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foundation of this.

In training sessions, begin to visualize the type of temptations and distractions that could arise. Build up until you are providing temptations that would make Saint Canine sin. Remember that training with dummies or even cold game is never as enticing as the real thing. In training, he may quite easily ignore another dummy while one is in his mouth but in the shooting field, a rabbit or hare running across his path lifts that temptation to a whole new level.

One of the biggest temptations you can give your dog in training is often a bouncing tennis ball; therefore I like to use these. While walking your dog at heel or hunting him ahead, blow the sit whistle then throw the ball slightly behind you and away from him. In this way, if he moves you can intercept and reinforce the sit. Tell him "Leave It." Keep him sat, and go and pick the ball yourself as he watches you. When you can see he is steady to this, throw the ball again and as he is sat throw a dummy ahead. Face him towards the dummy and send him for that. Watch him as he returns and put yourself between his return line and the ball. When he has delivered the dummy you, then go and pick the ball yourself.

Very quickly he will begin to realize that he is not going for everything and that he should only fetch the dummy you direct him to. When this happens, and you feel you can trust him, you can then begin to throw the ball slightly in front of you. He should now understand "Leave it" and look to you for what he can retrieve. With hunting dogs after "Leave it", I will say "Gone away" to indicate it was unshot and not wanted for a retrieve. Then I cast him in the opposite direction to where the ball was thrown. Read your dogís reaction and whether he is working for and with you or whether he is being tempted. If he is going out for the dummy and ignoring the ball, you can then move onto the next step.

Have him sit and then throw a dummy approximately 30 yards ahead. Line him up for this retrieve and send him. After he has collected it, and when he is about one third of the way back, throw the tennis ball over your head and behind you. Make sure he sees the ball as you throw it. Donít take your eyes off your dog. If he drops the dummy, move forward, block his path, stop him and ensure he goes back and picks that, even if you have to walk up to it and flick it. Encourage him to pick and return it to your hands. Then with him sat, pick the tennis ball yourself. The dog that drops the dummy and scoots around behind you to pick the ball has not had the foundations solidly trained into him. So go back a few steps in training, if this happens.

As your dog becomes more reliable at ignoring the tennis ball, begin to throw it to the front of you. First, at a wide angle away from his line of return and then move it closer until you can throw the ball across the front of him as he returns with the dummy. Once you have reached this stage, you can now really begin to tempt him using rabbit skins and dead birds. When you start with these, however, always move back one or two stages regarding where you throw the distraction as the temptation with fur and feather will be greater.

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