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next step becomes easy.

When your dog is returning to you and comes within reliable whistle sit distance, blow the sit whistle. At the moment he sits, throw a dummy over your head and behind your back so that he can see it but you are blocking the route to it. Be ready to move towards him and reinforce the sit with your voice and body action. When he sits and waits, praise gently with your voice. Then move alongside him to face the direction of the dummy and send with a clear 'fetch'. Take your time and do not rush. Make it clear and controlled.

Once you find that your dog is beginning to sit and look for the dummy to be thrown, you can now begin throwing it to the side, so that you no longer block the route. Always be very attentive and quick to react at this stage, as this is where he can easily break and get to the dummy before you send him. Getting the dummy is the big reward for him, so make this for waiting to be sent, and not for going immediately. If he does break and manage to get to the dummy, calmly take it from him and take him back to where he was originally sat. Make him wait, then throw the dummy back to the place it was, blow the 'sit' whistle, say 'stay', go back away to where you were originally stood, wait a few seconds, then return to his side and send him with a clear verbal and hand signal fetch command.

When you start doing this, some dogs will become hesitant in their hunting as they look to you to throw the dummy. To minimize this, hide a dummy or tennis ball occasionally for him to find while hunting in between the sit and retrieve exercises. Once you have got steadiness to a dummy thrown to the side while he is hunting, throw the dummy closer and closer to him until you can toss a tennis ball right across his path, like a bolting rabbit. At this stage, I would recommend that you begin to pick up as many retrieves you throw as those that you send your dog for. If you do this randomly, he will not know when you are going to send him and when you will pick it yourself. This will reinforce the steadiness.

Now take this exercise a little further. After throwing a ball across the front of your dog and getting him to sit, call

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