Training Ivy can be a challenge but at the same time it is fun and rewarding. Last weekend at a group training session we had a guest trainer, Andy Brown from Oldcroft Gundogs. He delivered an interesting training session and showed us several extra handling tips for various situations. The gun dog trainer from Wiltshire is a firm believer in positive reinforcement and believes we should give the dog every chance of succeeding.He revealed an exercise which focused on strengthening the stop command using the whistle. As a novice handler I have found the stop whistle challenging so this was hugely beneficial for both dog and handler. By using the retrieve as the reward and Andy Brown and Fergus, Wendy Bardsley and Ivybreaking the training into small chunks I have introduced Ivy to this command. I have been patient and consistent with her and she now enjoys responding to the stop whistle. Andy explained that consistency is a key contributor to all training exercises. Since owning a gun dog I have tried to ensure that my family have the same rules and boundaries for our dogs so that they do not receive mixed messages. As a dog owner and handler it is my responsibility to prevent mixed messages from occurring. I firmly believe a dog that knows the rules, and has consistency from the family will learn a lot quicker and will be less inclined to indulge in undesirable habits and behaviour. If the consistency fades the dog will get confused and gradually lose respect for your commands. This will result in selective hearing and the dog will choose when he wants to respond to your commands. I believe inconsistency can affect the dog's ability to please the handler. I'm learning through my gun dog training journey that by consistently applying and practising the basic fundamentals results in a happy and biddable Ivy.
Andy Brown offers residential and non-residential gun dog courses. For further info visit: http://www.oldcroftgundogs.comPicture taken by Purebeck Paws: Sarah Smith