Buying a Gun Dog Puppy

Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a 2014, fully equipped, shiny new gun puppy. Power windows, factory air, white walls, the full schmear.

How did you arrive at this purchase? Well, you did some serious research before you picked this model. You want a pup that’s built to last. By that we mean, a best friend that’s going to give you 10-to-13 years of top performance.


But, Hold On a Minute

This great addition to the family won’t be totally up-to-speed for about 3-years. Have patience. Unlike that new Ford Ranger, the pup’s not coming with any guarantees that it will not only save Timmy from the well but has the potential of being the greatest gun dog in the Universe.

This all boils down to finding a breeder that has a fresh litter coming from a history of taking to the wild. Competitive canines, whether dam and sired, have a heritage. We’re not talking award-winning dogs for you, here. However, a strong sense of wanting to play in the contest are definitely a best bet.

So, catching the right dog from a high-yield breeder means you’re purchasing one that’s not necessarily focused on getting the gold in field trials. Nonetheless, don’t banish this criteria from your search. Those who sell successful field-trial dogs are more than willing to sell to hunters. But the original owners is going to give you the once-over. They don’t want to unload a money-maker to someone that only goes hunting once-or-twice a year. They’re seeking serious huntsmen, not occasional “gentleman” shooters.

Forget It Unless You Are Serious

You’re going to have to spend a lot of time with the pup — like a half-hour, four times a week. This is known as the yard training part, the most basic. Simply be aware of what we said earlier on: Miracles don’t happen in the quest to make that pup into a fully functional, working gun dog.

Probably not a bad idea to check-out a couple of AKC-sanctioned field trials and a AKC hunt test. It’s part of your research. Sure, you will spill some time, just don’t cop-out and watch it on teevee. Physically attend a few of these events. Don’t run scared screaming from the exhibition because these dogs and their masters are top of breed. Stick around to see what the animals involved can pull-off. Incidentally, invest in an orange vest and hat to wear when attending. Don’t want to seem like a geek to the pros.

While there, strike-up a conversation with some of the members or club officers. Ask if you can secure an invitation to a training session. Get into it. Join the club. Once you pick your pup, this will definitely put you on the road to success.


So, it’s all in the genes. The best field-bred gun dogs come from over-the-top, supersized, superior lineage. The baselines should come with documentation. The mom and pop should have:

  • A good retrieving instinct
  • A good nose
  • A strong desire to please
  • A good attitude
  • A good drive

Check those off on the list, and your brand-spanking new four-legged gun puppy will give you the best. Off season, it will ooze love toward you, your family and your friends. Who knows, when their not hunting, maybe you can teach them to fetch a beer.

Posted in Dog Training | Leave a comment

Don’t Lose Control of Your Lab

The number one hunting dog on the planet is the Labrador Retriever. Smart, lovable and loyal. While most of these gentle animals will all but hug your heel when taking a walk, they have a spark of adventure. Especially in the great wide open.

When you’re hiking the forest, labs have a tendency to forget everything they’ve learned in a controlled training situation. You can blow on that whistle until you’re blue in the face. Screaming so hard that you nearly lose your voice. Your best friend is off the hook.

The Problem

The wild is temptation-heaven for the dog. You want that in a way. What you don’t want is an uncontrollable canine. Consider this:

  • Any dog that has been bred to find their prey. The nose knows. Labs love the smell of other beasts in the woods. It distracts the living bejesus out of the pup. But that’s part of the characteristics you require. Labradors are known for their expertise in sniffing-out game.
  • That scent is as rewarding to a gun dog as a freshly cooked grouse is to you. Their specialties: Squirrels, other dogs, rabbits and whatever they inhale.


