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rewards he will receive. In this way get him working for his rewards - nothing comes free. Teach him to sit at the door before going outside, sit in the kennel before the door is opened, sit in the car before being invited out, sit before being greeted by guests, and of course sit before a thrown retrieve. Too often a dog associates sit with a correction or punishment because the action has been taught too harshly or it has been used harshly to stop an unwanted behaviour. Sit should be fun and reinforcement of the habit through a correction should only be employed when the dog is recognized to be wilfully disobeying.

The same holds true for the recall. It should be fun coming back to you and here once more there are multiple methods you can use. In the beginning it should mean the start of something good. 'Here' means come up to me and there is a reward. In training I do not use the dogs name to call him to me as the name is used and heard so many times during the day, and not only for calling him. The name is just an attention getter, so if you want to use his name, say his name first (to catch attention) and then say 'Here'. Personally I do not allow my young dogs to go wandering around freely without me. I want them to feel I am part of their group and they may be called by me at any time. This teaches them that no matter what they are doing they have one eye and one ear on me. Since dogs are always learning I never let them go out in the fields or garden without being with them myself. When you call your pup, get down low, crouch or even sit on the ground and encourage the pup right up to your body. They are much more confident and interested in coming up to you when you are at their level. Never reach or grab. Keep your arms close to your body in front of you or tap your thighs and let them come right in. Slowly rub under chest and on shoulders and gently praise. Remembering to stay away from the top of the head. If your pup is reluctant to return, call him at dinnertime with food in hand, take out some kibble or use a biscuit to encourage him close into you. If you are using the leash, give a gentle tug and encourage once the dog has taken a step towards you. Timing of praise is important and the best time to praise and encourage is the moment the pup has turned and made the decision to come. Not when it has arrived. Tell the pup it has made the right decision by praising, even if he just looks and is thinking about it. There is a well-known saying among dog trainers, 'the best time to call a dog is when it is returning'. So when your dog is coming to you tell him 'Here' and praise so the association between word and action is made. If your dog is so far away that there is no hope of it coming when called or is distracted, go closer, attract attention and then call. Never chase, it is far better to run away and encourage your pup to chase or follow you. Then stop and crouch down to encourage him all the way up.

If you train the 'sit' and 'come when called' soundly in your pup in the early days and develop good habits around the home, these will provide a sound basis on which to build your future gun dog training program. Show, teach and guide your dog into the right actions, delivering praise and reward when he gets it right. If you work at this and insist, - gently, firmly and fairly - on the correct behaviour each time, it will eventually become habitual.

Ray Cacchio and Martin Deeley

Martin Deeley has trained and handled gundogs for over 25 years. He is internationally recognized as not only a trainer of hunting dogs, but also of their owners. Deeley has authored three gundog training books, directed and commentated a series of British gundog training videos, and is regularly published in magazines on both continents. Martin established the International Gundog Training Center and presents Gundog Workshops in Europe and the US with reknown American trainer Ray Cacchio.

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