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!