Getting control back into the dog’s roaming ways means you’re training the great lab as long as you own it. Remember these three things:

  • Fixing any recall problems means a regular refresher course on Labrador training.
  • Your goal is to become more interesting to your animal. They love the one-on-one attention. So, vary it up. Everybody, including labs, relish rewards. Since they’re so smart, you’ve got to give them a lot of mental stimulation. Don’t want to ruin your day, but dogs can get bored with hanging around with you if you’re … well, boring. If you don’t turn on the fun, the animal will find its own jollies without you.
  • The owner must modify how the pet is treated during the dog’s free time. Don’t let your hairy friend think you’re ignoring him on a walk. Sure, you may meet another bi-ped buddy on the trail, but try to involve your lab in the conversation. With a puppy that’s six-to-nine months old, don’t let them go too far afield. Up to 30-yards is fine. Once the dog hits the limit, call them back and give them a small treat and evolve that reward into simply saying “good dog!” Sometimes you’ll also get bored. Tired of calling your canine. When that happens, heel the gun dog and have them walk along side you for a few minutes.

It Will Get Better

We expect stuff to always work the right way. It’s occasionally in the owner’s mind that they have a lemon gun dog. Perish the thought. The best Labrador may stray. Our final piece of advice: Train your Labrador “gundog style.” This education will, even if you never plan to take them on a hunt, reap rewards for you and the best friend you’ll ever have in this life.

Posted in Dog Training | Leave a comment

Important Milestones in Puppy Development

Do this: Put your hand on your chest. Feel a heartbeat? Good. That means you’ll probably experience exactly the same “non tin-man” sense do when you pick up your new best friend from your chosen breeder. If you get that puppy and you don’t think it’s the cutest damned thing in the world, check to see if the ol’ ticker is still chuggin’ away.

Face it. That small baby, puppy breath and all, will grow into a great gun dog. But right now, enjoy the spirit that you’re about to take home. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Getting Started

Go ahead. Futz around with the tiny speck of life for a couple of days. Bond. You are now the only thing that matters. But soon, you’ll need to begin to become what Cesar Millan calls the “pack leader.” You are mom, the alpha unit in their shaping minds. Don’t be too bossy. And always show the love and serenity. That bundle of joy will become a true companion when you take to the fields, forests and wetlands.

How the munchkin grows depends on its family line. But you’re the one that can stop external behavior problems by doing the right thing in the puppy’s first 12 weeks of its innocent life.

What Happens When

Once its mom and pop decide to have a littler is when it all begins. That’s why you want to see the history of the parents from the breeder. The parents pass-on genetics to the dog that you can’t do anything about.

There’s no magic book that determines the genetics of the offspring. Breeders do their best to be perfect matchmakers, but it’s always going to be a crap-shoot. It’s not like rocket surgery. Fingers are crossed by breeders until arthritis sets in with the folks your getting the bundle from.


You’re not going to have anything but a goofy wanderer until about 2-weeks into fresh air time. The eyes are closed, the hearing is not developed. The nose is basically what gets the pup to navigate the blanket where the bitch has designated as home base.

They experience no fear until they’re around 6-weeks old. It’s a shame, but that just has to happen. Boo! Sooner-or-later they realize that certain things around them are not to be messed with.

That’s why the breeder keeps the pup near momma for a couple of months. She’s going to act as their guide. As someone who has their eye on a particular sweetie, you need to visit the brood every few days — especially paying attention to the one you want to make “your dog.” As a future owner, handle them gently, let them smell you. Since this is a no-fear zone, they will associate you with being a good guy or gal while they are the most receptive.

You’re Turn is Coming

After about 7 weeks, just around the time you pick ‘em up and expose them to a new environment, your job is about to kick into gear. You never want to take a puppy away from momma before the 7th or 8th week. This could cause behavioral problems you want to avoid.


Anyway, their mother will start weaning them at the 7 week mark. Solid food comes into play. Mom can step back to a little more of a normal life. As she does, the petite darlings will usually follow their parent’s lead, wobbling around the house or the yard. Fighting with each other, too. The breeder will not step into to break-up a match. The mother of the canines needs to handle this delicate situation if it gets too hot-and-heated.

Heading Home

Set-up an appointment with your vet ASAP. There are things you need to know that the doctor can guide you through. If they haven’t gotten their shots or need a follow-up stick in the butt, this first visit will take care of that task. Don’t worry about the prick of the needle. The pup just thinks it’s weird and immediately forgets it.

Get some advice on the best kinds of food to feed the mutt. Ask about supplements. Check to see if anything sticks-out to the vet. Then make another appointment at the recommended time in the future.

