approach you as commanded. The uses of this command are rather simple. Say for example, retrieving would be a lot easier if the dog would come to you the instant you tell him to do so. Also, there are dogs that are a bit stubborn and would decide to go off in different directions. Giving this command will help maintain a good distance between you and your dog in case he decides to do things his way.
The Heel! Command
If you want your dog to walk by your side, the heel! command is the most effective tool. It is normally matched with another one-word command such as “okay” or “go” to signal his release. This will let him know that he has performed favorably and he is again allowed to hunt for you.
Whenever the dog performed well, never fail to give him a tap, a treat or a praise to acknowledge his performance. Fine dogs are born with the instinct to please their owners. If you can let your dog see that he is pleasing you with his performance and you want him to repeat it, the best thing you can do is to reward him. Overtime, he will learn to repeat the same desirable action so long as you allow him to.
Bird dog training is not easy. This is the reason why there are too few dog birds around. However, if you really want to turn your dog into a really good bird hunter, you should be ready to invest some time and patience in perfecting the three basic commands used in this training.