By Jeremy Hunt
Friday, 08 November 2013
Gundog training: I am training my new dog and want to get her used to the stop whistle. Some people say you can make dogs hesitant if you get too hung up on it. What do you suggest?
Jeremy Hunt says: To me, the stop whistle is an absolutely essential part of gundog training – in fact it should be an essential part of training any dog. Driving a car without brakes is unthinkable and trying to control a dog you can’t stop is also problematic!
I think the concerns expressed to you about overdoing the "stop" command are true to some extent in that any part of training must not be undertaken excessively (even though difficulties may be encountered).
The reason for this is because intelligent dogs start to develop issues when there is constant repetition of one particular stage of training – and then it becomes counter-productive. The harder you try to correct or instil a command because the dog is having a problem with it, the harder it is to teach.
I have seen some very harsh approaches used to achieve the “stop”. They aren’t needed if you tackle it properly. Our youngsters are attentive to the whistle at all times and from a very young age. Even when being allowed loose exercise they learn to look up at the sound of a pip on the whistle.
I will “pip”, hold up a hand when they are just a few yards away, then give a prolonged but positive “sit” command and they soon learn what’s wanted. Once sitting I approach the youngster, praise it and then let it carry on. As the pup develops and we gain a closer bond through training I continue this so I can get a “stop and sit” at a good distance from me.
Suddenly bringing in a heavy-handed attitude to teaching an enthusiastic youngster to stop on a sixpence umpteen yards away from you – and repeatedly doing this – can instil hesitancy in other parts of your training. You may find a dog will start to automatically stop when being sent away on a retrieve because he is anticipating your command.
Gundog obedience training
How to buy your first gundog puppy
More gundog training, breeding and health advice
Shoot day: Simple mistakes can easily ruin your gundog’s first-e...
If you enjoyed our little adventure in Kyrgyzstan last month and are hungry for more then we have a question: ever been hunting in New Zealand? We’re heading off Down Under to enjoy the sporting fruits this beautiful country has to offer and insist you join us. Back home, we’re on the trail of the mysterious mountain hare, taking dogs to training clubs and seeking advice from a cover crop expert. We’re also in Powys to meet the team behind Bettws Hall’s newest shoot, travelling stylishly in the Bentley Flying Spur and find the going good with a National Hunt jockey
Britain's biggest & best shooting magazine - April 2014 - £3.70
Don't miss this week's Shooting Times (on sale Wednesday 5th March)! Mat Manning offers advice on how to keep garden practice sessions safe and satisfying for young airgunners! Lewis Potter tests Boxall & Edmiston's new 20-bore! Buy your copy today!