The smart money waits until their 12-week birthday and then, seriously, enrolls the fuzz-ball into dog training and obedience class. While you can actually teach an old dog new tricks, this time is optimal.

Through training, they will get social skills with other pups and their owners. Never forget to take the buddy to areas where there are other people. Most likely they won’t get spooked. If they do, mention that to the dog trainer. If they stay cool and enjoy the attention, you’re well on your way to raising a friendly genius with a tail.

Reminder: Periodically check to see if your heart is still beating. That will tell you that you need to continue to give the love, have the patience and discover that under your roof, you’ve got the greatest pal you’ve ever had in your life.

Posted in Best Practices | Leave a comment

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks: Summer Practice

Those poor kids, training on the field during the summer months for the fall football season. Give thanks to the coaches for recognizing when the students are about to blow a radiator. “Hit the bench,” the boss says. For good reason, too. Nothing worse than a parent-teacher conference where the big guy has to explain to mom and pop why their child had to be rushed to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

Summer is fast approaching. It’s also a time when most hunting seasons have passed. Both you and your gun dog have nothing to do but watch re-runs of “Too Cute” on the Animal Planet or take a trip to the creek and stare at the fish not biting your bait. Suddenly, a burst of brain smarts hits you. The kids are charging around in the hot summer sun after a pigskin, why not put your gun dog through its paces, too.

Pant, Pant, Pant

Not a bad idea. The only thing that’s different is that you won’t be meeting with any authority figures — except for the vet — if you overdo it. You’ve shelled out a fist full of pretty pennies on the breed, spent countless time and money to train them to be your companion in the woods. The last thing you want is your pup to overextend themselves, trying to please you, during the upcoming warm months while you guys decide to break the boredom with some refresher courses.

You’re the coach and you need to know when to bench the mutt. They’ve got something in their blood that pushes them to extremes. That’s why you picked your best friend to begin with. You wanted a buddy that’s got 110% stamped on their floppy ears. As a gun dog coach, well-bred canines will drive themselves until they explode.

Taking the Fate Out of Fatal

It’s the weekend. You’d like to sleep-in. Forget it. The best time to get the dog in shape is by starting early in the day. As you see the sun start to peek-up over the horizon, summon the pup. Time to play and keep them (and yourself) fit for the upcoming season. Anyone who works for a human fitness center will tell you that exercise is not a “when you feel like it” kind of thing. It’s a regular activity.

Both you and the mutt need to unroot from  the couch on a regular basis. Once or twice a week. Don’t want to lose any beauty sleep on Saturday morning. Get up extra early a couple of days during the week. Remember, the two of you aren’t going to shop ’til you drop. A little daily exercise can save you from cramming it all into the weekend.

Keep It Interesting

One exercise is cover. If they’re always practicing this activity in one particular place, that’s boring. Shake things up by getting the pup into as many different situations as possible during summer morning training. Is the young’un turning up its snout as it pertains to heavy cover? Entice them with a simple toss of a retrieving dummy, thrown smack-dab in the middle of the heavy cover. Using a live pigeon. Check your local laws. Don’t want to get busted by a game warden on their morning run.

Take a Dip

Now here’s something you can do practically anytime of the day during the warm weather months. Water naturally cools down your dog. Exercise-wise, there’s nothing better than the energy expended retrieving while swimming.

Try this: Have your pet take a run beside you on your bicycle. The end point: A pond, lake or river. You get the idea. They steam-up on the run and cool-off taking a dip.

Speaking of water, always carry along an ample supply of H2O in any training practice to keep the pup hydrated. And take breaks every 15-minutes (of whenever you detect the mutt reaching its limits).

One thing we forgot to mention. These training sessions should be done for at least an hour-and-a-half every time you regularly undertake the role as coach.

Exercise is a life-long habit for both your pup and it’s big human pal. As an old-timey philosopher  once said “everything in moderation.” You don’t want your star quarterback watching the game from the stands when it’s time for the Friday Night (or early Saturday morning) lights.

Posted in Dog Safety | Leave a comment

Hide and Not Be Found: Camouflaging the Dog

There’s an old gag about a bunch of kids playing hide-and-seek in the early evening hours around their neighborhood. One of the more ingenious ones figures that by hiding in a barn nearby would be the perfect place to conceal his body from the rest of the players.

