Dog Training in the Heat of the Summer

Dog Training in the Heat of the Summer

Dog Training in the Heat

When the weather is warm, the way you go about training your dog matters.  Here, tips for training in the heat will be discussed.  

Grass and asphalt absorb heat differently, with asphalt and concrete surfaces feeling much warmer to the touch than grass or dirt.  By nature, dogs are inefficient at cooling themselves.  Approximately 90{df8cb9b89aa646120a504eba81fb87177e8b82bc4a339a7213530c60c8b2e64b} of their cooling capacity is through their mouths, while another 5{df8cb9b89aa646120a504eba81fb87177e8b82bc4a339a7213530c60c8b2e64b} occurs through their paw pads.  The remaining 5{df8cb9b89aa646120a504eba81fb87177e8b82bc4a339a7213530c60c8b2e64b} occurs via evaporation.  While 5{df8cb9b89aa646120a504eba81fb87177e8b82bc4a339a7213530c60c8b2e64b} may not seem like a lot, it can mean the difference between a hot dog and a dangerously overheated animal.  Keep your dog’s cooling capacity at a maximum by training on grass and dirt whenever possible on warm days.

No matter where you train, your dog requires water in order to help decrease his or her core body temperature.  Have a portable water bowl handy, and never allow your dog to drink out of a warm pond or stagnant water.  Doing so can lead to infections such as Giardia or E.Coli.  Bear in mind that if your dog refuses water, you could have a real heat-related problem on your hands.



Bull Valley Retrievers Shirts Now Available Click on Image for more information.

Bull Valley Retrievers Shirts Now Available Click on Image for more information.

Getting Your Dog to Focus

Getting Your Dog to Focus

How Do I Get My Dog to Focus

When you blow your whistle, your dog should be conditioned to immediately stop and look at you while holding eye contact. How do you achieve such focus in a dog? Tips for getting your dog to focus will be described here.

To achieve the ultimate in focus – having your dog staring at you breathlessly waiting for your next command – you should start focus-training early when your dog is a puppy. The goal is to hold eye contact with your dog until you give the command.

In order to achieve this type of behavior, always use your dog’s name before administering any command. If your dog is not already conditioned to look at you when you say its name, work on this skill first. With training treats in hand, say your dog’s name and then give your dog a treat every time he or she makes eye contact in response.

In the beginning, only hold eye contact with your puppy for a half second at a time. As your dog better understands how to focus his or her attention, increase the amount of time you hold eye contact before saying a command. By following this pattern each time you run training drills with your dog, you will develop an animal that stops and focuses as soon as soon you hit the whistle.



Bull Valley Retrievers Shirts Now Available Click on Image for more information.

Bull Valley Retrievers Shirts Now Available Click on Image for more information.

Tips For Training Your Shed Dog

Tips For Training Your Shed Dog

Tips on Training Your Shed Dog

Training your bird dog to find sheds is easy, as there is a lot of overlap between the two skills.  Here, secrets from Tom Dokken – longtime shed dog and retriever trainer – will be discussed.

Make Training Fun

Shed dog training is simple, and like all conditioned behaviors is reliant on your pet’s enthusiasm and motivation for work.  Dogs with inherent retrieving instincts thrive while performing this job, because retrieving comes natural to them.  However, it is important that you treat shed antler training with as much enthusiasm and positivity as you did when starting your dog with marks in the field.

Begin Indoors

Remember when you started your puppy with drills in the hallway?  No matter the age of your shed-dog-in-training, start small and simple.  File down the sharp tips from a shed antler for use as a dummy, or purchase a soft antler replica for the initial training.  Then, toss the dummy down the hallway and encourage your dog to bring it back.  

Move Outdoors

After your dog has shown proficiency indoors, make the shed retrieves more difficult by moving to a distracting location, such as your backyard.  Here you can work on longer shed retrieves.  If your dog has a tendency to walk away with the antler in his or her mouth, use a check cord to help your pet with recall.

Overlay Commands

Until now, the shed antler exercises have not been much different than when your dog was being taught to retrieve game.  When your dog has mastered the retrieval of shed antlers at longer distances, it is time to introduce a command to distinguish antler tracking from bird retrieval.  “Find the bone” is common, but any simple command will work.

Teach Tracking Skills

When searching for shed antlers, your dog will have to rely on his or her nose.  After your dog is reliably returning sheds, it is time to teach your pet to search for them.  Use a scent product, such as Dokken Rack Wax, to cover the shed antler dummy with scent. Start with simple hiding places and ask your dog to “find the bone.”  Over time, increase the difficulty of these drills.

Finishing Touches

The final test for your dog is to find the bone without the help of any human scent.  Remove all human odors from the antler by washing it with deodorizing soap and handling it with rubber gloves.  Don’t forget to start small here, and to provide plenty of positive praise when your dog succeeds.