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!