No sooner did he enter the empty stall of a horse did he hear the door to the to the structure slam shut. Then he detected what sounded like the click of a rather large padlock. When police found him a couple of days later, covered in hay and hungrier than the stallion that one time took up residence in the stable all he could do say to the cop that discovered him was, “well, at least I won.”

Hunters Playing the Same Game with Their Gun Dog

Sort of like that when you hit the forest with your trusty hunting companion. You want to make sure they don’t spook the prey by barking out “here I am.” You don’t want that game bird to see the mutt before you’ve had a chance to scurry up tonight’s meal.

The canine has to be able to see the fowl. The question: How do you do that without letting the bird catch wind of your retriever before you pull the trigger?

Suggestions, Anyone?

We’ve got a few ways to keep that gregarious pup out-of-sight before its presence alerts the waterfowl that there’s more in the woods than berries and bugs.

  • A sea-worthy canine.
    You’re putting around in the water anyway; why not buy an inexpensive, lake-worthy aluminum boat? Launch the floater into some natural cover. Put on a pair of waders, settling the mutt in the vessel. Get a light cover and camouflage the animal with you standing behind the boat.  Wouldn’t hurt to toss some brush around the outline of the skiff while in the water. The dog can see, you’re standing dry in the pond. When the mutt spots its prey, it’ll get all riled-up causing the fowl to take flight. BLAMMO! Now just steady the boat and let the dog fetch the kill.
  • The blindfold box.
    The only difficulty you’ll have with one of these permanent structures is that after a season-or-two you’ll need to do some spring cleaning. Vines, newly grown branches and the like will cloud the retriever’s field of vision. Another downside: If the box has a roof, your pal doesn’t have X-ray eyes. Make sure you have an entrance way cut into the blind so the dog is able to come-and-go as it sees fit. Another option is slicing some portals in the sides so the pup can take a look from different angles.
  • Plop down a couple of chairs in shallow water.
    You sit in one; the canine sits in the other. If the pond is a little too deep, use your carpentry skills to put the chairs on stilts. You don’t want the mutt to have to endure standing in the water while you recline waiting for a target. Obviously, you don’t want brightly red-colored chairs. Get some camo paint to make the objects fit into the scenario.
  • A field hide made from chicken wire.
    These portable hunting blinds can be simply made by purchasing some chicken wire. Cut it into a 48-inch stretch and connect it to the ground with some 3-foot long dowels. Gather-up some natural brush and sticks. Make sure you don’t cover it so well that the animal can’t see what’s going on outside. This solution is perfect for hunting anywhere there’s not a lot of places to hide, like riverbeds.
  • Get a climbing stand.
    You can get a ready-made deal or make your own. Basically we’re talking about some 2-by-2 lumber that’ll hold a large enough slice of a ¼ inch sheet of plywood. Use a ratchet strap to connect the platform to a tree. Spritz some more camouflage paint on it so it fits-in with the surroundings.



Posted in Dog Training | Leave a comment

Pregnancy in Dogs and What to Expect

It’s not everyone who can boast that they were born in the laundry room, right next to the dryer. However, if you have enough friends on Facebook, we bet someone will be able to say they were born in the backseat of a Volvo.

But since momma dog is about to birth a brood of sweet puppies, there are something’s you need to know to prepare a maternity ward in your home. The reason we mentioned the laundry room is that, unless you have a 1968 Kenmore dryer that rattles and shakes, the calm hum may actually be a soothing noise for the babies.

The Dog Ward

Before the lady of the house gets close to the magic moment, you need to practice good pre-natal care for the girl. That means no strenuous exercises. Vitamins. Healthy food that will translate to healthy newborns. A very, very comfortable place for the miracle to happen. Like a low-hanging box filled first with newspapers, then blankets and finally some old, clean pillows. And make sure it’s in a warm area.

Regular visits to the vet during the cycle are also recommended. Be gentle. Treat the soon-to-be mother like a princess.

Not to say it’s like a human giving birth, but it’s pretty darned close. That’s why periodic appointments with the doctor are mandatory. That will ensure a low degree of complications when time comes to bring a bunch of living things into the brave new world.

