So sue me.
We are a year behind in the training schedule (ironically, because I’ve hunted with too many other people’s dogs in too many other states). But Buddy’s nemesis, the retrieve, is starting to shape up. Dare I jinx it by sharing my progress?
Suffice it to say the one universal, all-things-for-all-purposes motivator for Buddy is food. And I’d neglected to use it in training to retrieve. But recent posts have discussed our retrieving training without addressing why I do it the way I do, so here goes …
Sure, the force-breaking thing is all the rage, but not for me – what would it do to the roll-on-the-floor stretching routine, for example? So it’s all carrot and no stick on the backyard training table at my house. (Save your ire for another blog – force fetching is NOT an option.)
So far, so good. And here’s how we do it:
– Every good move (or non-move, when on “whoa,” for example) is rewarded. Note that I give treats and praise for Buddy’s NOT doing something wrong as often as for doing something right!
– Even baby steps in the right direction merit a treat
– Once a part of the retrieve is mastered, fewer treats are offset by more praise
Eventually, my pockets won’t smell like chicken or salmon and Buddy will continue to bring back birds. Until then, I don’t mind the occasional whiff of seafood when I reach for my truck keys.