Here's what readers often ask about when they're training their dogs
Q) I have a young springer spaniel that I am training. I would like to know how to use the stop whistle. How do I make my dog steady to it? What’s the secret of dog training with a whistle?
A) The whistle is not a magic device to stop bad behaviour and experienced gundog trainers have no magic formula or secrets when teaching a dog to respond to it, or to any other commands.
Rather, the dog is taught to respond to the whistle using positive reinforcement during training to condition the required response.
To the puppy, a single pip on the whistle means a reward, if it immediately stops what it is doing and sits down.
Once basic obedience has been taught, the puppy will have been conditioned through repetition and reward for every correct response to sit (stop) on various commands , including a voice command ‘sit’, a raised open hand, a clap of the hands and a single pip on the whistle.
However, simply because a puppy reacts instantly to a command when it is near does not mean it will automatically do so at a distance.
- Ensure you establish authority through the early training so the puppy is looking for guidance and, of course, reward.
- Gradually increase the distance when giving the command and only give it when you are certain it will be obeyed and you can confirm the response with a reward.
- If you use common sense and are patient over a period of several weeks, a puppy will become conditioned to respond obediently to any command.
- It is no use rushing through training then expecting to find a cure after the dog has developed complex bad habits in the shooting field.