If you’ve got other dogs, try to keep them away from mother in those final weeks. Why? The last thing you need on your helpful hands is that this glowing mutt will not pick-up any diseases from an animal that’s beet futzing around outside chasing squirrels.

Simple Suggestions

As we mentioned before, nutrition for your best friend is so important. That doesn’t mean pickles and ice cream. It does translate to extra calories in their food. Again, the expert with the stethoscope knows best. Get recommendations on what kinds of foods, supplements and any other types of medicine the poor babe needs to bring on the joy. It doesn’t just stop after the tiny critters stumble around blindly for the first week. Mom will need to have premium care, food and the like as she feeds her new kids. Even outside of pregnancy in animals, diet is so important.

One thing we’re beginning to discover is that, like humans, too much corn meal intake (or corn syrup in the food) can lead to diabetes later in life. Same with dogs and cats. Look for whole grains that are low in maize. As the babies grow and begin to eat solid food, same lesson. You can add years you a dog’s life by instilling a healthy diet into their lifestyle. Treats? The jury is still out on that, but one thing we do on Sunday afternoons is mix-up a healthy batter of dough and make our own. It’s fresh. Most importantly, we know what’s in the stuff.

Nine Weeks, Not Nine Months

Conception with your mutt happens in a relatively short period of time — like merely 9-weeks. For the first  month, it’s O.K. to keep Ms. Preggers on her regular diet. After that, especially in the final month the mother is going to need to eat like a pig. That’s the point when the small babes are forming quickly. Mom will bloat, that’s good. It means that the unborn are getting their share. Expect to see a weight increase in the lady’s size up-to 70%.

Little Babies All Over the Place

The nursing stage is when the puppies depend on their mom for everything. It’s alright to show a little attention to the sweeties. Mom rules, though. You want to socialize the pups, nonetheless, their mother will be showing them the ropes.

Got to have a lot of water near the pen. Don’t want mom to be dispensing powdered milk.

Since you’ve been in good contact with the vet, let the doctor see the little nuts. Set-up a schedule, hauling the puppies in periodically for check-ups, shots and basic ooohh’s and ahhh’s from the staff.

Want more tips and cute puppy pics? Find us on Pinterest!

Posted in Education | Leave a comment

The Border Collie

Many people don’t know that Albert Einstein did not come-up with the theory of relativity. Close friends and relatives of ol’ Al are fully aware that his 4-year old border collie – Fritz – was the driving force behind E=MC2. Additionally, Fritz just happened to be “hanging around” when Clarence Birdseye developed quick-frozen food in 1924.

Coincidence? We think not.

The point is, if you’re looking for the blast-off, no-holds barred, red hot, anti- crapola smartest dog in the universe you need not go any further than the border collie. If there was an I.Q. scale for pups, the BC would break the machine. They’re so smart that once you train them to fetch you a beer, before they take one step, they’ll turn to you and say “Would you like a Bock or an IPA this time?”

They’re that smart.

Where’d You Learn That?

It’s been going on for centuries. Breeders have had one goal in mind – create an animal with superior herding ability. There are offshoots and unintended consequences which occur when that’s your focus. You end up with a dog that has:

  • An extremely high drive
  • Incredible powers of instinct and anticipation
  • A “never give-up” attitude
  • Tons of energy
  • A brain structure that is unmatched in other canines


Not really. Although the border collie and the sheepdog belong to the same bowling league. Trace a sheepdog’s history and you’ll find mention of the creature as the Romans invaded Britain a few years after they killed Christ. The Romans, not the sheepdogs – although the animals were first bred to be guard dogs.

Roll-up the sidewalks to the 19th century when – rumor has it – Queen Victoria first recognized the modern-day collies at Balmoral Castle in the Highlands of Scotland. Just one look and the next thing you know, the ol’ girl had dubbed them royal dogs. Around the same time dog shows were all the rage. Because of these genius beasts, border collies began snatching-up one blue ribbon or gold badge after another. Praise the more enlightened humans when they realized they could truly mess things up if they turned the pup into a schizophrenic – one that was pretty for dog shows and also great working dogs.

