A dog without training is a conflictive, difficult animal that destroys both family harmony and hunting. The absence of clear canine educational criteria, the permissiveness, the lack of time and the failure to find positive schemes of canine pedagogy, lead the hunter to surrender to the prospect of incoherent and unattractive training. But where are the keys to the successful Retriever Training of the hunting dog? These are the ten indispensable ones.
The training should be attractive for both the dog and the trainer. It requires a high effort for both, so the owner or trainer must know how to seduce the animal with attractive activities and healthy and positive guidelines that push the dog to action in the right direction.
Motivate is to awaken the desire to learn and act. You have to start the building by the foundations. Which are the attitude of the two (educator and educator) and their motivation for work.
The positive reinforcement, the daily reach of small achievements, the dosage of the requirement in training, the natural environment … is some essential motivating agents.
Without an adequate habituation to the human social environment where the dog will have to develop, it is not possible to apply any education. The lack of socialization produces maladjusted individuals with temperamental disorders that lead to unwanted behaviors such as impulsiveness, aggressiveness, phobias, Emotional instability, excitability, continuous attention call, etc. The biggest cause of these problematic behaviors is found in confinement in kennels.
The more integrated the puppy (from its first stages of development) into human society and the more coexistence, experiences and complicity acquired with the master, the more prepared he will be for training. Socialization is also a vehicle for the development of animal intelligence; otherwise, ostracism implies mental atrophy.
We can never build a good building without quality materials. Just as a footballer will never go beyond a regional third, no matter how much he trains without a basic genetics that gives him a gifted physique and mind.
The training must be based on the development of innate abilities present from birth. Of course, there is no perfect dog that gathers all the existing qualities in its genetic code, but an instinctive instinctual load (that moves the dog towards hunting, showing, charging, tracking, searching, etc.) is indispensable.
The trainer must detect which are the innate virtues and deficiencies of each specimen in order to channel the former and enhance the latter.
In the first steps of education we must make a psychological tracking of the individual. That is, define an individual temperamental profile, in order to adapt both the type of management and the level of pressure and focus of the work program to each particular way of being. No two dogs are the same in terms of character, and even among brothers we can find great differences in terms of their general and specific sensitivity, their level of dominance and submission, their concentration, aggressiveness and other temperamental treatments.
The ultimate character of the adult dog will be the result of the sum of its innate temperament and the experiences it receives, and the behavior in turn will be the sum of the character and learning. The latter feeds on the spontaneous activity that the owner must favor and control and the specific training applied.
The three stages
The impatience to get quick results leads to the precipitation of events, so we tend to burn stages, which invariably leads us to take a step forward and two steps backwards. Learning is a dynamic motivation process that must be programmed with coherence, so that it is sustained in three fundamental stages: initiation, development and reinforcement.
These phases of the training are well differentiated, being basically in the initiation where the guided learning is present.
The development is characterized by work in trial and error, the systematic distribution of rewards and punishments and greater independence in the decision-making of the can.
Finally, the reinforcement is based on active interference, so that extra difficulties are added to each task and the degree of pressure is increased by demanding the highest level of execution.
The training of track or intensive field should be only a support of the activity close to the natural conditions in the field and in contact with wild game. «The red partridge is the best teacher of the sample dog. As well as the best classroom of training is the open field ». I have quoted this phrase to give it the air of a sentence (hence the effort of the rhyme), since this section is usually the most forgotten, being the most important.
The partridge, almost by itself, fans the dog’s passion. teaches him to take the air correctly, to beat with meticulousness, to dose the march and maintain a sustainable rhythm, to raise his nose to the wind and once in direct line with it, after touching the emanation, he will tell you the critical distance of shows and how to guide cautiously and block it. Nor does the master teach it. You learn by constantly dealing with potential prey and the owner can only do so to provide the animal with the maximum experience and apply the control that facilitates the training so that the action is effective and useful to the shotgun.
The intensive days of training followed by long periods of idleness do not do much good. The training must be based on a regulated, daily and dosed work, so that at the same time it is sustainable and assailable.
The constant work in turn develops, through the progressive rhythm, the positive attitude and confidence of the animal. That sees how the demands are rewarded with the successes of what has been learned. The work with inflections and impulsive generates excessive pressure on the animal in a timely manner to spend after long days of passivity carrying anxiety and boredom. This entails stress and confusion in the animal, in addition to not progressing due to not being able to implement with routine what has already been learned.
Patience is not usually one of the virtues of the owner. Patience is not received as an innate gift, nor does it arrive spontaneously. Patience is given by experience. Only those who have been related to a large number of individuals will naturally assume that things take time, that one must tolerate the cognitive abilities of a dog because of its animal condition, that impatience is destructive and only leads to the establishment of objectives. And that frustration is the reason for the abuse of the animal and the excessive punishment.
We must know how to establish goals and objectives. The first ones are very general and long term, the second ones are measurable and concrete. That will help us to maintain patience. So it is key to maintain a strict sense of justice to be balanced in the distribution of rewards and punishments. Firm when it comes to demanding a response already known by the dog, but flexible when we have to take into account factors such as the state of maturation, working conditions, the health of the animal, the influence of the breed …
The trainer of today cannot be limited to intuition or to the pursuit of a rigorous and mechanical method learned from a master craftsman.
The training can and should be supported by theoretical and technical knowledge on which each training action is based.
Ethologic, psychology, neurology, pedagogy … are sciences that offer the trainer a whole world of answers to the unknowns that every day the behavior of our dogs poses.
It is essential to have a complete and adequate Dog Training Equipment (straps, whistles, collars, dummies, electronic collar, launch cage …), with facilities that ensure the welfare of the animal, if you do not live at home, with an adequate transport, with ideal wild hunting grounds to train and with a place for track work. In the training we cannot walk patching so that we do not find continuous gaps and obstacles in the way.