Rather than mind-meld the breed, an organic shift occurred among the breeding class. Some border collies we’re made to work, others were grown to show-off at ritzy affairs. Case solved. Confusion averted.

A Cautionary Note

This heart-warming breed needs a best friend throughout their lifespan of up to (and sometimes more than) 15-years. Do not expect a doggie couch potato when you own a border collie. They’re happy when they’re working. And don’t expect them to be satisfied with a home office. Border collies need a lot of space, something to do.

If you’re country folk, a farmer, rancher or someone with wide-open spaces, the two of you will get along fine. But you don’t have to be rural to go with a border collie. Those who live an active lifestyle, love to jog, bike and gets out around a lot, border collies make fine exercise mates.

The only matter to consider when you have a border collie is if you like to watch “Jeopardy” with your buddies. Be forewarned, no matter what category a contestant pulls from the big board, the damned dog is always going to have the answer before you.

And they will frame it in the form of a question.

Want more?! Find us on Pinterest!

Posted in Breed Profiles | Leave a comment

Good Dog – Making Your Home Look Like You Don’t Have a Dog

Having a loving, non-judgmental best friend is its own reward. No, we’re not talking about your spouse. No one has that much luck. We’re sticking with the one that walks on four legs, has a tail and pants. Although, in some cases our better half will play a little frisky with you, but non-judgmental? Only a mutt will fit that bill.

The big issue is if you have more than one dog, they basically let you borrow parts of your home as long as you feed and walk them. Occasionally, once-in-a-while, your pet will let you use the remote because they’ve already seen the show on the “Animal Planet” channel.

Taking Back Your Property

As a human, you have possessions. So do your canines. You call them “their toys” but the squeaking, rubbery objects and balls have a tendency to rest right where your buddy got tired of dealing with them. They are the only property they have. Try to take something from their mouth if they’re not ready to give it up. See? Ownership has its privileges and a growl denotes ownership.

Then, boredom sets in and they start seeking another one of the things they own to slobber all over.

Some are in such sad shape, even the garbage men won’t come near ‘em with a 10-foot trash truck. The stuffing has been pulled out or little shards of plastic have been scattered in the exact spot you’ll step on in your bare feet in the middle of the night as you stumble in darkness for a glass of OJ in the fridge.

You tell yourself you can fix the thing so that it becomes a functional unit again. And with a good washing that pull toy – err, property – will be as good as new. Like that ever happens.

While your better half is taking the brood for a nice long walk, grab a bag and start scooping-up every conceivable piece of puppy possessions. The dysfunctional ones need to be separated from the toys that are dreadfully broken. If you honestly think you’re going to fix a couple of them, take those repairable playthings and put them in the somewhere out-of-sight, out-of-smell range. Then write yourself a honeydo list and slap it in an area where you’ll be harassed by its message daily.

Take about three of the half-dozen that aren’t in such repugnant condition, putting them in a place where the animal will be forced to pull out a treasure map to find them. Hide the other three completely. In a couple of weeks, do the old switcheroo. Really, does the mutt need 50 pieces of property hanging around in plain sight?

If you have some that aren’t in terrible condition, stick them in the washer with a little bleach to clean them up. Then go to your local animal shelter and donate the toys so the poor unfortunate ones who are waiting for a good home will have something to pass the time.

Hairy Couch

No, that’s not the name of some clown in a Canadian traveling circus. It’s where you and your pup enjoy watching wildlife tv shows. Lots of people won’t allow their dog on the sofa or their bed. But guess what, genius – when you’re at work they don’t care. They’re going to take the best seat in the house. A good solution, other than wasting your time trying to teach them to “jump down” is to come to an understanding that this is reality. Here’s where an old blanket or a big pillow comes in handy.

When they hop-up, steer them in the direction of their special spot. It’s so much easier than letting them have the run of the furniture. Nice thing about it, you can toss it in the washer once a week to keep it springtime-fresh.

The davenport is already hairy? Those disinfecting tissues that you can get to clean-up kitchen spills are great to wipe down furniture. Check label directions, but they won’t damage 99% of fabric or leather sofas and chairs. As for the bed, sorry Buster, you’re going to have to change your sheets more than once a month.

Tumbleweeds on the Carpet

It’s tricky, but you can do it without clogging your vacuum cleaner. Purchase a shop broom with stiff bristles and sweep the rug before you plug in the matter-sucker. Two things happen. You get nearly all the hair from the rug and you save yourself from having to buy a new vacuum unit every few months.

What’s that smell?

When you were still a young hippie, you probably had a black light – you know, like the one they use on CSI. Get one. At night, turn off the lights and shine the ultraviolet beam on your carpet and furniture. This will help you identify the stains. One-by-one, get something like the non-toxic and biodegradable Get Serious cleaner!

There are also products called Pet Stain and Pheromone Extractor that work in a jiffy. Don’t have a carpet; try using a solution called Little Germs Organics. It smells great. Grapefruit, mint and lavender.

Just accept the fact that if you want to have a dog hotel in your home, you’re going to have to put-up with things – like the errant hair in your spaghetti. But for endless love, a little hair is a good protein supplement.

Just don’t eat too much. We don’t want you coughing-up hairballs.

Want more tips?! Find us on Facebook!

Posted in Best Practices | Leave a comment

Comprehensive Training with a Tri-Tronic Collar – Part 3

In this final installment, we conclude the three-part series how to train your gun dog using the Tri-Tronic Collar. A book called them Tri-Tronics Retriever Training Book by Jim and Phyllis Dobbs with Alice Woodyard could best be described as the bible when it comes to using this device. The company has been so kind as to allow us to reprint this comprehensive piece.

We’ve broken it down to three parts. And once again, many thanks to the maker of the Tri-Tronics Inc. collar for giving us the opportunity to share this series with you. While this is a condensed primer, we urge you to purchase this essential book as you begin to get your gun dog ready to become an indispensable partner when you take to the wild.

Part 3 – Becoming Stationary

Now that we’ve taken care of the “Here,” “Heel,” “Kennel” and “Place” commands, it’s time to teach our hunting companion (or just a well-trained house dog) how to avoid stimulation by chilling – “Sit” and “Down” directions.

Training “Sit” with the Collar

It may seem weird, but you’re going to be relocating the Tri-Tronics collar to the dog’s midsection. The contact points will be around the dog’s rear-end. By taking this approach, you’re focusing the animal’s attention to its butt. Got a big dog? You may need to buckle a pair of collars together to ensure a perfect fit. Additionally, you might want to attach a lower-level intensity plug on the mutt’s collar.

Running into some anxiety with the device because the stimulation is attached to its rump? That’s because it’s somewhat more sensitive around that area. Be patient, reassuring the mutt that all is A-OK. Sooner-or-later they’ll get used to it.

Once the shakiness has subsided, leash the dog.

Tell the canine to “Sit,” and push gently on the mutt’s backside. No stimulation is needed at this point. Retreat to your end of the leash. Give it a slight tug. As the dog moves its rear from the ground, press the stimulation button and say “Sit.” You’re trying to tell the dog that if it leaves the sitting position, it’s going to feel something. Keep repeating this maneuver until the canine understands that when its rump leaves the ground, it’s not a desired thing.

You’ll soon find that the animal, even when given a slight pull on the leash, will stay put. Give it a moment of praise by saying “Good-Sit.” Practice will make matters so perfect that you’ll eventually just need to tell the mutt that it’s a “Good dog.” Big point here: Don’t pull on the leash so hard that the animal is yanked from its sitting position.

What if the mutt lies down instead of remaining in the seated position? Give their front feet a tap with the toe of your shoe and repeat “Sit.” You may need to incrementally increase the stimulation until the canine fully understands the “Sit” command.

Never make the dog think you’re an evil human. Try to make things fun, stay calm and take periodic breaks with any type of training.

Training “Down” with the Collar

As a gun dog, field work is required. This is where the “Down” command becomes crucial. An easy way is to firmly stick a pole into the ground. Make sure that it has a swivel ring on top of the pole. Attach the dog’s collar to a rope tied at the top of the pole. While the dog is sitting next to the stake, tell the mutt “Down.” Not working? Pull it down by the leash, applying some stimulation. As the canine’s elbows touch the ground, flick off the collar’s juice. Praise and treat, keeping it in the down position for a while.

Unclamp the dog from the pole, command the animal to heel and walk ‘em around a while – sort of a break.

Keep repeating this exercise until you’re confident the canine has figured it out.

You’re at the point where you need to inject some distractions. Occasionally stimulating it to refresh the dog’s memory.

Here’s a little advice: Cover the animal’s head with something like a ski mask and instruct it to remain in a down position as long as its head is covered.

Time for the old switcheroo. As you can measure the reliability of the command, cover the dog’s body with an old blanket, but not its head. Why this tip? When you’re out in the wild, there are times when you want the animal to stay down but become part of the scenery. Think of it as a form of camouflage.

Once again we cannot thank the makers of the Tri-Tronic Collar enough for allowing us to share this with you!

Posted in Dog Training | Leave a comment

Comprehensive Training with a Tri-Tronic Collar – Part 2

As we mentioned in Part 1, when you’re training your gun dog, there are few better methods to use than the Tri-Tronic Collar. A book called them Tri-Tronics Retriever Training Book by Jim and Phyllis Dobbs with Alice Woodyard could best be described as the bible when it comes to using this device. The company has been so kind as to allow us to reprint this comprehensive piece.

We’ve broken it down to three parts. And once again, many thanks to the maker of the Tri-Tronics Inc. collar for giving us the opportunity to share this series with you. While this is a condensed primer, we urge you to purchase this essential book as you begin to get your gun dog ready to become an indispensible partner when you take to the wild.

Part 2 – Moving Away from the Handler

Since the canine has already learned to hop into the crate when you’ve told it to, pass out a treat. This instruction should now be etched into the dog’s list of commands. It now knows the word “Kennel.” The reason for this is so you can turn-off the stimulation, giving an intended instruction for the animal to move away from you.

Training “Kennel” with the Collar

In the area where you continue teaching it, bring the crate with you. You’ll need a friend as you thread a long check cord from the back of the container. Attach the rope to the animal’s collar.

No need for any stimulation at this point. Instead instruct the canine to crawl into the crate. If the little fella begins to leave the kennel, give it a slight taste of stimulation and say “Kennel.” The mutt – with a prompt of stimulation – should be gently pulled back into the crate. May take some practice, but soon the dog will get it. Just make sure you don’t put any slack on the rope until the animal fully understands what “Kennel” means.

Teaching the Dog to Accept Praise

This is your opportunity to praise the animal that it’s done the right thing. As you get to the point when the canine starts to leave the cage, but stops, the “Kennel” exercise is pretty well complete.

Teaching the Dog to Turn-Off Stimulation by Leaving Your Side

Outside the container, walk the mutt toward the crate. Around 5-feet away, say “Kennel,” using the check cord to guide your buddy into the kennel. As soon as it enters the container, turn-off the stimulation and hand-out a hearty praise.

Have the animal turn around inside and face you. As it enters the kennel, stop the stimulation. Give it a little time to settle in place. Heap a few “good dog” praises on it while it stays in the container. Using only the check cord and no stimulation, guide the animal from the container with the “Here” command.

Your ultimate goal is to get the canine to enter the cage from a distance of, let’s say, 20-feet. Just keep repeating the exercise until that magic moment happens.

The “Place” and “Stay” Commands

We’re now at a point to teach the mutt the instruction known as “Place.” That’s a command for the dog to sit and stay on a mat, rug or special place.

Start by putting a mat or piece of carpet in the crate. A few feet away from the container tell the dog “Kennel.”

Time to remove the crate, but leave the mat behind – outside the kennel. It’s almost the same principle as the “Kennel” command. Only this time it’s a container without walls.

The “Stay” command is a cue to keep the animal from leaving the “Place” even if no one around.

Tell the animal to “Place” and command it to “Stay.” Should the critter leave the mat, repeat “Place” and apply a little stimulation. A word to the wise: As you begin the “Stay” training, you want the canine to hang around on the mat for at least 10-minutes. The benefit is that the term “Stay” (once learned) gives extra meaning to the “Sit” and “Down” commands.

In the final chapter, we’ll get into becoming stationary. We cannot thank the makers of the Tri-Tronic Collar enough for allowing us to share this with you!

Posted in Dog Training | Leave a comment